4 December 2012 1:12 PM, PST | Zap2It - From Inside the Box | See recent Zap2It - From Inside the Box news »

There's always drama on screen in the Emmy-winning British series "Downton Abbey," but now there's trouble off screen as well. Romantic lead Dan Stevens, who plays Matthew Crawley, has reportedly opted to leave the show in Season 4, despite his character's prominent role in the story.

"Sometimes actors feel they want to move on. Initially, for the first two or three [seasons] you can contract them, but after that, every season, you have to re-contract them," "Downton" creator Julian Fellowes tells Entertainment Weekly. "If they don't want to come back, there's nothing we can do."

Boo! "Downton" just wouldn't be the same without Matthew, especially considering the twists and turns in his relationship with Mary (Michelle Dockery) throughout Season 3, which already aired in the U.K. and begins airing in the U.S. Jan. 6 on PBS.

At least Fellowes realizes that re-casting the role would simply be too much: "I can't see us doing that, »

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