Is Dame Maggie Smith leaving "Downton Abbey?" According to The Daily Mail, Smith told "Downton" writer Julian Fellowes that she wants Season 3 to be her last. Although, the paper reports that he has persuaded her to do the Christmas special following the third season.
UPDATE: A representative for Masterpiece, which airs "Downton Abbey" in the US, told The Huffington Post that "Season 3 is currently filming with Maggie and the rest of the cast. We don't comment on future storylines, but there's no truth in the story that Maggie is leaving the show."
The Daily Mail's source claims that Smith has asked to be written out of the show, saying that the veteran actress would like to go out on a high note after three seasons. "‘She is filming until August and then wants to leave," the source told the U.K. newspaper. "She thinks that three series is enough, and she wants to get back to the stage and big screen."
For some "Downton Abbey" fans, this news may sound troubling, especially after "Masterpiece Theater" executive producer Rebecca Eaton revealed a few shocking Season 3 spoilers. Eaton said somebody will die. "[S]omebody pretty key in the cast, [is] unfortunately not going to make it," she said. "It's the 1920s now."
This isn't the first time there have been reports surrounding Smith's departure from the "Abbey."
In March, U.K. tabloid The Mirror reported that the show's feisty Dowager Countess and the "Abbey's" resident heartthrob Matt Crawley may not be returning to the estate for Seasons 4 and 5, as the two had yet to sign new contracts.
The paper then stated that Smith was considering her future on the Golden Globe-winning period drama. The Mirror confirmed that Smith had yet to sign on or even enter negotiations for future seasons of "Downton" after Season 3 at that time. Recently, a "Downton Abbey" producer called Smith "difficult" to work with.
Previously, TV Line reported that most of the principal cast of "Downton Abbey" had signed new contracts to star in both Seasons 4 and 5: Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary), Elizabeth McGovern (Cora), Hugh Bonneville (Robert), Joanne Froggatt (Anna) and Brendan Coyle (Bates) are among the returning cast members.
However, Siobhan Finneran, who stars as the wicked ladies' maid Miss O'Brien, and Jessica Brown Findlay, who plays Lady Sybil Branson, have yet to sign on for future seasons.
ITV has yet to commission Seasons 4 and 5, which may have something to do with why some of the cast members are holding off on contract negotiations.
"Downton Abbey" Season 3 is currently in production in the UK, where American actress Shirley MacLaine is guest starring as Lady Crawley's mother. Expect MacLaine's character to go head-to-head with the Dowager Countess in Season 3.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly called Miss O'Brien a "housekeeper." She is actually a "ladies' maid." However, she's still wicked.