Showtime has confirmed that Damian Lewis is departing from the hit drama series Billions with the recent conclusion of its fifth season. In the long-delayed finale of Billions Season 5, “No Direction Home,” the final chapter between Lewis‘ character, the cutthroat hedge-fund manager Bobby Axelrod, and former US Attorney Chuck Rhoades, played by Paul Giamatti, was written. After 60 episodes of a back and forth battle of wits, Axe was forced to cut a deal with Corey Stoll‘s Mike Prince to escape prosecution, eventually fleeing to Switzerland.
Showrunner and creator Brian Koppelman took to Twitter to say how much he and fellow creator/showrunner David Levien enjoyed working with Lewis over the course of the last five years on the show, thanking him for his work, fellowship, and for all of the sacrifices he made to be part of the series. Gary Levine, President of Entertainment at Showtime, also sung the praises of the actor in both Billions as well as his role in fellow Showtime series Homeland in a statement regarding his departure.
“This is not the first time I have said goodbye to Damian Lewis. What a testament to his talent that he inhabited two wildly different characters — Axe and Brody — on two of our most successful series — ‘Billions’ and ‘Homeland’ — and made them both so iconic. He is an extraordinary actor and I hope there will be a third time.”
His departure comes after being one of the original cast members of the show all the way back in season one five years ago. It also comes after a personal tragedy for him as his wife Helen McCrory passed away from cancer in April of this year at the age of 52. With such a key character like Axe leaving, a large hole is left in the show’s cast. The aforementioned Mike Prince debuted in Season 5 of the series as a recurring character and Stoll will be promoted to a starring role in the show’s already announced sixth season. While Lewis is stepping away as a main character on the show, this might not be the last time we see the Emmy-winning actor in the role of Bobby Axelrod as it has been teased that he might make some appearances in the future.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Koppelman said, “We feel really honored and lucky to have had five years of being able to know that Damian Lewis was Bobby Axelrod. But, again, not saying it’s goodbye forever.” Along with Stoll and Giamatti, the cast of Billions also includes Maggie Siff, Daniel Breaker, Asia Kate Dillon, Condola Rashad, Kelly AuCoin and Jeffrey DeMunn.
Billions Season 6 is set to air on January 23, 2022.