This May, it was announced that the beloved residents of Downton Abbey would be returning, and fans were delighted to hear that the period drama would finally be receiving a spin-off onto the big screen. This time around, in addition to the well-known cast, the abbey will be receiving a visit from some guests with royal standing: King George V and Queen Mary, who will be making their way out to the Yorkshire estate. Based on the trailer, we can anticipate that the arrival of the royal guests will be causing a frenzy both upstairs and downstairs.
For all of you loyal fans, the upcoming movie is sure to be full of winks and nods to the previous series. And for all of you guests to the abbey, the movie is written to be a stand alone and will be just as captivating to anyone who is new to Downton Abbey. So hold on to your cap and riding coat as we go over everything we know so far, from details about the plot to when you can expect to see it hitting Regal theatres!
While a majority of details about the movie has been kept under wraps, we do know that the main plot point will focus heavily around the royal visit to the abbey by King George V and Queen Mary. This storyline was carefully designed to create a plot that would bind everyone together— both upstairs and downstairs, admitted Academy Award®-winning screenwriter, Julian Fellowes.
With the movie taking place from 1927 - 1929 (beginning a year after the TV series had ended), the Great Depression is looming on the horizon, and the abbey, as well as its (once large) servant staff, is quickly diminishing. With the impending arrival of their royal guests, Lady Mary tempts Carson the butler to come out of retirement and return the abbey to its former glory, while she herself questions whether she should leave the estate entirely.
Meanwhile, we can expect a new love interest for Branson, Mrs. Patmore and the kitchen take a stand against the militant royalty, and Dowager Countess will receive a new sparring partner. So, it’s safe to say we can anticipate a lot of high-tension plot evolution!
In addition to a few new faces, we can expect to see nearly every major cast member from the original series. Original cast members, including Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess, Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary, Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith, Hugh Bonneville as the Earl of Grantham, Elizabeth McGovern as the Countess of Grantham, Penelope Wilton as Isobel Crawley, Phyllis Logan as Mrs. Hughes, Brendan Coyle and Joanne Froggatt as John and Anna Bates will all be reprising their roles in the movie with an unexpected return from Jim Carter as butler Charles Carson.
It was announced that actor Lily James stated she would not be coming back to the abbey with her role as Lady Rose MacClare, as did Ed Speleers who played footman James Kent. While these will be the only notable absences in the upcoming movie, Downton Abbey will be introducing newcomers Imelda Staunton, Tuppence Middleton, David Haig, Kate Phillips, and Stephen Campbell Moore to take on new roles, as well as King George V being portrayed by English comedy actor Simon Jones and his wife, Queen Mary, to be played by Geraldine James.
With production for Downton Abbey all wrapped up, the release date has been locked in to hit Regal on September 20th in the United States! “Since the series ended, fans of Downton have long been waiting for the Crawley family’s next chapter,” announced Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski. With the incredible writing of Julian Fellowes and vision of master director Michael Engler, we are thrilled to see this big screen adaptation of a classic series!
Prepare for a royal ride of the century, and get your tickets for Downton Abbey, making its way into Regal September 20th!