Following the success of the first big screen installment, it’s the news we’ve all been waiting for — a “Downton Abbey” movie sequel is on its way. Production started last week, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed, with creator Julian Fellowes and all of the original principal cast returning. That means Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Jim Carter, Laura Carmichael, Michelle Dockery and other favorite actors will be back.
“Downton Abbey 2” will also feature some new faces, including Dominic West (“The Wire,” “The Affair”), Hugh Dancy (“Black Hawk Down”), Laura Haddock (“Guardians of the Galaxy”) and Nathalie Baye (“Catch Me if You Can”).
The “Downton Abbey” movie sequel will be a holiday season release, arriving in theaters Dec. 22, 2021.
Focus Features confirmed the news on Twitter, writing, “We’re thrilled to announce that Julian Fellowes and the entire Downton cast are back for #DowntonAbbey2, with Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye and Dominic West joining! See the film in theaters this Christmas.”
We're thrilled to announce that Julian Fellowes and the entire Downton cast are back for #DowntonAbbey2, with Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye and Dominic West joining! See the film in theaters this Christmas. pic.twitter.com/DkEfo8ODzm
— Focus Features (@FocusFeatures) April 19, 2021
Bonneville, who plays Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, shared his delight on Twitter, writing, “Good to be back.”
— Hugh Bonneville (@hughbon) April 19, 2021
The first “Downton Abbey” movie, released in 2019, was the Crawley family’s big comeback after the period drama TV series ended in 2016, and grossed $194 million worldwide.
Back in 2019, producer Gareth Neame (Carnival Films) told The Hollywood Reporter that a “Downton Abbey” movie sequel wasn’t a definite. “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.”
“The challenge will be, is everyone available at the same time? Can we make deals with them?” he added. “That will be the challenge.”
The ‘Downton Abbey’ Movie Sequel Had a Script Last Year
In September 2020, actor Jim Carter (Carson) appeared on U.K. television show “This Morning” to talk about the show’s 10th anniversary. He revealed that the sequel had already been written, saying, “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!”
Carter added, “It’s got all the same characters in, all the regular characters, and I think the will is, COVID willing, we’ll film it next year.”
In February 2021, Bonneville told a U.K. radio station that they were hoping to start filming after the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
“Here’s the deal, if everybody who is offered a vaccine takes a vaccine, we can make a movie, we will make a movie,” he said on “The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show.” “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. Mixing my metaphors here. But there is certainly the intention to do it.”
And now that intention has become a reality.
“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,” Neame told THR.
“There’s no place like home for the holidays, and we can’t imagine a better gift than getting to reunite with Julian, Gareth, and the entire Downton family in 2021 to bring the Crawleys back home for their fans,” added Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski.