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15 November 2021, 14:45
Downton Abbey 2: A New Era has got a release date and some exciting new cast members.
Downton Abbey fans rejoice, because the sequel to the much-loved film is coming to our screens soon.
The original movie - released in 2019 - followed the Crawley family and their servants as they prepared for a visit from King George V and Queen Mary.
And now, two years later, Highclere Castle will be taking centre stage again for the aptly named Downton Abbey 2: A New Era.
But what do we know about the film sequel and when will it be released?
The film was originally scheduled to be released in December 2021, however, this has now been pushed back due to the pandemic.
Confirming the news, Downton’s official Twitter account shared a message which reads: “A new era begins. The entire Downton cast is back for #DowntonAbbey: A New Era. See the film only in theatres March 18, 2022.”
In April this year, Universal Studios confirmed the original release date along with new cast members.
They tweeted: "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."
Producer Gareth Neame added that he hoped the news would give fans something to look forward to.
He said: "After a very challenging year with so many of us separated from family and friends, it is a huge comfort to think that better times are ahead and that next Christmas we will be reunited with the much beloved characters of Downton Abbey.”
The Crawley family will be back, with actors Hugh Bonneville (Robert Crawley), Michelle Dockery ( Lady Mary Talbot), Imelda Staunton (Lady Maud Bagshaw), and Maggie Smith (Violet Crawley) confirmed for Downton Abbey: A New Era.
Matthew Goode, Laura Carmichael and Elizabeth McGovern are also returning.
There are some newcomers to the franchise, including Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye, and Dominic West.
Their characters have not yet been confirmed, but we can’t wait to find out more.
The film's first full trailer was released on November 15. Watch it below:
The details for the new film are being kept top secret by writer Julian Fellowes.
Fans will remember towards the end of the first film, Violet Crawley told her granddaughter Lady Mary Crawley that she was dying.
She said: “Save your tears for something sad, because there’s nothing sad here.
“I have lived a privileged and an interesting life, and now it’s time to go. I’m leaving the family and the place that I treasure in talented hands.”
But Julian has since said that Maggie’s character is ‘by no means dead’, telling Empire: "We should remember that at the end of the film, Maggie was by no means dead.
"You imagine Violet is on her way out, but that decision hasn't been reached."
In November last year, Michelle Dockery opened up about returning to her role as Lady Mary Crawley for the sequel.
"There's something reassuring about that time without technology and today's fast pace of life,” she told Harpers Bazaar.
“The characters of Downton, although they’re from a different time and have very different circumstances to most people, are relatable. Everyone has their favourite Downton character. I love escaping into period dramas and falling into the past."