Why did Axelrod leave Billions?

Billions’ Damian Lewis, reportedly left his role as Bobby Axelrod, together with the Showtime series to spend more time with his family, following the end of his contract.

Overview

For five seasons, Showtime’s popular drama series, Billions focussed on central leading characters, Damian Lewis as Bobby Axelrod, who was a hedge fund billionaire and philanthropist, and Paul Giamatti as Chuck Rhoades, a State Attorney obsessed with arresting Axelrod. A premise which ensured the success and popularity of the series.

However, the dynamics of the show changed following the season five finale, which saw Axelrod flee to Switzerland following legal troubles that threatened to have him arrested. Axelrod fleeing meant the indefinite exit of Damian Lewis, as he takes time to focus on his family following the end of his contractual obligation.

How has Billions changed in season six?

Initially, the premise of Billions was centred around, “New money means no mercy as Mike Prince takes the Axe Capital throne. Chuck Rhoades is convinced no one should have that much wealth – or power. As all the players seek out new alliances only one thing’s for certain – wealth means war”, according to IMDb.

However, following Damian Lewis’ exit during the season finale of the Wall-street drama series, the creators of the show promoted Corey Stoll to the series regular to replace Lewis as his character, Michael “Mike” Prince becomes Rhoades new archnemesis.

Why did Axelrod leave Billions?

Within the world of the story, Bobby Axelrod left Billions to flee the hands of justice. This is as Chuck Rhoades had finally found concrete proof of Axelrod’s suspected illegal activities.

Therefore, Axe fled to Switzerland in order to get away from persecution. This happens at the end of the season five finale, which was also when Lewis’ contract came to an end.

The direction the story took was one that had been already in the cards for a couple of years, according to creators of the show, Brian Koppelman, David Levien and Andrew Ross Sorkin. This is as Damian Lewis was already planning to leave the show when the five-year tenure of his contract was set to end.

Therefore, the storyline has been working towards the dramatic exit for a while, but due to the manner in which Axelrod fled, his return is still possible.

Damian Lewis explains why he left Billions

Following the conclusion of season five of Billions, which saw lead Damian Lewis as Bobby Axelrod depart from the show by confirming it through his Twitter account.

The actor conducted an interview with The New York Times, where he explained why he left the show. According to Lewis, he left the show because his five-year contract had ended, and he decided to not renew for a number of reasons.

He cited creativity as one, by stating, “It’s difficult to keep mining, creatively.” This was also coupled with an intense travelling schedule and the passing of his wife in April 2021, resulting in him wanting to spend more time with his family.

Brian Koppelman bids farewell to Billions’ Damian Lewis

Following the confirmation of Damian Lewis’ exit, co-creator of Billions, Brian Koppelman conducted interviews explaining that as a production, they understood why Lewis was ready to leave the show and confirmed that the matter was discussed a couple of years in advance.

According to Koppelman, “Knowing the conditions in which he performed, travelling back and forth to England for years to be with his family, it’s impossible to imagine just how hard and focused that guy worked. We feel really honoured 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.”

Will Damian Lewis return to Billions?

Considering that Damian Lewis did not leave the Wall-street drama series, Billions, under a dark cloud or surrounded by controversy, the show creators have confirmed that the door will always remain open for Lewis to reprise his role as Bobby Axelrod.

Seeing as Lewis is enjoying being back at his home in London and spending time with his family, he might not be in a hurry to return to television.

However, when asked if he was ever returning to Billions, he stated, “There’s an opportunity maybe for me to return. But for now, broadly speaking, Axe has been vanquished.”

Conclusion

Billions first premiered on Showtime in 2016 and has since become one of the popular shows on the television network. The Wall-street drama series was anchored on the cat-and-mouse game between billionaire hedge funder, Bobby Axelrod and State Attorney, Chuck Rhoades, for five seasons.

The sixth season marked a change, as Axelrod fled to Switzerland as he faced legal troubles that would have seen him arrested. Axelrod fleeing to Switzerland meant the exit of actor Damian Lewis, who left the show for a number of personal reasons. However, his departure also coincided with the end of his contractual obligation to the series.