'Downton Abbey' Movie Plot Revealed

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There have been photos and posters, but no real trailer as of yet for the Downton Abbey movie. (Just the briefest of teasers that only really showed us the house.) That will change soon, as a cut of the planned two-minute trailer was shown last week at CinemaCon, as part of Focus Features' panel on the upcoming film. The movie-centric event, attended by film fans, press, and investors, features presentations from most of the major production houses, including Disney, Sony, and Warner Brothers. Focus Features is a smaller more indie company, and their presentation came as part of the larger Universal Pictures set. However, their Downton trailer made a huge splash among those attending, with The Hollywood Reporter calling the crowd's reaction "a rousing response."

Though it will be a while yet before the trailer is available to the public, descriptions of it have circulated on the internet, and the main points to know are as follows:

  • The Crawley family has undergone even more belt-tightening since fans last saw them. According to several outlets, Robert Crawley declares "No maid, no nanny, no valet. It’s 1927, and we are modern folk."
  • Said modernity goes right out the window when the family learns King George V will be passing through and expects to stay in the Downton household as a guest.
  • The royal visit not only draws the family together to bask in the celebrity of the higher ranking among the aristocracy, but is also the excuse to get the Downstairs band back together, including Carson.
  • There is still some doubt on whether the family will stay in Downton Abbey, as the interwar period continues to eat away at the Briitsh peerage system.

From all accounts, George V is not seen in the trailer, though, as fans will undoubtedly remember, this will not be the first time he's made an appearance on the show. The 2013 Christmas special, which functioned in America as the Season 4 finale, was "The London Season," where the Crawley family relocated to London for the summer. This episode featured Lady Rose's debutante season and her presentation at court.

The tradition, which went on until 1958, was the beginning of the "social season," a series of events which were used by British high society to keep marriage within their own social classes. In that episode, the king was played by Guy Williams, and Valerie Dane was Queen Mary, his consort. Oliver Dimsdale played Edward, Prince of Wales, the man who would later abdicate the throne, and Janet Montgomery was his current mistress of the time, Freda Dudley Ward. Jonathan Townsend played Albert, Duke of York, father of the current Queen Elizabeth II, the man who would go on to be George VI when his brother abdicated.

Notably, none of those faces from 2013 are listed as part of the cast for the upcoming movie. The returning cast focuses exclusively on the Downton household, with all the fan favorites in attendance, including Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Laura Carmichael, Michelle DockeryMatthew Goode, Harry Hadden-Paton, Allen Leech, Penelope Wilton and Maggie Smith from upstairs, while downstairs will feature Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Kevin Doyle, Joanne Froggatt,  Douglas Reith, Robert James-Collier, Phyllis Logan, Sophie McShera, and Lesley Nicol

The new cast, who fans can assume will be taking over some of these royal roles in the film, include Simon Jones, David Haig, Stephen Campbell Moore, Geraldine James, Imelda Staunton, Tuppence Middleton, and Kate Phillips. Feel free to speculate as to who is playing who.

The Downton Abbey movie arrives in theaters on Sept. 20, 2019.


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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