It’s been just a little over two years since the Downton Abbey series finale, but there have been rumors of a potential movie since the show wrapped. That final episode gave all of its major characters a happily-ever-after — or at least, the appearances and hopes of such — and revisiting it would undoubtedly uproot that and insert new drama. But as frustrating and uneven as the show can be narratively, its wonderfully serene aesthetic is always a joy to return to.
And return, it seems, we shall, as Focus Features announced today that they are putting a Downton Abbey movie into production with the original cast. The film will be penned by Downton creator Julian Fellowes, who will also produce alongside Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge. Brian Percival, who directed the pilot, will also return to helm.
The series, which aired for 6 seasons, was a juggernaut on PBS in the United States, and it became a cultural touchstone thanks not only to its popularity but also to the pithy sayings of the Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by the inestimable Maggie Smith. The show was showered with awards, from Emmys to BAFTAs to Golden Globes — some more deserved than others — but it was always a joy to watch, even when it was occasionally ridiculous (the less said about Patrick the mystery man in bandages or Matthew’s amazing “I’ve been paralyzed but I can definitely suddenly stand and catch a falling woman” miracle the better).
Neame, Carnival’s Executive Chairman and the film’s producer said in a press release that, “When the television series drew to a close it was our dream to bring the millions of global fans a movie and now, after getting many stars aligned, we are shortly to go into production. Julian’s script charms, thrills and entertains and in Brian Percival’s hands we aim to deliver everything that one would hope for as Downton comes to the big screen.”
“Since the series ended, fans of Downton have long been waiting for the Crawley family’s next chapter,” commented Focus chairman Peter Kujawski. “We’re thrilled to join this incredible group of filmmakers, actors and craftspeople, led by Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame, in bringing back the world of Downton to the big screen.”