Photography by PBS

We’re Being Blessed With a Downton Abbey and Royal Family Crossover Film

Here's everything we know about the upcoming Downton Abbey movie.

Downton Abbey cast members have been popping up on big screens everywhere for the past few years. Lady Rose (Lily James) and Daisy Mason (Sophie McShera) fought over a glass slipper in Cinderella, Mrs. Crawley (Penelope Wilton) pretended to be Queen E in The BFG, and Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) was resurrected as a prince-turned-monster in Beauty and the Beast. As delightful as it’s been to watch our favourite Downton Abbey characters retire to fairytale narratives, it’s even more satisfying to see when back where they belong: upstairs (or downstairs) at their Yorkshire country estate.

Since the final episode of the hit PBS and ITV period drama wrapped up in 2015, fans have been speculating of a follow-up film. NBCUniversal International Studios president Michael Edelstein put the rumours to rest when he  confirmed production of a Crawley family flick at “Downton Abbey: The Exhibition” in Singapore, revealing that “it’s been in the works for some time.” That was in June 2017, and it’s now April 2019. A lot has happened: we have a release date, a cast list, production images and now, a full-length trailer revealing plot details. Here’s everything you need to know:

The Release Date

Downton Abbey movie will premiere on Friday, September 20, 2019. An early fall release date could indicate the film will premiere at either the Venice Film Festival or Toronto International Film Festival, and that its producers are interested in positioning it for awards season. If Marvel can make it to the Oscars, perhaps the Crawleys can too.

The Returning Cast

Most of the original Downton Abbey cast members are attached to the movie, including Michelle Dockery, Joanne Froggatt, Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Lesley Nicol, and Laura Carmichael.

Maggie Smith will also be reprising her role as the Dowager Countess of Grantham, despite previously saying a movie could be squeezing the series’ success dry. “I was firmly convinced it would start with the funeral [of the Countess],” the 84-year-old actress said at the BFI & Radio Times Television Festival in April 2017, “I thought it would be a bit like that. I could croak it. It would just start with the body. But I don’t know.”

Lily James is the one big name that will be missing from the movie. The Mama Mia: Here We Go Again actress confirmed she won’t be back as Lady Rose MacClare: “I’m sadly not, but I’m so excited for it — I’m going to be front row,” she explained, adding that the reason wasn’t her busy schedules. “My character Rose moved off to New York, so it would be farfetched to bring her back.”

The New Cast

Imelda Staunton, who fans will recognize as Professor Umbridge from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, will appear in the film alongside actors Geraldine James, David Haig, Tuppence Middleton, Simon Jones, Kate Phillips and Stephen Campbell Moore.

The Photos

Entertainment Weekly shared the first images from the film, teasing a series of production stills that look like they could’ve been captured on the set of any Downton Abbey season. Which, to be entirely honest, is exactly what Downton Abbey fans want: more grand balls, delicate costumes, vast castle lawn shots and moody Maggie Smith.

The Plot

According to information leaked from the below CinemaCon trailer, we now know the film will center on the King and Queen of England making a visit Downton. Other than that, no official plot details have been released—aside from the fact that the movie will pick up shortly after the series ended. “Time-wise, I think we’re eight or nine months after,” returning star Allen Leech told Sunday Brunch in October 2018. “The only problem is all the actors are now three years older – it was a pretty heavy eight months!”

The Trailer

The first full-length trailer debuted during Universal Pictures’ Wednesday morning session at CinemaCon. When introducing the trailer, Focus Features’ chairman Peter Kujawski promised new visitors “who have a way of reigniting old dramas, stirring new passions and sparking old loves.”

The trailer hasn’t yet been shared online, but the CinemaCon audience members have generously shared their first impressions on Twitter:

In the meantime, enjoy this extremely short and vague teaser trailer.

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