The Crawley family has endured many tribulations throughout their acclaimed time on PBS, including (but not limited to) the First World War, the Spanish influenza pandemic, the Irish War of Independence, and the decline of the British aristocracy. Now, like many film productions have since 2020, they're working their way through the long-suffering difficulties of COVID-19 with the anticipated release of Downton Abbey 2, the awaited sequel to the immensely successful 2019 film continuation. It hasn't been easy for any production, stateside or otherwise, during this troublesome time, but Julian Fellowes and his team have found a way to film their much-anticipated sequel, which is scheduled for next year. We're learning more details about this film in the months ahead, but here's what we know about Downton Abbey 2, which is officially titled Downton Abbey: A New Era.

Dowton Abbey Teaser Trailer (2019)

Downton Abbey: A New Era's Release Date Is Set For March 18, 2022

Previously scheduled to arrive on December 22nd, 2021, Downton Abbey 2 will forgo its Christmas-friendly release in lieu of its new release date: March 18, 2022, as Variety reported. The reason for the shift wasn't specified, but it's possible that the studio wanted to push the sequel into the warmer months in order to avoid being snow-piled under a number of movies slated to be released in December, especially with this year's sure-to-be-busy awards season. Additionally, this spring date will be more fitting to Downton Abbey's fall release date, which might encourage more crowds to dodge the sun in order to catch up with these sharply-dressed and buttoned-down characters.

Downton Abbey Poster

The Returning Cast Includes Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Imelda Staunton, And Maggie Smith

The aristocratic Crawley family are soon set to be reunited under their thunderously towering Yorkshire country estate. More specifically, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Imelda Staunton, and Maggie Smith are confirmed to return for Downton Abbey: A New Era. Certainly, as the patriarchal Robert Crawley, it was a given that Bonneville would once again lead these proceedings. Additionally, Dockery's Lady Mary Talbot, Staunton's Lady Maud Bagshaw, and especially Smith's Violet Crawley are all vital to the show's ever-enduring success, and it's quite comforting to know that they're back for another round.

Hugh Dancy - Hannibal

The Downton Abbey Newcomers Include Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye, And Dominic West

Along with our main players reuniting for this second film, Downton Abbey 2 will also feature a number of newcomers — to the elongating Downton Abbey narrative, that is. Specifically, Hugh Dancy (Hannibal), Laura Haddock (Guardians of the Galaxy), Nathalie Baye (Catch Me If You Can), and Dominic West (The Affair) are signed on for this much-anticipated sequel. Their characters remain unconfirmed, but these well-experienced thespians should have no trouble fitting into these ultra-posh, well-mannered festivities.

Downton Abbey (2019)

Show Creator Julian Fellowes Will Once Again Write The Script

As the writer (or, at least, co-writer) behind every episode of the series, as well as the 2019 movie, it wouldn't be a Downton Abbey movie if acclaimed writer Julian Fellowes wasn't behind the pen. Sure enough, the award-winner is once again the scribe behind this new Downton Abbey production, which is only fitting, proper, and true. His influence is key to the show's endearing success, and hopefully, this follow-up isn't an exception.

Michelle Williams - My Week with Marilyn

Downton Abbey: A New Era Will Be Directed By My Week With Marilyn’s Simon Curtis

While Downton Abbey veteran Michael Engler took on the reins of 2019's feature film, Downton Abbey 2 was ultimately outsourced to another director — one who is new to this series, admittedly, but touts over two decades of filmmaking experience. That moviemaker would be Simon Curtis, best known for helming My Week with Marilyn, Goodbye Christopher Robin, and, most recently, The Art of Racing in the Rain. While he hasn't been acquainted with these characters, at least in his work, Curtis' filmmaking experience promises a handsomely made and more cinematic sequel, which should bode well for how it'll continue to transfer this expansive story onto the silver screen. We don't have long to wait to see how he fares in the director's chair this time around.

Downton Abbey (2019)

Producer Gareth Neame Believes The Sequel Promises ‘Better Times Ahead’ After A Difficult Year

2020 was a burdensome time for everyone. Nobody walked away unscathed. We've faced a great bit of despair over this turbulent time, but producer Gareth Neame is optimistic. With the release of Downton Abbey 2, he believes that better times are ahead. Following a year where families were separated, friends were distanced, and outlooks were bleak, Neame claims there's a communal vibe to this in-the-works sequel that'll celebrate the better times ahead, especially after the troubles we've collectively faced. Hopefully, his words prove to be true when this new movie premieres next year.

Here's what Gareth Neame said:

After a very challenging year with so many of us separated from family and friends, it is a huge comfort to think that better times are ahead and that next Christmas we will be re-united with the much beloved characters of Downton Abbey.

Dancing in Downton Abbey (2019)

Downton Abbey 2 Finished Filming in July 2021

As noted before, it's been a troublesome year. Though it was a given to the filmmakers behind Downton Abbey (2019) that a sequel would be made, they were faced with the burden of figuring out when exactly they could roll cameras. The ideas were locked in place, and it didn't take long for a script to be finalized. But when the project was in the midst of coming together, the COVID-19 pandemic shifted everyone's plans. Suddenly, a wave of uncertainty fell over this new movie, but Hugh Bonneville told BBC Radio 2 that Downton Abbey: A New Era would come together once the cast and crew were vaccinated. Sure enough, production went underway starting in mid-April, and it was only this past July, via Elizabeth McGovern's Instagram, that it was confirmed that filming was finished.

Whether you still haven't seen the first Downton Abbey movie, or you're looking to revisit it before the new one comes out, you can stream Downton Abbey (2019) on HBO Max. Follow CinemaBlend for 2022 movie updates and more.

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