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By now, most people have already heard that Downton Abbey will be ending after Season 6. The ending of one period drama leaves showrunner Julian Fellowes open to create another period drama, and NBC already has dibs. The Gilded Age has been in the works for quite some time at NBC, but now we’ve learned that the show might exist in the same universe as Downton Abbey.
Speaking out about The Gilded Age, Julian Fellowes recently revealed that while the NBC project will be set in New York, it may feature some of the characters we’ve come to know and love on Downton Abbey, although they will be much younger during the period the new show is set. Fellowes revealed to The Daily Mail that he is especially excited to explore the idea of a younger Violet Crawley on the series.
Robert Grantham would be in his early teens, Cora would be a child. A young Violet could make an appearance.
To determine how this will work, first you need to know a little bit about NBC’s The Gilded Age. The period drama will be set in the United States in the late 19th century and will follow a slew of American titans, including Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller and John Jacob Astor. So, it’ll be a little bit like The Men Who Built America, but with a lot of added society drama. This is exactly how the Downton Abbey cast members could fit in. Since Cora is American-born, it stands to reason that the Crawleys traveled across the vast ocean to meet some Americans at some point, and why not let it happen in a way that can bring some familiar characters into the brand new drama?
The Gilded Age has been in the works for quite some time. NBC first began developing the drama back in 2012; however, Downton Abbey takes a long time to film each season, and the network project never got on the ground. Julian Fellowes is still a hot name in the industry right now, and reports indicate that once Downton Abbey finishes shooting Season 6, The Gilded Age will move forward. That doesn’t mean it will 100% go to series, of course, but things are looking pretty good, and adding a young Violet Crawley only ups the interest in the potential drama.
If there was any way to bring Maggie Smith back for The Gilded Age, I’d be even more interested. Regardless, we can’t have everything, and Smith seems pretty excited to be quitting the ITV and PBS period drama, anyway.