Damian Lewis departs ‘Billions’ ahead of Season 6

He Axe-ed himself from the show.

After an electrifying five seasons, Damian Lewis is stepping away from his role as venal finance titan Bobby Axelrod on Showtime’s “Billions.” The bombshell comes after showrunners announced that the financial drama’s Season 6 will premiere on Jan. 23, 2022. The network also released a minute-long teaser trailer.

“What an incredible joy to spend five years working so closely with the great @lewis_damian!” tweeted “Billions” Executive Producer Brian Koppelman following the 50-year-old actor’s departure. “@DavidLevien 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.”

The Emmy-winner’s ride into the sunset dovetailed with Axelrod’s adieu on the show. At the end of the Season 5 finale, which was titled “No Direction Home” and aired Sunday, the hedgefund shark was on the lam in Switzerland after duping New York Attorney General Chuck Roades (Emmy-winner Paul Giamatti) by relinquishing his assets to rival billionaire Michael Prince (Corey Stoll).

The final episode concluded with the tycoon admitting defeat, musing, “Wow. So this is what it is to loose.”

Paul Giamatti as Chuck Rhoades, David Costabile as Mike “Wags” Wagner, Asia Kate Dillon as Taylor, Maggie Siff as Wendy Rhoades and Damian Lewis as Bobby “Axe” Axelrod in “Billions.”

And while the conclusion was left somewhat open-ended, Lewis said that his fan-favorite character had closed his account for the foreseeable future.

“There’s an opportunity maybe for me to return,” the “Band of Brothers” actor told the New York Times of his exit. “But for now, broadly speaking, Axe has been vanquished.”

After five seasons, Damian Lewis is leaving Showtime's "Billions."
After five seasons, Damian Lewis is leaving Showtime’s “Billions.”

The dismaying TV announcement comes on the heels of a personal tragedy: Lewis’ wife, the acclaimed “Peaky Blinders” actress Helen McCrory, passed away from cancer at the age of 52 this past April during the production of the fifth season.

The coronavirus pandemic also forced Showtime to postpone Season 5 by a whole year, eventually releasing it in two parts. In fact, “Homeland” alum shot large stretches of the season’s latter half from his UK home due to COVID concerns.

It’s unclear what the “Billions” sixth season will entail; however, a recent teaser suggested that Rhoades will now go toe-to-toe with Prince for ruining his chance to put Axe in prison.

Damian Lewis as Bobby "Axe" Axelrod in BILLIONS (Season 4, Episode 01, "Chucky Rhoades's Greatest Game").
Damian Lewis as Bobby “Axe” Axelrod in “Billions.”
Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME


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