The return to Downton is upon us. ‘Downton Abbey 2’ has officially been confirmed. From the cast to the release date, here’s what we know about the sequel.
The doors at Downton aren’t closing just yet. Downton Abbey 2 is headed to theaters in 2021. The story will continue in a brand-new sequel.
Focus Features announced that the Downton Abbey sequel is already in production, so fans won’t have to wait too long to find out what’s next for their favorite Downton characters. There’s already a handful of key information we know about Downton Abbey 2. HollywoodLife has all the latest updates below:
‘Downton Abbey’ Sequel
Downton Abbey 2 was officially announced on April 19 by Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski. The sequel went into production the second full week of April 2021. “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 Crawley’s back home for their fans,” he said in a statement.
Gareth Neame, the film’s producer and executive chairman of Carnival Films, also said, “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 reunited with the much-beloved characters of Downton Abbey.”
The highly-anticipated sequel comes nearly 2 years after the first Downton Abbey movie. The film, the first sequel after the hit series, was a box office hit and earned over $194 million at the worldwide box office. The Downton Abbey series ran for 6 seasons and won 15 Emmys and 3 Golden Globes during its run.
A sequel has been in the works since the first movie came out. “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,” Neame told The Hollywood Reporter in 2019. “The challenge will be, is everyone available at the same time? Can we make deals with them? That will be the challenge.” After a full year of working everything out, the Downton Abbey cast has all assembled to film the sequel.
Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes had said back in January 2020 that he was going to work on Downton Abbey 2 after working on his latest series, The Gilded Age. “Give us a break, gov. Not until I’ve finished the scripts for The Gilded Age,” he said after his Winter TCA press tour session about a timeline for Downton Abbey 2, according to Deadline.
Downton Abbey will be released on December 22, 2021, just in time for the holidays. By the time the movie hits theaters, it will have been more than 2 years since the first movie came out. The year 2021 has seen movie theaters open back up in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s unlikely the release date will be moved unless filming is delayed.
Old & New Faces
The original principal cast will all return for the second film, which includes Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crawley), Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith Crawley), Hugh Bonneville (Robert Crawley), Joanne Froggatt (Anna Bates), Jim Carter (Mr. Carson), Elizabeth McGovern (Cora Crawley), Allen Leech (Tom Branson), Brendan Coyle (John Bates), and more. The announcement didn’t name the entire original cast that’s returning, but that list should include Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess. The end of the Downton Abbey movie left the Dowager Countess’ future in question.
In addition to the original cast, new cast members have joined the roster of the second film. Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye, and Dominic West are set to star in Downton Abbey 2. Character details have not been unveiled yet.
Downton Abbey creator and writer Julian Fellowes will once again write the screenplay for the new Downton Abbey sequel. Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge are also returning to produce with Fellowes. Simon Curtis, who directed My Week with Marilyn, has joined to direct the sequel.
The first Downton Abbey movie followed a royal visit to the Crawley family and Downton staff from the King and Queen of England and ended with a ball fitting for the Royal Family. Focus Features has not revealed specific plot details, but given that the second movie is being released at Christmas, there could be a holiday element involved.
Jim Carter, a.k.a. Mr. Carson, revealed in September 2020 on ITV’s This Morning that the cast had seen a script. “We’ve seen it, it’s very funny!” he said. “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.”
At the end of the first movie, the Dowager Countess confessed to Lady Mary that she’s dying. The Dowager went to London and learned she doesn’t have much longer to live. She named Mary her successor, and she made Mary realize that Downton’s legacy needs to remain intact in the years to come.