It looks like Damian Lewis has made his final appearance in the drama series Billions after five seasons, as he will not be reprising his role of Bobby Axelrod in the upcoming sixth season. As those who have watched the series up-to-date, including the finale of season five on Sunday - stop reading if not, as there are spoilers - Axelrod's fortunes took a huge downturn in the last season as he lost control of his companies and lost most of his amassed fortune before going on the run out of the reach of the U.S. legal system in the neutral territory of Switzerland. While the ending was very much open to Axelrod's story picking up again in season six, it looks like that is not the case and we have seen the last of him in the show.
Following the airing of the season five finale of Billions, executive producer Chuck Koppelman said, "What an incredible joy to spend five years working so closely with the great [Damian Lewis]. [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."
Damian Lewis was originally contracted to five seasons of the show, and after that time he feels like there was nowhere else to take the character and that his story had been told. He told the New York Times, "There's an opportunity maybe for me to return, but for now, broadly speaking, Axe has been vanquished. It's difficult to keep mining, creatively. We know who he is."
Lewis, by his own admission, has given more time to the character of Bobby Axelrod than any other he has played, having only remained in his previous well-known Showtime series Homeland for three seasons. While it seems like this was always the point that Lewis was going to break from the show, it also comes at a tough time for the actor, who shot most of his final season of Billions remotely from England as he suffered the personal tragedy of the death of his wife, Harry Potter star Helen McCrory, who passed away in April just after Billions began filming again after the pandemic break.
Lewis was reluctant to talk much about his wife's death, but he did say that while Billions has seen him spending a lot of time away from home for filming, he intends to remain in London for the foreseeable future to be close to his children. His need to be near his family does explain the reason why many of his final scenes were him appearing remotely - which was explained in the show as the character being in quarantine - although he did appear in New York in the finale.
"We wouldn't ask him to come to America in that situation - right after the love of his life passed away, who was a remarkable, incredible artist and human being," Koppelman said. "It's Damian's private life, so it's not really ours to comment on. We just feel truly, unbelievably lucky to have had five years with Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti together."
In conclusion, Lewis added that he doesn't know if or when he will look to be part of another series based in the U.S. He said, "I don't like closing chapters, but it does feel like it's the end of that for now." This news originated at NYTimes.