Downton Abbey‘s unsuspecting heir takes on The Heiress while rumors percolate about the actor’s future on the British smash hit.

Dan Stevens took his career stateside last night as he made his Broadway debut in The Heiress, an adaptation of Henry James’ novel Washington Square. The play’s opening threw a stronger light on the question of whether or not Stevens will bring Cousin Matthew back to Downton Abbey in the show’s projected fourth series.

Rumors that Stevens may have had his fill of the hit show sparked when The Telegraph divulged that the actor “had declined to sign up” for future seasons, choosing instead to pursue other career opportunities.

“New York for me is going to be one big adventure,” Stevens said, according to The Daily Mail. “I will be taking the whole family out and we will be there for six months.” He concluded, “I don’t know if I will be returning to Downton.”

Hope is not necessarily lost for Matthew Crawley fans, however. Shortly after The Telegraph article hit the web, Stevens tweeted:

Though undoubtedly obscure, it is worth keeping in mind that ITV has not yet officially renewed Downton Abbey for a fourth series, though renewal is very likely. Plenty of time remains for Stevens to sign on for future installments of the series along with the bulk of the show’s cast.

As for The Heiress, Stevens and fellow first-timer Jessica Chastain received mild to mixed reviews for their work on Broadway. The Heiress is scheduled to run until February 2013.

And back on the British small-screen, the third series finale of Downton Abbey airs this Sunday at 9 p.m. on ITV; previews, pictures and speculation can be enjoyed right here. For those in the U.S., series 3 will begin airing Jan. 6 on PBS.

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