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The real reason Lily James didn't appear in the Downton Abbey film revealed

The actress played Lady Rose MacClare

lily rose
Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
6 September 2021
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While the Downton Abbey film, which was released back in 2019, was a huge hit, there was one key member of the cast who didn't reprise her role from the TV show - Lily James.

SEE: Meet the Downton Abbey cast's sweet real-life families

The actress, who has since gone on to find worldwide fame starring in films such as Baby Driver, Mamma Mia 2 and Cinderella, played Lady Rose MacClare in the TV series - so why didn't she return for the film adaptation?

WATCH: Lily's character Rose didn't appear in the 2019 film

Chatting to People, Lily previously opened up about the reasons behind her absence from the movie, and explained: "My character Rose moved off to New York, so it would be farfetched to bring her back.

 READ: Everything we know so far about the Downton Abbey film sequel

MORE: The Downton Abbey children are all grown up! See the photo

"I would have loved to have come back for a scene, but for a movie it can’t be like a Christmas special and it needs to be a focused storyline. There was no space for Rose."

However, there were clearly no hard feelings, as she continued: "I'm so excited for it — I’m going to be front row. I spoke to Laura [Carmichael] not long ago and was texting Michelle [Dockery] about Love Island and it's going to be really exciting. And the whole gang is coming back." 

lily rose 4© Photo: Sky

Hopefully we will see the character in the sequel

Downton Abbey is finally back in production for the long-awaited sequel, and although it's not been confirmed if Lily will reprise her role for the second film, there have been major new cast members. 

The official Twitter account announced the very exciting news in a tweet that read: "We're thrilled to announce that Julian Fellowes and the entire Downton cast are back for #DowntonAbbey2, with Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye and Dominic West joining! See the film in theatres this Christmas."

Hugh Bonneville, who plays Lord Grantham, also shared a snap of himself next to a poster of the film, writing: "Good to be back. #DowntonAbbey2." 

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