When Downton Abbey went off the air in 2016, fans of the period drama held out hope that the series finale wasn’t the last they’d see of the Crawley family, and the many footmen, maids, and members of the kitchen staff who worked for them.
This fall, that daydream was realized with a feature-length film featuring everyone from Lady Mary and Henry Talbot to Mrs. Patmore and Daisy. The movie’s plot revolves around a royal visit to the stately country home, and all the preparation that entails. But it might not be the end of the Downton Abbey universe.
Several people involved in the franchise (both on and off screen) have suggested that there could be another film in the works. Here’s what we know so far:
Downton Abbey producer Graham Neame confirmed that a sequel is in the works.
“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,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in November 2019.
As always, it will be difficult to get the entire ensemble cast back together; many, many schedules will need to align.
“The challenge will be, is everyone available at the same time? Can we make deals with them? That will be the challenge,” he said.
Maggie Smith could make an appearance, though nothing is guaranteed.
Without spoiling too much, the end of the first film seemed to suggest that Smith was finished playing her iconic character, the Dowager Countess. But Neame says there’s a chance that audiences could see her reprise her role once more.
“All I would say is that one of the things that’s been commented on over the years about Downton is that we’ve had plenty of medical misdiagnoses,” he said.
The Downton Abbey film’s writer and director started saying there was “potential” for a sequel even before the first movie came out.
“I think there always is potential,” movie director Michael Engler said in an interview with Vanity Fair.
And writer Julian Fellowes agreed that the idea was plausible.
“For me now to say, ‘Absolutely, definitely this is it, there will never be another film,’ I would just be foolish. Because you end up eating your words, you know?” he said. “I mean, I wouldn’t mind making another film. We were very happy making this one. So let’s see what happens.”
Previously, Fellowes had also specifically used the word “possibility” when speaking about a sequel to the Downton Abbey film.
“I haven’t killed off half the cast in a Coronation Street style crash so a follow-up is a definite possibility,” he said.
Several members of the cast have said they are interested in continuing the story.
“How many movies were there of Star Wars? This could run and run,” joked Hugh Bonneville, who plays Lord Grantham, in that same Vanity Fair interview. His on-screen wife, Elizabeth McGovern, who plays Cora Crawley has also said something to suggest that further plans are in the works.
“Well all doors are always left open, as much as I can say. We’ll see, we have to wait and see,” she said, speaking with the Evening Standard.
We’ll keep you posted as soon as we know more.
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