Downton Abbey: A New Era arrives on April 29th. From the new Downton Abbey trailer to cast soundbites, here’s your cordial invite

Hugh Bonneville stars as Robert Grantham and Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary in DOWNTON ABBEY: A New Era, a Focus Features release.

© 2021 Focus Features, LLC. Credit: Ben Blackall

Hot on the heels of the first Downton Abbey movie, Julian Fellowes’ new big-screen costume drama sees the Crawley clan take on the French Riviera. From the Downton Abbey trailer to the new cast members, here are all the reasons to send your butler out for tickets.

Downton Abbey: A New Era release date: April 29th

What’s the backstory to Downton Abbey: A New Era?

Debuting in September 2010, the original TV version of Downton Abbey was a time machine back to the 1920s. It didn’t matter if you’d never been on a grouse shoot, played a round of charades in a billiard room or shouted at a scullery maid for letting the silver tarnish.

With his award-winning costume drama, writer/creator Julian Fellowes threw open the gates to the fictional Downton Abbey estate in Yorkshire, immersing us in both the high-society circles of the resident Crawley family and the antics of the staff below stairs. We didn’t just watch Downton – we lived it.

If you thought Downton Abbey would revolve around tweeds, high tea and buttoned-up British reserve, Fellowes soon set you straight. It turned out the other half lived pretty hard and fast, with the original five-year run on ITV marked by sex, lies, scandal, fire, illness, jiltings and jail.

When the sixth series ended in 2015, we rang a little silver bell, demanded more – and got it with the original Downton Abbey movie. Now, on April 29th, Downton Abbey: A New Era welcomes us back to the Crawley estate – and might even roam a little further afield.

What do we learn from the Downton Abbey trailer?

Fellowes isn’t much of one for pre-release interviews, and it’s just not cricket for us to spill all the secrets of his new Downton Abbey movie before the big release on March 18th.

With that said, the Downton Abbey trailer makes a handful of plot points pretty clear, and long-standing fans should be rubbing their hands in anticipation.

The Dowager Countess of Grantham (Maggie Smith) has always had a wicked twinkle in her eye, and as the new Downton film begins, she tells the assembled family of a historic love affair – and the villa in the south of France that she has just inherited as a result. 

Allen Leech stars as Tom Branson and Tuppence Middleton as Lucy Smith in DOWNTON ABBEY: A New Era, a Focus Features release.

© 2021 Focus Features, LLC. Credit: Ben Blackall

Don’t worry: there will still be plenty of action set at the classic filming location of Highclere Castle, while we see in the trailer that Tom Branson (Allen Leech) and Lucy Smith (Tuppence Middleton) will tie the knot on British soil.

But with the Downton Abbey trailer teasing “the grandest escape of the year” – and showing a distinctly sunburnt-looking Earl Of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) – it seems the Crawleys have traded their Yorkshire estate for the twinkling sea, skimming speedboats and twirling roulette wheels of the French Riviera.

“They’d better be warned,” observes long-serving family butler, Mr Carson (Jim Carter). “The British are coming.”

Michael Fox stars as Andy, Joanne Froggatt as Anna, Sophie McShera as Daisy and Lesley Nicol as Mrs. Patmore in DOWNTON ABBEY: A New Era, a Focus Features release.

© 2021 Focus Features, LLC. Credit: Ben Blackall

What questions do we want the new Downton Abbey movie to answer?

The first Downton Abbey film left a few nagging threads untied – and before the Crawleys pack their bags for Cannes, we want some closure.

How has Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) stepped up to the responsibility of managing the Downton estate? Did Lady Edith Crawley (Laura Carmichael) and her baby make it through labour in one piece? How long does the Dowager have left to live? We need answers!

Samantha Bond stars as Lady Rosamund, Douglas Reith as Lord Merton, Harry Hadden-Paton as Lord Hexham, Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith Hexham, Hugh Bonneville as Lord Grantham, Elizabeth McGovern as Lady Grantham, Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Talbot, Penelope Wilton as Lady Merton, Robert James Collier as Thomas Barrow and Michael Fox as Andy in DOWNTON ABBEY: A New Era, a Focus Features release.

© 2021 Focus Features, LLC. Credit: Ben Blackall

Who’s in the Downton Abbey cast?

Welcome to Downton Abbey, Sir and Madam. Britain’s most famous period-drama family are waiting for you in the drawing room, and the core cast remains remarkably intact in this second leap to the big screen. Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern still excel as Robert and Cora Crawley, the family figureheads relied upon to put out fires.

“He’s the big daddy of the household,” said Paddington star Bonneville of the Earl Of Grantham in an interview with Good Living. “In the past, we’ve seen him trying to wrestle his daughters into shape, deal with financial catastrophes and various injuries – both upstairs and downstairs. I think you just see a dad who’s trying to keep his family together.”

Laura Haddock stars as Myrna Dalgleish and Michael Fox as Andy in DOWNTON ABBEY: A New Era, a Focus Features release.

© 2021 Focus Features, LLC. Credit: Ben Blackall

Downton Abbey without Maggie Smith’s acid-spitting Dowager is unthinkable and we’re looking forward to another round of pursed lips and viperous put-downs. “Maggie is wonderful to write for because she always gets it,” Fellowes told Town & Country. “She understands why the line is funny. She understands why the scene is moving. She understands why the speech will make you cry.”

As ever, we’ll be wondering how unlucky-in-love Edith manages to live in the shadow of her flightier sister, Mary. “Oh, it’s a great rivalry,” Laura Carmichael told Phoenix. “I love it when one of them gets something over on the other.”

There’ll be new blood among the old money, too, with official promo shots showing Laura Haddock as mysterious incoming character Myrna Dalgleish. Meanwhile, Britpackers Hugh Dancy and Dominic West come aboard in undisclosed roles, while the César Award-winning French actress Nathalie Baye will presumably join the Crawleys across the Channel.

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, a Focus Features release.

© 2021 Focus Features, LLC. Credit: Ben Blackall

What does Julian Fellowes say about Downton Abbey: A New Era?

As the quintessential 1920s blue-bloods, the new Downton Abbey movie asks whether the Crawleys can transition into the next chapter of British history.

“It's really a new era,” said Fellowes in an interview with People.

“The further the '20s went along, the more the world was changing in so many ways. Everything from entertainment to transport was really different by the end of the ’20s. We’re trying to mark the change – the fact that the Crawleys of Downton are nearly in the 1930s, which is merely the beginning of the modern world.”

Official poster for DOWNTON ABBEY: A New Era, a Focus Features release.

© 2021 Focus Features, LLC. Credit: Ben Blackall

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

The release date for Downton Abbey: A New Era is April 29th, and you are all cordially invited to your local ODEON for an evening for frolics, finery and first-class escapism.

“It’s an unashamedly feel-good movie,” said Fellowes in the same People interview. “I like the idea that people go into the movie and have a great two hours and then go out to have dinner. That seems to me to be a good thing. If we are useful for cheering people up and giving them an easy time of it, that doesn't bother me.”

 


 

You are invited to Downton Abbey: A New Era at ODEON on April 29

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