'Downton Abbey 3' Officially Announced

Highclere Castle Outline against a sunset in the poster for Downton Abbey 2

'Downton Abbey: A New Era' Poster

Focus Features

It was mid-March 2024 when Imelda Staunton broke the embargo on the third Downton Abbey film, confirming a third (and she claimed "final") movie was in the works. Staunton was not in the original show's cast, but her long-time husband, Jim Carter, starred as the butler, Mr. Carson, for six seasons. Upon the show moving to the big screen, Staunton was added to the cast as a long-lost cousin and foil to everyone's favorite bon mot machine, the Dowager Duchess Lady Violet (Maggie Smith). She was in a position to know, is what I'm saying.

It took two more months before Carnival Films and NBCUniversal, who produce the movies and own the rights to the franchise, said anything about Staunton's announcement. But on May 13, 2024, Focus Features, the movie outfit under the NBCU Universal Pictures banner responsible for the films, and Carnival Pictures broke their silence with a joint announcement that, indeed, a third Downton Abbey film was underway. However, it should be noted that though this is the third film, no one calls it the final one, at least not until the box office returns agree with that assessment. 

Currently, the film is under the working title of Downton Abbey 3, but that is not expected to be the final title at this point. Along with the announcement, Focus Features also released a video of the cast as they got together for the first time since Downton Abbey: A New Era was released in 2022 for the first table read of the new script, and a quick message from Michelle Dockery to fans.

At this point, this video is all we have to go on, as there is no official synopsis for the film, or a proper title other than Downton Abbey 3. (Considering that the last one was Downton Abbey 2 until they revealed the real one, Downton Abbey: A New Era, it's probably safe to assume the same here.) However, we do have an official cast list.

  • Returning upstairs: Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Allen Leech, Penelope Wilton, Harry Hadden-Paton, Douglas Reith, and Dominic West.
  • Returning downstairs: Jim Carter, Raquel Cassidy, Brendan Coyle, Kevin Doyle, Joanne Froggatt, Michael Fox, Robert James-Collier, Phyllis Logan, Sophie McShera, and Lesley Nicols
  • Not currently listed: Maggie Smith (No ghostly visitations), Matthew Goode (Sorry to Lady Mary's dude, but let's face it, West's silent film actor is a pretty hot replacement), Tuppence Middleton (Sorry to Daisy's stepmom), and Imelda Staunton (and that's what happens when you break embargoes about Downton Abbey)*.

*(I'm joking. Chances are Staunton knew she wasn't in it, hence why she had no issue with breaking the embargo.)

New additions to the film world of Downton include Paul Giamatti, who reprises his role as Cora Grantham’s brother Harold Levinson for the first time on the big screen. Other new faces to the film revealed so far include Joely Richardson (Renegade Nell), Simon Russell Beale (Mary & George), British-American actor Arty Froushan (House of the Dragon) and American actor Alessandro Nivola (Black Narcissus).

Julian Fellowes wrote the screenplay, with director Simon Curtis once again back to helm the feature film.

Downton Abbey 3 does not yet have an official release date.


Ani Bundel has been blogging professionally since 2010. A DC native, Hufflepuff, and Keyboard Khaleesi, she spends all her non-writing time taking pictures of her cats. Regular bylines also found on MSNBC, Paste, Primetimer, and others. 

A Woman's Place Is In Your Face. Cat Approved. Find her on BlueSky and other social media of your choice: @anibundel.bsky.social

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