British historical drama, Downton Abbey will soon be closing its proverbial palatial doors after its upcoming sixth season finishes its run. The gentry-centric show, which began in 2010 airing on ITV in the United Kingdom, found itself an unlikely audience across the pond when the show subsequently began airing in America on PBS. Now, after launching the film careers of several cast members and having addicted audiences around the world in 250 territories, the show’s creative forces have hinted at a chance that there may be a feature-length film in the franchise’s future.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Gareth Neame, the executive producer and managing director of the production company behind Downton Abbey, Carnival Films, fielded some critical questions regarding the further plans for the property centered on the aristocratic Crawley family. When asked about the possibility of a film, Neame reveals that both he and creator, Julian Fellowes could be open to such a concept. He said,
We would be interested. It’s something that Julian and I have been contemplating and would be a wonderful extension. But it would be wrong to say there are any plans. There is nothing firmly in place.
When further pressed to describe possibilities for the still-hypothetical film’s storyline, Neame jokingly explained,
We could put the Dowager in Fast & Furious 8. We'll see, there are all sorts of ideas. I'm not worried, I think we will find an amazing story for a Downton movie, but that is all for the future.
With mainstream attention towards the show continuing to build, one would think that a spinoff television show would be the logical follow-up strategy. However, Neame’s interview answers regarding that subject were not quite as optimistic as the movie news, saying that "no plans" were in place. Yet, it certainly does appear that the story of Downton Abbey will not quite fade away as the ever-approaching final episode of the series’ final season will fade to black. In fact, the Downton phenomena seems to just be gaining the kind of momentum that justifies expansion of the property. In some ways, Downton Abbey would be ending without the property having really experienced its true mainstream coming out party and there was reportedly heavy pressure by PBS put on ITV to keep the show going.
However, as Neame would explain, the show has been on for quite a while and it has essentially been a successful vehicle for its remaining stars and a launching pad for certain alumni cast members like Cinderella star Lily James, future Beauty and the Beast star Dan Stevens, and Jessica Brown Findlay. Yet, it is that very revolving door-like nature which hinders the show’s longevity, since it is essentially about a family and the task of coming up with explanations for more exits would start to get a little wacky. There are only so many deaths, divorces or alien abductions that can feasibly get a family member out of the mansion. (Although I’m relatively sure Downton has yet to try that last one.)
While no plans have been set for the Downton Abbey movie, you can anticipate the arrival of Season 6. No dates have been announced as of yet, though, fall 2015 seems a safe bet.