Lord and Lady Grantham bid you welcome once again in the forthcoming Downton Abbey: A New Era. The first Downton movie was released in 2019, and proved to be a successful translation of the hit ITV series. Now, the sequel movie picks up with our favourite characters and promises to deepen various backstories. Along with a new trailer, we're also presented with a handsome new poster.
Once again, Julian Fellowes is on script-writing duties while My Week With Marilyn director Simon Curtis takes over behind the camera. If you can't get enough of the silverware, class divisions and cutting quips that come with the Downton Abbey experience, then scroll down to discover what we've learned from the latest trailer.
1. We've got an idea of when the movie is set
In order to establish that, we have to start at the end of the trailer. Penelope Wilton's Isobel Grey is seen gossiping, as ever, with Maggie Smith's joyously acidic Violet Crawley. Isobel refers to the relative novelty of talking pictures (more on which momentarily), which logically places the Downton sequel in the 1927/1928 bracket. The reason? The Al Jolson movie The Jazz Singer, which is credited as the first-ever 'talkie', was released in 1927. Of course, Violet has a killer comeback to Isobel's observation.
Writer and original Downton series creator Julian Fellowes also wrote the Oscar-winning period murder mystery Gosford Park for the iconoclastic Robert Altman, and no doubt his observations from that experience will be threaded into the script for the Downton sequel.
2. The modern world comes to Downton
The first of the film's main story threads picks up with the aforementioned talking picture theme. Downton Abbey is invaded by a film crew looking to make a 'talkie'. Hugh Dancy plays the director, Jack Barber, and Dominic West plays the star who, judging from a fleeting close-up, may develop an attraction to Thomas Barrow (Robert James-Collier). The news sends the downstairs crowd into a bit of a flurry, including the ever-reliable cook Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol) and Daisy (Sophie McShera). But how will everyone cope with the diva-ish presence of peroxide-blonde movie star Myrna Dalgleish (Laura Haddock)?
3. The Crawleys go abroad
Running in parallel is the story thread that was introduced in the first trailer. We delve into Violet's mysterious past as she reveals she's the owner of a villa in the south of France, which prompts Lord and Lady Grantham (Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern), accompanied by Edith Pelham (Laura Carmichael), to venture there themselves.
4. The story ushers in an era of change
It's unclear how these two disparate storylines will be threaded together. And the exact nature of Violet's past remains under wraps, with Lord Grantham questioning the villa's new owners as to the reason for their summons. However, we do get a sense of a generational passing-of-the-torch as the tenacious Lady Mary Talbot (Michelle Dockery) is left to oversee Downton in the midst of the hectic film shoot, another sign of how the times are subtly a-changing.
Rest assured, there will be plenty of the typical Downton Abbey revelations. In fact, these start within the trailer as Carson (Jim Carter) discovers an image of the young Violet and realises that he was once in her employment.
5. Societal conventions begin to be challenged
As Lady Mary questions the stability of marriage, we flash cut to Tom and Lucy Branson (Allen Leech and Tuppence Middleton). Are there glimmers of unhappiness on the horizon? Not judging from the joyous wedding and honeymoon imagery in the trailer, but perhaps their nuptials will be used as a microcosm to explore how society is changing outside the perimeters of the Downton estate. Is there also the suggestion of an attraction between Lady Mary and filmmaker Jack?