Major 'Downton Abbey' character will die in season 3

The show's executive producer says that Matthew and Mary will marry on season three. Nick Briggs / ITV for Masterpiece

"Downton Abbey" doesn't return for its third season until next year for U.S. television audiences, but executive producer Rebecca Eaton is revealing some big plot points for the British series -- including a major character's death.

“Somebody will be born, and somebody will die, somebody pretty key in the cast, unfortunately not going to make it. It’s the 1920s now," Eaton told the Orlando Sentinel.

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A big death is not a surprise for viewers of Julian Fellowes' "Downton Abbey." In the first season, Kemal Pamuk made a splash with his death at Downton Abbey and last season, former footman William passed away after being injured in the war.

In the new season, viewers can also expect a wedding. "Matthew and Mary do get married," she revealed.

The arrival of Shirley MacLaine as Cora's mother will be significant for the drama. "There are some wonderful scenes between Maggie and Shirley MacLaine," said Eaton, "Shirley MacLaine being as ditsy as ever."

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She continued: "And Maggie barely restraining her sneer in having to deal with this American. Maggie Smith is a handful, it's true. She's very difficult. She knows her worth and she's tricky on the set, but she delivers when the time comes."

"Downton Abbey" returns for season 3 in the U.S. in January 2013 on PBS.

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