Ever since Downton Abbey finished its six-season run in 2016, talk of a follow-up movie has persisted. A few months back, the Downton Abbey movie was officially announced, ensuring that this wouldn't be a Deadwood situation where fans have to wait a decade-plus. Things got moving rather quickly too and the film started shooting just a few weeks ago in London. Now fans of the acclaimed series can mark their calendars because the official release date for the film has been announced. The Crawley family returns, this time on the big screen, on Friday, September 20, 2019.

Focus Features will release the film for domestic audiences on September 20 of next year, but international audiences get to return to Downton Abbey just a bit sooner, as Universal Pictures International will release the film a week earlier on September 13, 2019. So fans of the popular and acclaimed series only have a year to wait to see how the story continues after creator Julian Fellowes delivered a happy ending with the series finale.

Remarkably, given the massive size of the cast and the post-Downton Abbey success some of them have went on to, the show's original principal cast will be returning for the movie. This includes, among others, Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery and even the Dowager Countess herself, Maggie Smith, whose previous comments made it seem like she had no interest whatsoever in a Downton Abbey movie. Not returning is actress Lily James, who has went on to leading lady status in recent years and this summer starred in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. According to Lily James though, her absence makes sense story-wise. Although she will be missed, there are also a bunch of new additions to the cast, including the talented Imelda Staunton.

We don't have any plot details as of yet, but we do know that series creator Julian Fellowes wrote the movie's script, so whatever it is, it should be true to the vision of Downton Abbey. Michael Engler, who helmed several episodes of the series, including the series finale, will handle directing duties on the Downton Abbey film.

For those who didn't watch the series, Downton Abbey followed the lives of the Crawley family and their domestic servants on a country estate in England in the early 1900s. The period drama was set against the backdrop of several historic events like the First World War, the Spanish influenza pandemic and the Irish War of Independence, and it showed the changing nature of the British aristocracy in the early 20th century.

The Downton Abbey movie isn't the only eagerly anticipated movie hitting theaters next year. 2019 is full of reasons to head to the theater. You can check all of them out in our 2019 release schedule.

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