Downton Abbey: A New Era

Ahead of Downton Abbey: A New Era’s release, a glitzy new behind-the-scenes series has just dropped

Posted by and for Film

Downton Abbey fans, the new sequel movie is on its way with a stellar cast and a special behind-the-scenes series has just landed online.

Whether you loved it, loathed it, or managed to pass through the 2010s without ever watching an episode of it, there’s no denying that Downton Abbey – aka Julian Fellowes’ lavish star-studded ITV series about the aristocratic Crawley family and their household staff – has always been something of a Very Big Deal.

So it’s understandable, then, that so many fans of the period drama have lost their minds over the fact that a second Downton Abbey film (aptly titled Downton Abbey: A New Era) will be hitting cinemas at the end of this month on 29 April. 

Well, to tide us all over till then (we know it’s just a matter of days but still), Universal Pictures has treated us to a special four-part online series: Downton Abbey: A New Era – Behind The Lens

It’s providing fans of the show with a much-needed behind-the-scenes look at the glitzy new film and while the episodes are just a few minutes long, we’re still relishing any chance to dive deep into the world of A New Era. You can watch the new show here and on the Universal site:

And we also have a first look at the anticipated film. Much has been kept under wraps about the movie but this treat of a trailer lifts the lid on what to expect.

Lady Violet (Maggie Smith) informs Robert (Hugh Bonneville) and Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) that “I’ve come into possession of a villa in the south of France.”

Downton Abbey: A New Era
The film poster for Downton Abbey: A New Era has just been released also and has gotten us very, very excited.

But Violet’s enigmatic French friend and his villa are just one of the highlights of the trailer because, actually, Downton is the focus of a glitzy new Hollywood movie. As the glamorous actors arrive – Dominic West’s character quickly sends Anna Bates (Joanne Froggatt) into a starstruck frenzy – the grandeur of Downton is simultaneously transformed into the backdrop a new film with Lady Mary at its helm.

It’s catapulting Downton into the modern age but as the Crawley family take to the French Riviera for some respite, there seems to be family secrets, mystery and a hell of a lot of “plot twists along the way”, as Lady Mary states in the trailer. 

What could be lurking within Violet’s past? It’s a question we didn’t quite expect would be the focus of the new film but one we can’t wait to get to the bottom of after watching the trailer, that’s for certain.

Experience the New Era of Downton Abbey for yourself and watch the trailer here:

While we all thought we only had a couple of months left until we get to see the sequel hit the big screen, the anticipated film will be coming a little later than planned.

Having first been set to release last Christmas, the release date moved to March of this year and now, has been pushed further back to 29 April in the UK.

In the meantime, though, we do have a proper look at the new film with four first-look images and another teaser trailer. Here’s what you need to know about the Downton Abbey movie sequel.

Downton Abbey Movie First Look Images
Laura Haddock stars as Myrna Dalgleish and Michael Fox as Andy in Downton Abbey: A New Era.

What’s the plot of Downton Abbey: A New Era?

Fellowes may have written the scripts, but that doesn’t mean he’s given us any inkling as to what the Downton Abbey sequel will actually be about.

However, it’s worth noting that (spoilers) the first film saw Dame Maggie Smith’s Violet Crawley inform her granddaughter, Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery), that she was dying.

“I’m leaving the family and the place that I treasure in talented hands,” she said.

Downton Abbey First Look Images
Sophie McShera stars as Daisy and Lesley Nicol stars as Mrs. Patmore in Downton Abbey: A New Era.

Fellowes has hinted that this could make up the plot of the second film, telling Empire: “We should remember that at the end of the film, Maggie was by no means dead.

“You imagine Violet is on her way out, but that decision hasn’t been reached.”

From the new trailer, though, it seems as though the sequel will focus on the Downton estate being overrun by actors and crew members who are filming a new movie but causing a lot of upset (and passive aggressive anger) in the process.

With the Crawley family heading to France to escape, we’re left wondering just what kind of relationship Lady Violet had with this enigmatic man that she spent a “few days” with years ago. Will we find out a big family secret? Is there a suitably dramatic story lurking beneath the surface? We’ll just have to strap in and wait.

Who will star in Downton Abbey: A New Era?

It’s been confirmed that all the key players of Downton Abbey’s main cast – including Smith, Dockery, Jim Carter, Laura Carmichael, Elizabeth McGovern, and Hugh Bonneville – will be back for the film’s sequel.

Downton Abbey Movie First Look Images
Harry Hadden-Paton stars as Bertie Pelham, Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith, Tuppence Middleton as Lucy Smith and Allen Leech as Tom Branson in Downton Abbey: A New Era.

As if that weren’t enough to excite you, Focus Features has announced that they’re adding some new star power to the cast; think Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye and (wait for it) Dominic West, to drop just four big names.

It’s worth noting, though, that the full cast has yet to be released. So here’s hoping that Downton will take inspiration from Netflix’s Bridgerton and give us a diverse cast – and one which feels representative of the world we live in.

Is there a trailer for Downton Abbey: A New Era?

While it may not be long, Focus Features have given us another 15 second teaser trailer to whet our appetite. Complete with a dramatic montage of clips and the familiar theme tune, you can check it out here:

What are people saying about Downton Abbey: A New Era?

Gareth Neame, the film’s producer and executive chairman of Carnival Films has 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 reunited with the much beloved characters of Downton Abbey.”

Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski, meanwhile, shared: “There’s no place like home for the holidays, and we can’t imagine a better gift than getting to reunite with Julian, Gareth, and the entire Downton family in 2021 to bring the Crawley’s back home for their fans.”

And Carter, during a recent appearance on ITV’s This Morning, teased: “The script for a second film is there. We’ve seen it, it’s very funny!”

Downton Abbey Movie First Look Images
Hugh Bonneville stars as Robert Grantham and Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary in Downton Abbey: A New Era.

What’s the release date for Downton Abbey: A New Era?

The movie will be coming to cinemas on 29 April, so mark the date in your calendars now.

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Images: Universal; Focus Features

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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