Arts & Culture

It's Official: A Downton Abbey Movie is Finally Happening

But this one character definitely won't be in it.
IMAGE COURTESY OF PBS
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After months of rumors, it's finally been confirmed: a Downton Abbey movie is officially happening!

Now that you've taken sufficient time for that to sink in, here are the details. Michael Edelstein, president of NBCUniversal International Studios, has revealed that production will likely begin in 2018.

"There's a movie in the works. It's been in the works for some time," Edelstein said Wednesday at an event for "Downton Abbey: The Exhibition," which features costumes, locations and never-before-seen footage from the TV show.

"We are working on getting the script right and then we've got to figure out how to get the [cast] together. Because as you know, people go on and do other things. But we're hoping to make a movie sometime next year," Edelstein said.

However, some cast members at the exhibition said they were not aware of the movie.

"Oh, well, you've got confirmation before us. We have no idea if that's happening," said Sophie McShera, who played assistant cook Daisy Mason on the series. "But we would all love to be part of the film if it was to happen, for sure."

Laura Carmichael, who played Lady Edith, quipped: "Well, tell my agent because we're still waiting to know. We're hoping that will happen soon."

Prior to the confirmation from NBCUniversal, several hints had been dropped about the production.

Earlier this month on the red carpet for her new project Baby Driver, actress Lily James, who played Rose Aldridge on the period drama said that "there's definitely rumors and discussions going on." When pressed about whether she'd been in discussions about the film, she coyly said, "maybe." and then quickly moved away.

In an interview with The Guardian, show creator Julian Fellowes said, "It's pretty likely the Downton movie will happen."

At the time, he cited one major obstacle.

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"We're still waiting for that green light from the studio," he said. "Then the biggest difficulty will be rounding up all the cast as, compared with most series, it has such a large cast. And it needs to be Downton-esque. I know the cast is behind it and there's a big audience out there."

According to the Sun, Fellowes has completed a script for the film.

"I think it would be a continuation of the same story," he said when asked about what period the film would be set.

"So that you have a kind of payoff for having watched all those series...I want to keep it within the age range, we cast the girls several years older than their parts, in case the show ran, and it did. So now they're almost the same age, at the very end I think Michelle [Dockery] was something like 31 and Mary was 33, so they're almost the same and I wouldn't want to make too great a divergence of that, I think it adds to the believability that the characters have, in a sense, grown old in pace with the show."

Sadly, we do know that the Dowager Countess won't be in the picture. Back in October, Maggie Smith said pretty definitively that she wouldn't appear in any Downton Abbey spin-offs. "I can't," she told Graham Norton. "What age would I be?"

And in an interview with the British Film Institute, the actress suggested the movie could begin with Lady Grantham's funeral.

"I just think it's squeezing it dry, do you know what I mean?" she said. "I don't know what it could possibly be. It was so meandering, what would you [do]? Anyway that's not my problem. That's the Lord's problem." (The Lord, in this case, being Downton creator Julian Fellows.)

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Fair point, but what does the world of Downton sound like without her famous one-liners? Fans will just have to wait and see.

The Associated Press contributed reporting to this story.

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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Caroline Hallemann
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