Harry Hadden-Paton stars as Bertie Pelham, Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith, Tuppence Middleton as Luc...
The New Downton Abbey: A New Era Trailer Takes The Crowleys To France

Pack your bags.

by Ani Bundel
Originally Published: 
Ben Blackall / © 2021 Focus Features, LLC

Break out the good china and let the butler know the British are coming. Fan-favorite period romance drama Downton Abbey is coming back with a brand-new film, a sequel to the hit movie from 2019. It was never really a matter of if, but when a sequel would arrive, but with the confirmation that Downton Abbey 2 will release in theaters in 2022, fans can start readying their outfits for a new era.

The initial Downton Abbey film dominated theaters its opening weekend, surprising industry watchers by being the top-grossing film of September 2019. The movie went on to bring in $237 million worldwide, a superhero-level amount of money. (To be fair, one could argue that Lady Violet Crawley is practically on par with X-Men, what with her ability to take out all comers via barbed witticisms.)

Like the first film, the presumed problem with Downton 2 was how to get the sprawling cast to line up their schedules. However, for once, the coronavirus-related shutdowns in the entertainment world may have worked to aid a project instead of hinder it. The cast and crew began filming the project in mid-April 2021, right when the UK lifted its third round of lockdown restrictions. But though the production initially hoped for a holiday-timed release, things didn’t move that quickly, and now the sequel is scheduled to arrive in late spring.

So, what's going to happen in Downton Abbey 2? Here's everything we know so far:

Downton Abbey: A New Era Trailer

Despite everyone's best efforts to keep the forthcoming film under wraps, Hugh Bonneville spilled a few beans about Downton Abbey 2 in February 2021. Speaking to BBC Radio 2, he hinted filming was just around the corner. In April 2021, Focus Features made that official with an announcement that Downton Abbey 2 was already filming.

In August 2021, the first trailer was released at CinemaCon. Those in the room came away with impressions of “glitz, glamour, and jazz.” On Nov. 12, the trailer finally arrived in theaters, followed by a premiere on YouTube on Monday, Nov. 15. Fans got glimpses of Tom Branson’s next wedding, but the real reveal was that the Earl of Grantham and family (and staff) were relocating to France for the season. As Mr. Carson announced, “The British are coming.”

Well, if the British are coming, someone will just have to do the polite thing and put the kettle on. Tea, anyone?

The second trailer for the film arrived just after Valentine’s Day, as a belated gift for fans. With the movie’s release date from the first trailer bumped from March 2022 to May, the new teaser not only confirmed the new premiere date, but spelled out the plot in far greater detail than before. And it revealed the subplot of why the Crawleys decide to relocate to France for the season: Downton Abbey is being rented out as a location to make a moving picture. (I’m sure Highclere Castle’s current residents, Lord and Lady Carnarvon, can relate.)

Downton Abbey: A New Era First Look Photos

Ben Blackall / © 2022 Focus Features, LLC

Focus Features also released a slew of new photos from the upcoming film, giving fans a look as some of their favorite characters, as well as the new film’s upcoming wedding.

Ben Blackall / © 2022 Focus Features, LLC

Don’t worry, it looks like Tom and Lucy will marry in the same church as both Lady Mary and Edith did.

Ben Blackall / © 2022 Focus Features, LLC

The sheer amount of dubious expression that Isobel and Violet can manage between them is truly impressive.

Ben Blackall / © 2022 Focus Features, LLC

Fans will recall in Season 2, Downton Abbey took advantage of Michelle Dockery’s vocal skills and had her sing for the troops. It looks like the film will return to that plot point, and even maybe have her sing as part of the film within a film.

Ben Blackall / © 2022 Focus Features LLC

Pack your bags, we are heading to France.

Ben Blackall / © 2022 Focus Features, LLC

As always, downstairs looks concerned about the doings of upstairs.

Ben Blackall / © 2022 Focus Features, LLC

But Daisy and Patmore are forever.

Downton Abbey: A New Era Cast

Ben Blackall / © 2021 Focus Features, LLC

According to Focus Features' announcement, "the original principal cast" will return for the new film. That means fans will again get to see the Crawley family, including Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern as Lord and Lady Grantham. Michelle Dockery and Laura Carmichael will return as their daughters Lady Mary and Lady Edith, and Allen Leech as son-in-law Tom Branson. Matthew Goode and Harry Hadden-Paton will return as Mary and Edith's respective husbands. Of course, Penelope Wilton and Maggie Smith continue to be the grand dames of the series as Isobel and Violet.

The downstairs staff once again begins with Jim Carter and Phyllis Logan as Carson and Mrs. Hughes, Brendan Coyle and Joanne Froggatt as Bates and Anne, and Michael Fox and Sophie McShera and Andy and Daisy. Rob James-Collier continues to be the world's meanest butler, Barrow, Kevin Doyle as the hapless footman Molesley, Raquel Cassidy as lady's maid Baxter, and Lesley Nicol as everyone's favorite sharp-tongued cook Mrs. Patmore.

The new film also adds in a few new faces. Hannibal's Hugh Dancy and Guardians of the Galaxy's Laura Haddock are the two biggest names to join the cast. French legend Nathalie Baye (The Return of Martin Guerre), Belgian actor Jonathan Zaccaï, and The Crown's Dominic West will also be featured. Imelda Staunton (The Crown), who joined the Crawley family in the first film as distant cousin Lady Maud, will also reprise her role, as will Tuppence Middleton as her daughter Lucy Smith.

Downton Abbey: A New Era Plot

Ben Blackall / © 2021 Focus Features, LLC

The first movie featured a royal visit from George V and Queen Mary. It was the perfect excuse for bringing the band back together, with details based on actual British history.

The Downton Abbey trailer announces the story will relocate to France, which explains the presence of Nathalie Baye, a French actor on par with Maggie Smith. This suggests that once again the interpersonal drama will feature two high-born ladies duking it out, this time in the south of France.

The second trailer also revealed the subplot that drives the Crawleys to use this villa as an escape location: Downton Abbey is being rented out to make a movie, a brand new option that has developed as a way to pay for its upkeep. (The delightful meta-ness of this cannot be overstated.)

As for how a wedding factors in, it’s wedding bells number two for Branson, now marrying Lucy Smith. It’s good to know that the one-time chauffeur is settling in nicely to the high born lifestyle of keeping everything just a little uncomfortably close in the family.

Downton Abbey: A New Era Release Date

Focus Features

Initially, Downton Abbey 2 was promised to arrive at “Christmas 2021,” but by summer, that release spot was retracted. In August 2021, details for the new film, including the title, were announced at CinemaCon, along with a new release date, March 18, 2022.

However, Focus Features yet again bumped its releases down the calendar, including Downton, re-scheduling it for the end of spring. Downton Abbey: A New Era will arrive in theaters on Friday, May 20, 2022.

All six season of the original Downton Abbey series are streaming on Netflix. The Downton Abbey movie is available as a streaming rental on Amazon Prime.

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