There’s something about a period drama we just can’t get enough of. Bridgerton has been one of Netflix’s most talked about shows this year, with the highly anticipated second season currently filming. But now Downton Abbey, which first aired on television 11 years ago, has confirmed exciting news for fans – a film sequel.
When the smash hit TV period drama ended on Christmas Day 2015, we all thought that was the end of the Crawley family drama. However in 2019, fans were treated to the first Downton Abbey film. It was such a hit that it raked in £152 million upon release on the big screen.
It was in the same year that talks of a second film had already begun. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Downton Abbey producer Gareth Neame said: ‘We’re working on what the story is, and when we might be able to make it. But it’s the same as the first time around: we have to try to get everyone back together again. And that was very challenging.’
Obviously with coronavirus restrictions, it has been very difficult getting the cast and crew together. In February 2021, Hugh Bonneville (who plays Lord Grantham), said they were hoping to start filming after the vaccine roll-out.
On the Zoe Ball Breakfast Show, he said: ‘Here’s the deal, if everybody who is offered a vaccine takes a vaccine, we can make a movie, we will make a movie. It’s the usual thing. The planets are circling. They are beginning to get into alignment. There is a thing called coronavirus knocking around and until that is under control in a sensible way, we are not going to be able to get all those ducks in a row.’
Then finally, on 19 April, Downton Abbey confirmed the sequel would be coming to the big screen.
‘After a very challenging year with so many of us separated from family and friends, it is a huge comfort to think that better times are ahead and that next Christmas we will be re-united with the much beloved characters of Downton Abbey,’ Gareth Neame said in a statement.
Here’s everything we know about Downton Abbey 2 so far…
When will the Downton Abbey film sequel be released?
It was originally announced that the Downton Abbey film sequel would be ‘in theatres Christmas 2021’. However, Deadline reported the release date has been pushed back to spring the following year. The official release date is now confirmed as 18 March 2022.
It’s not been confirmed why the release date has been pushed back, although we can assume it might have something to do with trying to film with Covid restrictions.
On 17 June, the official Downton Abbey Instagram account teased fans with the below snap, announcing the exciting news that filming had officially begun.
‘It’s so good to be back,’ the caption read.
Who will star in Downton Abbey 2?
According to Focus Features, ‘the original principal cast will all once again return for the second film.’
Downton Abbey’s main cast will all be back to reprise their rolls. There will be new characters too, with Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye and Dominic West joining the cast.
What will the plotline be?
The name of the new film is Downton Abbey: A New Era, so we can expect there to be plenty of ‘new’ things going on. Although the scripts have been written, the plot has been kept well under wraps.
In September 2020, Jim Carter (who plays Carson) revealed on This Morning that the sequel had already been written. He said, ‘If you promise not to tell anyone, I’ll let you know that we’ve seen a script… The script for a second film is there. We’ve seen it, it’s very funny!’
Towards the end of the first Downton Abbey film, Violet Crawley suggested to her granddaughter Lady Mary that she didn’t have long left to live. But writer and producer Julian Fellowes said in an interview with Empire: ‘We should remember that at the end of the film, Maggie [Smith] was by no means dead. You imagine Violet is on her way out, but that decision hasn’t been reached.’
Stay tuned for all of the Downton Abbey film sequel updates here.