Fans of Downton Abbey, rejoice! A sequel to the 2019 film is in the works. While the film seemed to tie up the loose threads nicely, producer Gareth Neame and star Hugh Bonneville confirmed that the Crawley family will have another glittering shot on the big screen.
Neame confirmed the sequel all the way back in 2019, telling The Hollywood Reporter that the main concern was getting the original cast back. "We're working on what the story is, and when we might be able to make it," he explained. "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? That will be the challenge." Creator Julian Fellowes revealed in 2020 that he would be working on a sequel film after he finished his upcoming HBO miniseries. "Give us a break, gov," he joked. "Not until I’ve finished the scripts for The Gilded Age."
However, star Bonneville recently confirmed on The One Show that while the pandemic had delayed the process, a script is written and they're hoping to film a second film later in the year. "There won’t be any more TV episodes, but we would love to make another movie," he explained. "There is a script, it has been written and seen, but a little thing called coronavirus got in the way of us filming it. It would be lovely to think that later this year the cameras could start rolling."
Star Elizabeth McGovern has also expressed interest in another film in the past but had a few reservations. "There have been some availability checks from production," McGovern told PopCulture.com when asked about the rumors of a sequel. "I won’t get excited until I see a script, though."
There is no word on which cast members would be returning at this point, but it's safe to assume that Dame Maggie Smith probably won't be among them. Her fan-favorite character, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, revealed to her granddaughter, Mary, that she had received some troubling medical diagnosis, setting up for an offscreen death. Plus, Smith hasn't been particularly complimentary of the material. "I am deeply grateful for the work in [Harry] Potter and indeed Downton, but it wasn’t what you’d call satisfying," Smith told ES Magazine, reports The Guardian. "I didn’t really feel I was acting in those things."