I swear to God, if you don't want to hear about what happens at the end of Downton Abbey's third series, stop reading right now. Seriously. Do not keep reading and then yell at me in the comments when you're done, because I am about to tell you what happens at the end. You have been warned.
In December, the sad, sad news broke that Dan Stevens will not be returning for Downton Abbey's fourth series (yes, I will keep calling it a "series," because that's how the Brits do it). With beloved cousin/husband Matthew gone — I didn't say dead, I don't know if he dies — what's to become of Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery)? Why, she'll get a new beau, of course! According to Deadline, the show is on the lookout for a thirty-something actor, presumably a handsome Brit, to play a certain Lord Anthony Gillingham, Mary's new suitor. To help the casting directors out, we've named our top five choices to vie for Mary's heart.
Superman must be good enough for Lady Mary, right? While Cavill will surely be clean-cut perfection for 2013's Man of Steel, we think Mary would prefer him as a rugged, brooding bad boy. She has always been drawn to the strong, mysterious type — Matthew was a bit of an outlier in that regard.
Baby-faced Redmayne is 31 years old, but we think he could use his seeming youth to his advantage to snag the role — and Lady Mary. Mary, either a widow or a scorned ex-wife in Series 4, may be looking to take control of her love life. The perfect way to do that? By teaching a less-experienced beau the romantic ropes.
The Game of Thrones/Downton Abbey double casting has already been done twice — with Iain Glen (Ser Jorah Mormont/Sir Richard Carlisle) and Rose Leslie (Ygritte/Gwen) — why not a third time? We picture Harington as an artistic type, moody and thoughtful. After marrying the ultimate pragmatist, Mary could go for someone a little more poetic.
Just look at that mustache! We are confident Sturgess could nail the role of a no-longer-young playboy. We see Sturgess' Lord Gillingham as a man with a lot of money, a lot of time, and little self-control. Like a younger Sir Richard Carlisle, we see Sturgess as a suave suitor with questionable motives.
Downton Abbey has addressed a number of social issues in the first three series: class divisions, Ireland's revolution, and women's rights. One sticky topic they haven't tackled? Race. Let's fix that in Series 4 by bringing Elba to Downton. Can you imagine the look on the Earl of Grantham's face when he discovers a lord can be black?
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[Photo Credit: PBS; WENN (3); FameFlynet (2)]
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If there's a cinematic alchemy award to be given this year director Bill Condon deserves to take it home after magically turning the tedious Twilight franchise into entertainment gold. 2011's Part 1 was a horror camp romp that turned the supernatural love triangle — the naval gazing trio of Bella Edward and Jacob — on its head. Breaking Dawn - Part 2 continues the madcap exploration of a world populated by vampires and werewolves mining even more comedy thrills and genuine character moments out of conceit than ever before. The film occasionally sidesteps back into Edward and Bella's meandering romance (an evident hurdle of author Stephenie Meyer's source material) but the duller moments are overshadowed by the movie's nimble pace and playful attitude. Breaking Dawn - Part 2 will elicit laughs aplenty — but thankfully they're all on purpose.
Part 2 picks up immediately following the events of the first film Bella (Kristen Stewart) having been turned into a vampire by Edward (Robert Pattinson) to save her life after the torturous delivery of her half-human half-vampire child Renesmee. She awakes to discover super senses heightened agility increased strength… and a thirst for blood. One dead cougar later Bella and the gang are able to focus on the real troubles ahead: Renesmee is rapidly growing (think Jack) and vampiric overlords The Volturi perceive her a threat to vampiric secrecy. Knowing the Volturi will travel to Forks WA to kill the young girl (a 10-year-old just a month after being born) The Cullens amass an army of bloodsucking friends to end the oppression once and for all.
Packed with an absurd amount of backstory and mythology-twisting plot points (some vampires can shoot lightning now?) Condon and series screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg mine revel in the beefed up ensemble of Breaking Dawn - Part 2 and thanks to a wildly funny cast it never feels like pointless deviation. Along with the usual suspects Lee Pace adds swagger to the series as a grungy alt-rock vampire Noel Fisher appears as a hilarious over-the-top battle-ready Russian coven member and Michael Sheen returns has Volturi head honcho Aro and steels the show. Flamboyant diabolical and a steady stream of maniacal laughter Sheen owns Condon's high camp vision for Twilight and he lights up the screen. There are a few throw away nations of vampires — the oddly stereotypical Egyptian and Amazonians sects are there mostly there to off-set the extreme whiteness — but the actors involved bring liveliness to a franchise known for being soulless. Even Stewart Pattinson and Taylor Lautner give personal bests in this installment — a scene between Bella and her dad Charlie (Billy Burke) is genuinely heartfelt while Jacob's overprotective hero schtick finally lands.
Whereas Breaking Dawn - Part 1 stuck mostly to the personal story relying on the intimate moments as Bella and Edward took the big plunge into marriage and sex Part 2 paints with broader strokes and Condon has a ball. Delving into the history of the vampires and the vampire world outside Forks is Pandora's Box for the director. One scene where we learn why kids scare the heck of the Volturi captures a scope of medieval epics — along with the bloodshed. Twilight might be known for its sexual moments but Breaking Dawn - Part 2 will go down for its abundance of decapitations. The big set piece in the finale is something to behold both in the craftsmanship of the spectacle and in its bizarre nature.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 had the audience hooting hollering and even gasping as it twisted and turned to the final moments. There's little doubt that even the biggest naysayer of the franchise would do the same. No irony here: the conclusion of Twilight is a blast.