Keep in mind this is supposed to be a half-humorous-half-should-have-been post. I'm half jesting here, so please don't take this too seriously. Yes, I know that Dan Stevens chose to leave the show and that he was free to do so and that Matthew had to be written out somehow... but hey, I'm jesting here.
|C'mon, we all wish this was going to be a scene.|
"Mary, if my son wants to be a lawyer, he is going to be a lawyer!"
1. Have him be one of those characters that you hear about all the time, but never see.
We've all seen this on TV shows: there's always that one character that everyone talks about or that has all this advice, but you never see them on TV. Sure, it's mostly done on sitcoms, but it could be done here! You could even have some tongue-in-cheek references to his not being on the show. You could see such conversations as this:
Robert: Where is Matthew?
Cora: Oh, I believe he is surveying some of the farms and will be having lunch at the Grantham Arms.
Robert: Why is it we never see him anymore?
Cora: Oh, well he's always so busy with all his new projects.
Mary: He said that they are coming long very well.
Violet: Oh really? Well, I suppose we can not see him all the time...
Mary: Then he plans to take George out to play in the gardens. I imagine they will be there until it's time to go to bed. (Remember, it has been announced that Mary and Matthew's son name is George)
Robert: Oh well, I'll see him later.
*Later at Dinner*
Robert: I just talked to Matthew about the estate. He's going to have to work through dinner, but he assures me that it will help Downton even more.
Isobel: I asked him to lunch tomorrow, but he is very busy then too.
See, it can be done! And this would allow him to come back and make an appearance in future seasons. He's still alive at Downton and is seen by everyone else (except the audience), and can appear at anytime! And his and Mary's family could grow bigger, so more characters on the show!
|And what about stand ins? It's not so hard to find a man with blonde hair that can|
stand in for Matthew.
Prime example: Charlie's Angels. Not that I've ever seen the show, but I do know that you never, ever saw Charlie's face: just the back of his head and some arms moving around. Now, this could be combined with #1. It's simple: just have an arm or the back of his head showing every so often to show that, yes, Matthew is still alive and at Downton. Even some distant shots where you could find any stand in to "be" Matthew. Just picture it: Robert and Branson are out for a walk surveying the estate (I don't know, and maybe they've gotten closer somehow) and see Matthew in the distance also surveying the estate: they wave and you see a silhouette waving back. It's perfect! This will even give us further proof that he is still at Downton! No need to send him away or kill him off!
Now, if we could just get a Matthew voice impersonator, we would be all set! Then we could have scenes like this:
|"Oh, hello mother, Cousin Cora, Cousin Violet. Do forgive |
me for not coming in, but I am quite busy at the moment.
Moseley, will you take my hat?"
That's right, even some sound bytes from the previous three series(s)! Sure, a lot of the quotes could have originally been serious, but it could almost work. Just edit out any extra sound effects and it will look like Matthew is still there saying things. Here are some examples:
|Mary: Why do we have to rush into it? I need to be sure, that's all.|
Matthew: But you were sure.
|Robert: I don't know, Matthew... I like the way the estate has been run. I'm not sure I want to change it anymore.|
Matthew: But you were sure.
|Mary: So, you doing any more church visiting with Edith?|
Matthew: My mother’s trying to set something up.
Mary: Well, watch out. I think she has big plans for you.
Matthew: Then she’s in for an equally big disappointment.
|Cora: Edith hasn't come down yet.|
Robert: Well, they're taking away the food now. We can't prevent the maids from doing their job.
Cora: Poor Edith.
Matthew: ...She’s in for an equally big disappointment.
In this case, we wouldn't even need an impersonator! We would just need a whole library of sound bytes to fill in conversational bits where Matthew would be talking.
But even after all this, we need to accept that poor Matthew had died and probably won't be coming back... or can he?! What if Dan Stevens wanted to come back? We could have him come back and have the entire fourth series and the Christmas special from the third series be all one big dream.
But failing that and Matthew really is dead, why not just bring him back anyways? I mean, c'mon, George Lucas brought back Obi Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars movies. Why not apply the same principle?
|Matthew: "You must do what you feel is right, of course... But Robert, don't put your money in the Ponzi scheme."|
Matthew: "Use the force, Robert!"
|C'mon Matthew, get out of Star Wars.|
So, here's to what Series 4 could have been (in jest, of course), and here's to the hope that Series 4 will still be okay.