Let's start with Dan Stevens' departure. Since Matthew was the heir, and thus far in English Law, women cannot inherit, Lady Mary has no chance at all of being the Countess of Grantham. In fact she won't even be the dowager. Since she gave birth to a male, the child's future wife will be the next Countess and Lady Mary is consigned to spend the rest of her life as well, Lady Mary.
Then there's the scheming Miss O'Brien. Will she simply be gone at the beginning of season four, or will we see her just long enough for her to actually tell Lady Grantham that this time her rumored departure is for real? Remember SHE thought she was being let go in season one, (it was her Ladyship's soap) and then Thomas stirred up a nasty revenge rumor in season three. Let's hope that Miss O'Brien's replacement is at least somewhat nice. I know, the next lady's maid should be a lesbian who falls in love with Mrs. Pattmore.
How about Lady Edith? The poor girl always seems to take on Mission Impossible when it comes to boys. Will her editor be able to get out of his thankless marriage? Will Lord Grantham consent to Edith's on-the- side relationship with a married man? The poor girl's been jilted and jerked around since 1912. I think she deserves a little shot at happiness. And besides, editor boy is anything but ugly.
It seems that Thomas and Jimmy have come to some truce after Mr. Barrow took a beating to rescue his wannabe boy toy. It will be interesting to see if the conniving valet cum under butler actually becomes nice for a change.
Let us now consider Mr. and Mrs. Bates. Mr. Bates has been exonerated, Lord Grantham and Mr. Carson have managed to find a suitable job for everyone, and Anna and Bates have settled in to their little cottage on the estate. Isn't it about time that a little Bates enters the picture.
And what about Mr. Branson? Will Lady Mary fall for the hot little Irishman? Hmmmm? Let's just hope that his Lordship listens to Tom and doesn't blow all of the money for a third time.
Several new characters are joining the cast, including the first person of color. That's sure to stir up the Dowager's ire. So much to wonder and I hate it that season four is still months away.
Finally, here are some wishes for my favorite characters. I hope that Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes fall in love. I hope that Mrs. Crawley falls head over heals for Dr. Clarkson, in spite of the fact that she was the bane of his existence during the war. I bet that Daisy ends up moving from Downton to her father-in-law's farm. And let's hope that poor Alfred finally finds a girlfriend.