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Downton Abbey fans thrilled as filming for much-anticipated sequel kicks off

We can't wait to catch up with the Crawleys!

Eve Crosbie

Good news, Downton Abbey fans! Filming for the period drama's much-anticipated second film is officially underway.

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The official Downton Abbey Instagram account confirmed the news with a photo taken from behind the scenes of the sequel simply captioned: "It's so good to be back. #DowntonAbbey2" 

Fans quickly flocked to the post to express their excitement. "I'm rewatching the series to prepare for the movie! Can't wait!!!" one said, while another added: "Can it just be Christmas already!?" Other fans simply flooded the comments section with heart and clapping hand emojis.

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WATCH: Are you excited for the Downton Abbey sequel? 

Although the clapperboard in the photo obscured the faces of those in front of the camera, one eagle-eyed fan was able to work out who was in the scene just based on their outfits alone. "Molesley, Anna, Mrs. Hughes, and Thomas!" they wrote in the comments.

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The movie is set to be released on 22 December this year and audiences can expect to see a few new faces among the cast. Joining the likes of original stars Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Joanna Froggatt and Maggie Smith are Dominic West, Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock and Nathalie Baye.

MORE: Dan Stevens reveals the real reason he left Downton Abbey

Hugh Dancy is perhaps best known for his role as Will Graham in the hit series Hannibal and was last seen in the legal drama The Good Fight. Meanwhile, French actress Nathalie has appeared in Catch Me If You Can and Call My Agent!, while Laura Haddock is known for her roles in White Lines and Guardians of the Galaxy. 

While details about their respective roles remain under wraps, we know that The Affair and Pursuit of Love star Dominic West is set to play a wealthy aristocrat who is invited to stay at the eponymous stately home by Lord Grantham.

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