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Dan Stevens' 'Downton Abbey' Exit: How It Could Have Ended

03/06/2013 04:58 pm ET

Although we all knew Dan Stevens' "Downton Abbey" departure was coming, we had no idea Matthew's exit would be such a sad one ... and even now, two and a half weeks later, viewers are still pretty freaking angry.

A recent HuffPost poll indicated that a whopping 85 percent of viewers didn't see any good in Matthew's untimely death.

“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.

Other Ways Matthew Could Have Been Written Off "Downton Abbey"

Downton Abbey" Season 4 premieres in the US on Masterpiece/PBS in January 2014.

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