For a moment, it looked like the upcoming sequel Downton Abbey: A New Era was going to confirm our worst suspicions. With Dame Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess of Grantham speculated to be not long for the world of this hotly anticipated sequel, her absence in last week’s tease was something that definitely stood out. However, with the trailer going international, and the Dowager Countess revealing her ‘mysterious past’ to her family, it looks like we can hold off on the tears for now.
This new family secret, released by Focus Features this morning, is apparently tied to Violet Crawley’s younger days, before her son Robert (Hugh Bonneville) was born. A romance long past has now yielded “a villa in the south of France,” and the Crawley family is now ready for a whirlwind trip to claim it. Which probably means someone else is out there, potentially a new character like the mysterious Myrna Dagleish (Laura Haddock) waiting to contest said claim in the name of their honor.
A big change of scenery looks to be in the cards as well, as Violet Crawley’s recent fortunes will see the film’s action moving outside the Downton estate’s grounds. Appropriately lavish parties, sharp looking speedboats, and composer John Lunn’s gorgeous opening theme all build an effective trailer that promises the trip of a lifetime. It wouldn’t be an adventure in the lives of the Crawley family without some sadness mixed in with all of the spectacle.
I have to admit, as a fan of the series and that first movie, Downton Abbey: A New Era played its cards exceedingly well with this first teaser. Ever since that set report leaked that the death scene for “an iconic character” had apparently been filmed, Dame Maggie Smith’s Violet seemed to find herself at the top of that list. Those of you who remember the teaser from last week will definitely recall that it seemed more focused on Allen Leech and Tuppence Middleton’s wedding as Tom and Lucy; with no Dowager Countess to be seen.
It’s amazing how quickly the world went from having no Downton Abbey movies to one successfully banked, and another on the way. Comparatively, the road to Downton Abbey: A New Era feels like a lightning fast journey that’s torn down the driveway to the doors of ITV’s famous estate, just as the producers had promised. With some fresh Dame Maggie Smith comedy now out and about in the world of Julian Fellowes’ hit franchise, it looks like the excitement is only just beginning.
Fans old and new will be welcomed back into theaters for Downton Abbey: A New Era on March 18, 2022, amid a field of competition that looks quite stiff. That means there’s still plenty of time to re-watch the entire run of Downton Abbey, as well as the previous film, in preparation. Though you could also check out the 2021 release schedule, and see what movies are still waiting to head to theaters throughout the rest of the year.
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