Although we love watching reruns of Downton Abbey, we can't help but hope for more drama and scandal at Highclere Castle. After 2019's hugely successful film adaption of Julian Fellowes' drama, fans have been begging for a sequel, and there have been hints and speculation about a follow-up ever since. So, will they or won't they? Here's what we know…
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Will there be a Downton Abbey sequel?
By the sound of it, yes! Shortly after the film's release, producer Gareth Neame confirmed that a sequel is in the pipeline. But, as with anything, not to mention the delay in production across the film and television industry due to the coronavirus outbreak, the when is the crucial point.
The producer told the Hollywood Reporter: "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. The challenge will be, is everyone available at the same time? Can we make deals with them? That will be the challenge."
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Fans are desperate for a second Downton movie
More recently, Jim Carter, who plays the butler Carson in the Downton franchise, revealed that actors had seen a script, and even teased when actors and crew would be reuniting to film scenes for the sequel.
Talking to self-confessed fans of the period drama Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on This Morning, the actor revealed that filming is due to start this summer at the iconic Highclere Castle in Berkshire.
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"We're hopeful that we'll start filming soon," he said. "I'd love to tell you when [exactly] we'll start filming but with the virus and travel restrictions and work restrictions, we haven't got a 100% green light yet."
"The script for a second film is there, we've seen it, it's very funny, it's got all the same characters in it, all the regular characters. I think the will is that, covid willing, we'll film it next year."
Who will star in the Downton Abbey sequel?
According to Jim, all the familiar and much-loved faces that make Downton so special are likely to all return to reprise their roles. Stars such as Jim, Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, and Joanne Froggatt would no doubt be written into the new script, and many of the stars themselves have opened up about the prospect of a sequel.
All the familiar faces would likely reprise their roles
Hugh Bonneville, who plays Lord Grantham, joked in an interview with Vanity Fair that the franchise could be like Star Wars: "How many movies were there of Star Wars? This could run and run."
Meanwhile, Laura Carmichael, who played Lady Edith Crawley, told Holly and Phillip during her appearance on This Morning in 2020: "We had such an amazing reaction. We loved doing it, you know for us it felt like a big reunion but it went down really well, better than anyone had expected."
What will the Downton Abbey sequel be about?
Much like the series, the film followed the lives of the wealthy Crawley family and their maids, butlers and cooks and the sequel will no doubt feature many of the same themes. In the first film, however, the family are thrown into disarray by the impending arrival of King George V and Queen Mary.
But there was one aspect that many will no doubt be questioning ahead of the second film: the fate of Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, played by Dame Maggie Smith.
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The future of Violet Crawley could be confirmed in the sequel
At the end of the first film (spoiler alert) Violet's death was alluded to in an intimate scene between herself and granddaughter Lady Mary (played by Michelle Dockery) after she reveals she's suffering from an illness likely to take her life.
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However, in a recent interview, Julian Fellowes insisted that Violet is, in fact, still alive – meaning she could have a central role in the sequel. "We should remember that at the end of the film, Maggie was by no means dead," he said. "You imagine Violet is on her way out, but that decision hasn't been reached."
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