This is not a drill: The Downton Abbey movie is happening.
As Dowager Countess Violet once said, "At my age, one must ration one’s excitement." Unfortunately, she may be the only one doing so. Downton Abbey fans across the globe are rejoicing. The long-awaited and hoped-for movie follow-up to the megapopular television series is officially a go.
According to Variety, which broke the news:
The long-awaited “Downton Abbey” movie is happening. The original main cast from the hit series are returning, and shooting starts in September.
That's a fast turn around, and speaks to how much behind the scenes work has been going on in order to make this happen. Other films will announce themselves months, if not years ahead of filming. A good comparison would be Miss Fisher & The Crypt of Tears, which announced back in May that filming would begin in October.
But the reason Downton has been cagey about this announcement, holding it until the last minute, has been the cast. When I asked about plans for the film back in November at the Downton Abbey Exhibition opening, Carnival’s executive chairman Gareth Neame compared getting the ensemble on the same page and schedule to herding cats. But from all accounts, everyone will be back for this film, including Michelle Dockery, Sir Hugh Bonneville, and Dame Maggie Smith.
The movie will be a Carnival Films production, with Focus Features and Universal Pictures doing distribution rights. For this feature-length installment, creator Julian Fellowes has written the screenplay, and original pilot episode director Brian Percival will take the helm directing. Focus chairman Peter Kujawski said in a statement:
Since the series ended, fans of ‘Downton’ have long been waiting for the Crawley family’s next chapter. We’re thrilled to join this incredible group of filmmakers, actors and craftspeople, led by Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame, in bringing back the world of ‘Downton’ to the big screen.
As of now, there is no word of when the film will come to theaters, but if filming is planned to begin as soon as this September, a 2019 release for the latter half of next year is more than feasible.
Neame seems thrilled to have managed to pull this together:
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.
There are no plot details at this time, which is no surprise. If the production managed to keep this news on lockdown without a single hint they were working towards this in the last three months, fans should expect that any and all plot spoilers will stay out of the public eye until the film's producers are good and ready to release them.
We here at Telly Visions are over the moon about the news as well and plan to keep an ear out for filming news as it comes. The Downton Abbey movie is still as yet untitled and does not have an official release date.
Are you excited to head back to Downton again? Let's discuss (read: completely freak out) in the comments!