“If he had been prepared to come back for maybe two or three episodes in a series, that would be different. Then we could have had a foreign posting or invented a career that would have made it possible for him to be away,""Downton Abbey" creator Julian Fellowes explained to the Telegraph. "Otherwise we would have had to make this tremendously successful love affair between Mary and Matthew unhappy, which I didn’t feel would be believable ... So we didn’t really have any option. By him dying, their love can remain in tact."
While we see where Fellowes is coming from, was that car accident really necessary? In the slideshow below, find seven ways we think Matthew could have exited in the series more gracefully ... or at least creatively.
It Was All A Dream
When the Titanic sank, the residents of Downton, both upstairs and downstairs, were so traumatized that they fell into a dream-like state in which a young man with piercing blue eyes arrived at Downton, was at one point in a wheelchair, and eventually married Mary Crawley.
But it was all a trick! When the house eventually awakened from their sleep long sleep, they find that Matthew was actually killed on the Titanic in 1912, and Mary is an old maid.
Matthew And Mary Go To America
As Matthew and Mary's son is one quarter American, they don't feel it's right to deprive him of his roots. Much to the chagrin of Lord Grantham, who believes his heir should never once leave Downton, the lovebirds set sail with their little one in tow and settle down in New York with Cora's mother Martha. Sorry, Dowager!
Matthew Gets A Whole New Look
Finding himself with a case of the munchies after a particular rigorous round of cricket, Matthew sneaks down to the kitchen where Mrs. Patmore is in full-on dinner prep mode. Surprised to see such a well-dressed man downstairs, Mrs. Patmore accidentally flings boiling water in Matthew's face. Caught completely by surprise, he backs up, hits his head and falls into a coma.
When he awakens two years later, Matthew is unrecognizable, but Mary loves him all the same.
Matthew Is Actually A Scottish Murderer
Despite the proper British air he has about him, Matthew actually has a propensity for kilts, bagpipes and murder. When he was a young boy, he and his mother killed the real Matthew and Isobel, took all their money and plotted a move to Downton.
One day, Bates overhears Matthew and Isobel giggling about how successful their plan has been, and the Dowager Countess immediately ships them back to Scotland and ensures they're thrown into the Edinburgh jail for life.
Matthew Wants To Have A Sex Change
There's always been something a little different about Matthew, something he's tried to ignore. Now almost 30, Matthew can't hide his feelings anymore. He loves Mary -- he does! -- but in his heart of hearts, he knows he's meant to be a woman. When he confesses this to Mary, she honors his wishes and sends him to LA where the plastic surgery and hormone industries have already taken off.
read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/06/dan-stevens-downton-abbey-exit_n_2791856.html#slide=2171404