Downton Abbey 2 Is Allegedly Killing Off An 'Iconic' Character, And I'm Afraid I Know Who It Is

The Crawley family lined up outside the residence in Downton Abbey: The Motion Picture.

Just when you thought it was safe to let your heart run free with the warmth that Downton Abbey: The Motion Picture provided in its closing moments, it appears the sequel is back to the series’ old heartbreaking tricks. With Julian Fellowes' hit ITV series in production on its second theatrical outing, Downton Abbey: A New Era is poised to live up to its name, as it’s allegedly killing off an “iconic” character. Unfortunately, that’s all I need to hear to have a good idea on who’s going to be leaving the Crawley family.

Obviously, there’s no specific character specified in this report from The Sun. But the publication has spoken with a source supposedly close to Downton Abbey: A New Era’s ongoing production, and the way this upcoming death is being spoken about signals that we’re probably going to see Dame Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess passing on. Here’s what this unnamed source had to say:

Those who have seen the scenes said they are so emotional. ... They really will leave fans in floods. It’s heartbreak at Highclere Castle and there won’t be a dry eye in cinemas.

It should be known that there’s still some wiggle room as to who may find themselves dying in Downton Abbey: A New Era. As superfans of the show can tell you, death has taken its fair share of younger cast members throughout the show’s run. Some of the most devastating losses came in the first three seasons, with beloved figures cut down in their prime. But I have some very good reasons why I think Violet Crawley and Maggie Smith might be leaving Downton Abbey for good in the near future.

Dame Maggie Smith sits on a bench in Downton Abbey: The Motion Picture.

Reality wise, Dame Maggie has always been iffy with the prospect of coming back to Downton Abbey for film projects. As she’s gone on the record as stating her work in the franchise wasn’t “satisfying,” it’s always a question on whether Dame Maggie Smith would want to be a part of what’s to come. While the brass behind Downton Abbey: A New Era were successful yet again in bringing her back to the movies, there’s already some plot from the first film that indicates the Dowager Countess won’t be around much longer.

Towards the end of Downton Abbey: The Motion Picture, there’s a moment that will probably go down as one of the most poignant in the history of the Crawley family. That choice of words is carefully chosen, as “poignant” is exactly how this unnamed source described creator/writer Julian Fellowes work. With Violet telling her granddaughter Mary (Michelle Dockery) that she was recently diagnosed with a fatal illness, she proclaims that the young woman is “the future of Downton.” You may as well get those tears out of the way and watch that moment in the clip below:

Again, there’s a whole bunch of characters who could die in Downton Abbey: A New Era and still fit the bill of a “poignant” death. When you're telling a story with a cast of characters/actors this well known, any loss is going to be particularly felt. But as of this moment, the odds, and the story so far, seem to be pointing towards the Dowager Countess saying her final goodbyes. That’s ok, it’s not like there’s going to be a lot of time to agonize over this possibility or anything.

Downton Abbey: A New Era was originally going to be released this Christmas, but shifted to the springier date of March 18, 2022. One can assume this potential heartbreaker is one of the several reasons why, as who wants to endure this much heartbreak during the holiday season? You can check out what potential solace the competition may bring to the table simply by checking out the 2022 release schedule.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.