Downton Abbey movie: Cast, release date, plot and everything you need to know

Downton Abbey movie: Cast, release date, plot and everything you need to know

December 3, 2018

After what felt like endless rumours, the Downton Abbey movie was officially confirmed on July 13 and is coming out in 2019.

Last year, it was confirmed that there was a big screen spin-off “in the works”, but it felt like it would never happen – especially as one of the issues was getting all the cast back together almost three years after the finale aired.

“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,” enthused producer Gareth Neame.

The movie has been written by creator Julian Fellowes and was originally going to be directed by Brian Percival, who directed the show’s original pilot, before he stepped aside. He will now executive produce the movie and Michael Engler – who directed four episodes of the show and the pilot for Fellowes’ new show The Gilded Age – will now direct the movie.

So what else do we know about the Downton Abbey movie? We’re glad you asked.

Downton Abbey movie cast: Who’s coming back?

All of the original cast will be returning for the big-screen outing, including Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley, Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith Crawley, Joanne Froggatt as Anna Bates, Hugh Bonneville as Robert Crawley and Elizabeth McGovern as Cora Crawley.

Perhaps more surprising is that Maggie Smith is set to return as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, given that she’s previously said a movie could be “squeezing it dry”” – although maybe her theory will come true.

“I was firmly convinced it would start with the funeral [of Violet]. 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,” she said in April 2017.

Matthew Goode will also be popping up as Henry Talbot, but don’t expect to see too much of him sadly. “I’m just popping in at the end, which is a nice way to do it,” he explained, later adding: “It’s a brilliant story, the cast has gotten bigger, there’s great new faces.”

The movie will be missing one major name though as Lily James has confirmed she won’t be back as Lady Rose MacClare, and it’s not because of her schedule. “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 schedules”.

©  Carnival/itv

“My character Rose moved off to New York, so it would be farfetched to bring her back,” she explained. “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.”

One former Downton star who is angling for a return is Robert Bathurst, who played Sir Anthony Strallan. “I disappeared from ‘Downton Land’ in series three. Off he went. He left Edith at the altar never to be seen again. The rat should come back!” he joked.

©  ITV

Imelda Staunton, Geraldine James, Simon Jones, David Haig, Tuppence Middleton, Kate Philips and Stephen Campbell Moore have all joined the cast of the movie, but their characters are not yet known.

The Royals star Max Brown will also star in the movie in an undisclosed role (via Deadline).

But there won’t be returns for Ed Speleers as Jimmy Kent or Dan Stevens as Matthew Crawley because he’s, you know, dead.

Downton Abbey movie release date: When can we expect it?

With filming now underway, we have now got a confirmed release date of September 13, 2019 in the UK, with a US release a week later on September 20, 2019.

The later release could be an indication that the producers are confident enough in the movie to position it for awards, given it will come out just as awards season starts to kick in.

Filming has now wrapped on the movie after starting in September, so it seems that everything is on track for that release date.

Downton Abbey movie plot: What will it be about?

After ruining Christmas in 2012 with the death of Matthew Crawley, the final episode of Downton Abbey was actually pretty happy, despite also airing on Christmas Day in 2015.

The final-ever episode saw Edith get married to Bertie, Mary reveal that she was pregnant with her second child (while Anna gave birth to her first), Henry and Tom go into business together selling cars and Carson resigning as butler because of his illness.

No official plot details have been released yet for the movie, but returning star Allen Leech has confirmed that the movie “picks up not too long after the series ended”. “So, time-wise, I think we’re eight or nine months after,” he explained. “The only problem is all the actors are now three years older – it was a pretty heavy eight months!”

Jim Carter did tease to Digital Spy that the movie features a scene that includes the entire cast, so take that Avengers: Infinity War.

“It’s rare that you get a scene with everybody in it, because usually there’s upstairs and there’s downstairs,” he explained. “But I think we’ve got some scenes with everybody. So that’ll be nice.”

Downton Abbey movie trailer: When will it land?

Now that filming has wrapped, we could technically get a teaser before the end of the year, but that might be wishful thinking on our part.

For now, we’ll have to make do with this behind-the-scenes video.

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