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This seems a little Groundhog Day-ish. Didn’t this announcement come out a year ago?

OK, we aren’t imagining things, because yes, a start date (or at least a start year: 2018) for production on the Downton Abbey movie was confirmed back in 2017, but there’s been little reported activity since then.

But just today (July 13), Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski released a statement saying that Carnival Films will begin production later this summer — and that the original principal cast will be returning.

Here is your formal invitation to return to Downton:

Which cast members will be returning is still to be revealed, but in our earlier post, we reported that NBCUniversal International Studios president Michael Edelstein was hoping to reunite 20 actors from the original series. If you need a reminder, that roster includes, Hugh BonnevilleElizabeth McGovernJim CarterBrendan CoyleJoanne FroggattMichelle Dockery. And then there’s Maggie Smith, who expressed disinterest in the movie, but, possibly she’s changed her mind?

Kujawksi commented on the decision to bring the series to the big screen: “Since the series ended, fans of Downton have long been waiting for the Crawley family’s next chapter.”

He went on to say, “We’re thrilled to join this incredible group of filmmakers, actors and craftspeople, led by [creator] Julian Fellowes and [Carnival executive chairman] Gareth Neame, in bringing back the world of Downton to the big screen.”

Carnival’s Neame outlined some of the details of filming, saying, “When the television series drew to a close it was our dream to bring the millions of global fans a movie and now, after getting many stars aligned, we are shortly to go into production.”

Does he mean the “stars aligned” in a figurative way? Or, is he talking, more literally, about syncing up DA‘s stars’ schedules?

Either way, it works for us!

Neame also gave some hints on what to expect from the film: “Julian’s script charms, thrills and entertains and in [director] Brian Percival’s hands we aim to deliver everything that one would hope for as Downton comes to the big screen.”

Percival directed six of the TV series’ episodes, from 2010-2012, and it seems he will also helm the movie.

If you’re a little late to the game,  Downton Abbey premiered in the U.K. in 2010 and ran through 2015 (2011-2016 in the U.S. on PBS).

DA follows the exploits of an aristocratic family, the Crawleys, in early 20th century England. And, how their lives intertwine with their domestic servants.

Here’s the trailer from season one:

Which characters are a must for this to work?

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Filed Under: Downton Abbey
By Brigid Brown