Dan Stevens Downton Abbey Fans of "Downton Abbey" should get used to mourning major characters like Matthew (Dan Stevens). Executive producers say that no one is guaranteed a happy ending. Photo: REUTERS/Phil McCarten

Fans of “Downton Abbey” shouldn’t get too attached to anyone in Season 5. Executive Producer Gareth Neame won’t make promises to keep any favorite characters alive. “No one’s safe,” Neame told TV Line.

“Downton” fans might feel like the show has killed off too many character, but Neame insisted that they aren’t writing in unrealistic deaths. “We’ve lost so many key characters already,” Neame said. “Although the show’s only been on for four years, we’ve actually covered 10 to 12 years, so it’s reasonable that within any family, there’d be deaths in that time frame.”

The death of Patrick Crawley on the Titanic kicked off the entire series, and plenty of characters have gone since then. Lavinia, Matthew’s fiancé, died after being infected by the Spanish Influenza. Fans are still reeling from Matthew’s unexpected death at the end of Season 3. Matthew’s demise meant more suffering for his wife, Lady Mary, who had to deal with Kemal Pamuck dying in her bed while trying to seduce her in Season 2. Mary also had to grapple with her sister, Lady Sybill, dying during childbirth. Of course, it isn’t just aristocracy who face tragic deaths. Even butler Bates was sentenced to death after his ex-wife framed him for her murder.

However, servants typically have a higher survival rate in “Downton Abbey,” but there is a good reason for that. “When an actor playing a servant wants to leave, there isn’t really a problem – [that character gets] another job,” creator Jullian Fellowes told TV Line. “With members of the family, once they’re not prepared to come back for any episodes at all, then it means death. Because how believable would it be that Matthew never wanted to see the baby, never wanted to see his wife?”

This was the case with housemaid Gwen Dawson. When actress Rose Leslie left to play Ygritte on “Game Of Thrones,” her character was simply replaced with another housemaid. The staff read a letter in Season 4 from Dawson, in which she reported that she got married. Maybe some fan favorites will get a happily ever after -- but don’t count on it.

Season 5 of “Downton Abbey” will premiere Jan. 4 on PBS. Are there any characters you wouldn't mind seeing killed off? Sound off in the comments below!