Damian Lewis, the British actor who played the character Bobby Axelrod on Showtime’s Billions, is leaving the series after five seasons. His departure was announced following the shocking conclusion to Season 5, when the series’ villain was surprisingly defeated.
After many fans watched the “game-changing” season finale episode featuring Bobby Axelrod’s downfall Sunday night, Billions‘ showrunners announced that it would be Damian Lewis’ final appearance.
“What an incredible joy to spend five years working so closely with the great Damian Lewis,” Billions Executive Producer Brian Koppelman wrote on Twitter. “David Levien and I are beyond grateful to you, Damian, for the work, of course, and the fellowship, and for all you sacrificed to come do this with us.”
In the season 5 finale, title “No Direction Home,” Damian Lewis’ character “Bobby Axelrod” relinquished his billions of assets to rival billionaire “Michael Prince,” played by Corey Stoll, alluding arrest once again by New York Attorney General “Chuck Rhoades,” played by leading man Paul Giamatti.
On the run in Switzerland, Axelrod’s final remark was, “wow, so this is what it is to lose.”
The Billions role was Damian Lewis’ longest tenure on a television series so far in his career. He previously won an Emmy for his role on Homeland, which lasted three seasons.
“There’s an opportunity maybe for me to return,” Damian told The New York Times about a possible Season 6 appearance. “But for now, broadly speaking, Axe has been vanquished.”
Showtime announced that Billions had been renewed for a sixth season, set to premiere on Jan. 23, 2022. Releasing the minute-long trailer, the series set up the new rivalry between Paul Giamatti’s New York DA and Corey Stoll’s billionaire “Michael Prince.”
Damian Lewis shot most of Season 5 of Billions remotely in England since his wife Helen McCroy passed away in April. The Peaky Blinders star died at the age of 52 after a battle with cancer.
“The beautiful and mighty woman that is Helen McCrory has died peacefully at home, surrounded by a wave of love from family and friends,” Damian wrote in a statement on Twitter. “She died as she lived. Fearlessly. God we love her and we know how lucky we are to have had her in our lives.”
The two married in 2007 and raised two children. It is unclear if his tenure with the show ended due to needing time to grieve, or if Damian’s story was simply over as planned. The way Damian discusses the finale, however, his departure from the series appears to be the latter.
“It’s difficult to keep mining, creatively,” Lewis told The New York Times after 60 episodes with the character. “We know who he is.”
Over the course of his five seasons on the show, he has become fully synonymous in fans’ eyes with his character Bobby Axelrod, a hedge fund manager and billionaire “capitalist monster,” as the character described himself.
“When I’m walking down the street in New York, it’s: ‘Axe, you the man!'” Damian said. “He’s a really despicable human being, but no one seems to care.”
Brian Koppelman, one of the series showrunners, said that Damian was “not an actor who’s scared the audience is going to dislike him,” which was the kind of guy they needed for the role. “He is willing to play the character in as caustic a manner as the character requires, and he has faith that if he’s true to that, it will connect with the audience.”
Following his departure from the show and his wife’s passing, the 50-year-old actor plans to take time off in London with his two children.
Do you think the show will be as good without Damian Lewis? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.