[Warning: Major Billions season 5 spoilers] It would appear the season 5 finale will have a lasting impact on the show’s overall direction as Deadline confirms Damian Lewis won’t be returning for Showtime’s Billions season 6 – making a definite exit after five eventful seasons of portraying billionaire Bobby Axelrod.
For the uninitiated, Lewis’ Axelrod has now fled to Switzerland to evade the full legal fury of long-time nemesis, New York State Attorney General Chuck Rhoades (portrayed by Paul Giamatti). His freedom does, however, come at a cost of his entire fortune. Or in the words of Axe himself while in conversation with rival billionaire Mike Prince (portrayed by Corey Stoll), the latter of whom now owns all the former’s companies:
“So… this is what it is to lose.”
Billions Co-Creator, Showrunner, & Executive Producer Brian Koppelman spared no time in praising Damian Lewis for his tenure as Bobby Axelrod post the episode ‘No Direction Home.’
“What an incredible joy to spend five years working so closely with the great [Damian Lewis!” tweets Brian Koppelman.
“[Co-Creator, Showrunner, & Executive Producer] 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.”
During the year-long interim period between Billions season 5 (Part I) and Billions season 5 (Part II), Damian Lewis was confronted by a personal tragedy. Wife and Peaky Blinders star Helen McCrory passed away at the age of 52 after her secret battle against cancer.
“I’ve never known anyone able to enjoy life as much,” Lewis wrote in a tribute published by the Sunday Times of London.
“Her ability to be in the present and enjoy the moment was inspirational. Nor was she interested in navel-gazing. No real self-interest in self-reflection; she believed in looking out, not in. Which is why she was able to turn her light so brightly on others.”
A combination of said tragedy and Bobby Axelrod’s story development reaching its natural conclusion has influenced Damian Lewis’ decision to exit Billions. The British thespian plans to stay close to home with his teenage children in light of the “sadness in our family.”
“It’s difficult to keep mining, creatively. We know who he is,” Lewis explains to The New York Times.
“There’s an opportunity maybe for me to return. But for now, broadly speaking, Axe has been vanquished.”
Corey Stoll, on the other hand, will now take the reins as Mike Prince, leading a cast which also includes David Constabile as Mike “Wags” Wagner”, Asia Kate Dillon as Taylor Mason, Maggie Siff as Wendy Rhoades, Condola Rashad as Kate Sacker, Kelly AuCoin as “Dollar” Bill Stream, Jeffrey DeMunn as Charles Rhoades Sr., and more.
Billions season 6 premieres over in the US on January 23rd of 2022, meaning you can expect it to hit Australia’s Stan around the same time – watch the first teaser trailer below.