'Downton Abbey' movie sequel might see 'poignant death' of Maggie Smith's character
One of the most beloved characters of Downton Abbey may be killed off in the film sequel. Several tear-jerking scenes have been filmed for the second movie based on the hit TV period drama, with a source saying that creator Julian Fellowes "has made this death so poignant."
While no clues have been revealed to suggest who will die in the upcoming movie, Downton fans fear for Dame Maggie Smith's timeless character Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham.
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"Those who have seen the scenes said they are so emotional," the insider told The Sun. "They will really leave fans in floods. It's heartbreak at Highclere Castle and there won't be a dry eye in cinemas." Aside from the Countess, other characters who could meet their fate include Lord Grantham, played by Hugh Bonneville, Lady Mary Crawley, played by Michelle Dockery, and butler Carson, played by Jim Carter.
The news comes a day after it emerged that the sequel to 2019's Downton Abbey movie — which proved to be a critical and commercial hit — would be titled A New Era, slated for release in March 2022. The film is being produced by Focus Features, along with Gareth Neame's Carnival Films with Simon Curtis directing. According to The Sun, Fellowes has once again written the screenplay and is producing the film with Gareth and Liz Trubridge.
"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 we will be reunited with the much-beloved characters of 'Downton Abbey," Neame said.
The news was shared along with a teaser for the upcoming film at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, with Focus Features revealing that the entire cast will be returning. Meanwhile, it was also announced that the Crawley family will welcome several characters at their stately manor. According to Deadline, the brief teaser for the film featured the Crawley family and their servants preparing for an overseas journey. The footage seemingly teased a wedding as Jim Carter's Mr. Carson was heard saying, "The British are coming."
Principal cast members Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern, and Laura Charmichael are all slated to return for the sequel. Meanwhile, new additions include Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye, and Dominic West, albeit there is no information on who they will play.
The original series created by Fellowes aired on PBS and ran for six seasons from 2010 to 2016. It followed the lives of the Crawley family, which owns a sprawling English countryside estate, set in the early 20th century. While many scenes are filmed in studios and other locations, the cast and crew spend most of their time at Highclere Castle, the home of the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnavaron, whose family have lived there since 1679.
The cast originally reunited for the Downtown Abbey movie in 2019, which picked up the story from where the series left off. In the film, beloved characters Robert Crawley, played by Hugh Bonneville, and Cora Crawley, played by Elizabeth McGovern are told that they will have to prepare the estate for a royal visit by the King and Queen. However, the family is faced with a series of setbacks along the way, including a suspected assassination attempt.
That said, the Downtown Abbey movie was an unexpected blockbuster at the box office, earning a whopping $97 million domestic and $238 million worldwide from just a $13 million budget.