Making the first Downton Abbey was so much of a roller coaster ride, that fans and actors alike weren’t totally sure it was going to be a hit. And yet when 2019’s cinematic expansion of creator Julian Fellowes hit TV series landed in theaters, not only did it spark a huge hit, it made everyone hungry for more. Which leads to the beautiful news that we’re about to share with you, as Downton Abbey 2 has been announced, with the entire cast returning. So that means Dame Maggie Smith is coming back too, right?
Focus Features has announced that not only is Downton Abbey 2 already in production as of last week, but the film will be hitting theaters on December 22, 2021. You’re reading that right, this Christmas will see a new chapter in the legacy of the ITV/PBS period drama, with the original principal cast slated to return. So it sounds like two things are about to happen: Dame Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess is about to hurl some delicious barbs at whomever crosses her path, and Jim Carter will finally get a rest from all the morning chat shows asking him for sequel updates.
Always the subject of discussion whenever the future of Downton Abbey is discussed, Dame Maggie Smith’s participation is never guaranteed. In fact, a sort of trap door was built into the end of the first film, when the Dowager Countess revealed to her granddaughter Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) that she may not have long to live. But much as the first film wooed Dame Smith back for another adventure, Downton Abbey 2 seems to be including her in the fun yet again.
Of course, with a sequel like Downton Abbey 2, there’s bound to be newcomers that are going to spice things up the second time around. This couldn’t be more true for the Downton sequel, as there’s some new cast members that will be joining in on the fun. Hannibal’s Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock from Guardians of the Galaxy, Nathalie Baye of Catch Me If You Can, and The Crown’s Dominic West are all joining the acting cast of Downton Abbey 2, with roles that are obviously as tightly locked in secrecy as the script.
But also, stepping into the director’s chair for the sequel is Simon Curtis, who most recently directed The Art of Racing in the Rain. With all of the excitement and new participants in play, Downton Abbey 2 continues to be a gift that keeps on giving. Though seeing as the film is coming out at Christmas, there could be more surprises waiting to be unwrapped on the march to this well awaited sequel’s arrival.
Just in case you couldn’t believe it the first time we said it, let’s run it down again. Downton Abbey 2 will request your presence, in theaters, on December 22nd. The principal cast is slated to return, with a bunch of newcomers welcomed into the fray; including Dame Maggie Smith, from the sound of things. And no, this is not hallucination, and it’s not April 1st.