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Egads: Maggie Smith may leave Downton Abbey

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Maggie Smith

In the "noooooooooo" news item of the day, Maggie Smith has still not signed a new contract for Downton Abbey. Neither have key players Dan Stevens, Sibohan Finneran, or Jessica Brown Findlay. But more importantly, Maggie Smith. Meaning we could be subjected to a fourth season full of… Lord Grantham creeping on new hires? Bates and Anna yearning? Edith doing something? Dear lord, this is my nightmare.

A good chunk of the principal cast was confirmed for seasons four and five earlier this week, including Michelle Dockery (Mary), Elizabeth McGovern (Cora), Hugh Bonneville (Robert), Joanne Froggatt (Anna), and Brendan Coyle (Bates). But some important regulars have not inked a deal, meaning the fates of characters like Matthew (the dreamy factor), Sibyl (the feisty factor), and O'Brien (the bitch-supreme factor) hang in the balance. And, oh yeah, that of the Dowager Countess (the everything-in-this-world-I-hold-dear factor).

I'm trying to think of a way the show could survive without the great Maggie Smith, but I just keep coming back to her battle with a swivel chair and I realize that no, it really couldn't. Please don't leave us, Maggie! You beat even "sexy-time-induced deaths" in reasons I watch Downton Abbey.