'Downton Abbey' Season 5: Lily James leaving before Season 6
Lily James, who joined the popular U.K. period drama as the fun-loving Lady Rose after Jessica Brown Findlay left the series, is being swept away by her silver screen fairytale and won't return to the program after filming for Season 5 wraps this year.
James' promotional tour for Disney's live-action "Cinderella," in which she plays the title character, will coincide with when "Downton Abbey" would be filming Season 6 and therefore the actress is not able to do both. "It's a very important film for Disney, and you can understand them wanting their leading lady to be available to promote it," a rep for the actress tells The Daily Mail.
But never fear, "Downton Abbey" fans -- the creators are not killing Lady Rose off.
The creators tell the Mail that they plan to have Rose "bubbling" away out of sight and hope that she'll be able to come back for the special Christmas episode. The exact nature of Rose's departure from the show hasn't yet been determined, though it would not be hard to have her simply return to Scotland with her parents, since the reason for Lady Rose staying at Downton is because her parents are traveling in India.
A production executive tells the Mail that James' youthful exuberance adds "balance" to the family upstairs, which is presumably why she was brought into the show after Lady Sybil's death in childbirth in Season 3. We wonder what long-lost young relative the creators will find for Season 6?
"Downton Abbey" Season 5 premieres in the fall 2014 in the U.K. and January 2015 in the U.S.