Billions, a cerebral financial drama, has seen a total of five successful seasons since it initially premiered on Showtime back on January 18, 2016. The show is comprised of an ensemble cast that is led by wheeling and dealing hedge fund manager Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis). Throughout the show, Axelrod repeatedly employed illegal tactics to secure the biggest return on investments, which often places him head to head with the ever relentless United States prosecutor Chuck Rhoades (Paul Giamatti). For much of the show, Damian Lewis’ character escaped Rhoades’ attempts to indict him, However, in the season five finale episode No Way Home, Axelrod was forced to flee to Switzerland. Now, according to Deadline, it will stay that way, as Lewis will not be returning for the fast-approaching sixth season.
Damian Lewis’ exit from the show came as a jolting revelation to many fans. With the jarring bombshell now out in the open, Entertainment Weekly sat down with the series creators, Brian Koppelman and David Levien, to find out exactly why Damian Lewis chose to leave and also to see just how they felt about his decision. Koppelman disclosed that he has actually been loosely discussing Lewis’ departure with him for about three years and that they got serious about planning his exit during the show’s fourth season.
Koppelman continued by highlighting just how hard Damian Lewis has worked during his time on the show, explaining that he would constantly travel from his home in Europe to film in the United States because he wanted to still be able to spend time with his family. He also discussed that the recent passing of his wife from cancer also became a factor in his decision to exit the show, even though, ultimately, it was due to a combination of reasons. Koppelman emphasized that he supported Lewis’ decision to leave and that it felt like the right time.
Even though Damian Lewis has officially exited the show, according to Republic World, fans can expect all of the other key players to return to reprise their roles in the upcoming season, including Paul Giamatti, Corey Stoll, and Maggie Siff. The publication also detailed that the creators have expressed that even though Damian Lewis will no longer be a series regular, to not count out the possibility of seeing Bobby Axelrod again, and that he might pop up in one or two episodes during season six. However, no definitive guest appearances by the show’s former lead have been officially confirmed as of yet.
As of now, it is still unclear as to which character will pick up the torch as Billions’ next lead, but speculation has been circulating that it is likely to be Damian Lewis’ character’s former rival Mike Prince. Though, there’s every chance the writers could introduce a new character. Fans will have to wait until the show returns to Showtime for its sixth season, which is scheduled to premiere in just three months on January 23, 2022, to find out if the rumors are true.