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See the First Photos from the Set of the New Downton Abbey Film

Caroline Hallemann
Photo credit: Joan Wakeham/REX/Shutterstock

From Town & Country

After months of rumors, it's finally official: Downton Abbey is heading to the big screen. (We'll pause a moment while you let that news sink in.)

“Since the series ended, fans of Downton have long been waiting for the Crawley family’s next chapter,” Focus chairman Peter Kujawski said in a statement in early July 2018. “We’re thrilled to join this incredible group of filmmakers, actors and craftspeople, led by Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame, in bringing back the world of Downton to the big screen.”

Here's everything we know so far about the project:

The film will premiere next September.

“Since the series ended, fans of Downton have long been waiting for the Crawley family’s next chapter,” Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to join this incredible group of filmmakers, actors and craftspeople, led by Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame, in bringing back the world of Downton to the big screen next September.”

The film will be released on Friday, September 20, 2019 in North America on Friday, September 13, 2019 internationally.

They just started filming.

Michelle Dockery, who plays Lady Mary, shared the news on her Instagram account with a photo from set coupled with the caption, "And...we’re off 🎬."

And a few other photos of the set in Lacock, Wiltshire have surfaced. See a few below:

Photo credit: Joan Wakeham/REX/Shutterstock
Photo credit: Joan Wakeham/REX/Shutterstock
Photo credit: Joan Wakeham/REX/Shutterstock

Hugh Bonneville, who plays Lord Grantham, also confirmed the news in early September at the Heroes at Highclere event.

"We start filming again on Monday," Bonneville said in conversation with Lord Carnarvon, whose home, Highclere Castle, serves as the fictional Downton Abbey in the show. "We did the read through last week, and I actually have to say it was really nice, settling back into a family."

"It was great to see everyone again, even our new guest artists Imelda Staunton and David Haig. I can't remember them all but it is a wonderful bunch of people who are doing it for what will be, I hope, an upbeat celebration and reunion," he continued.

Most of your favorite cast members are returning for the film.

A press release shares that "the original principal cast from the acclaimed television series have assembled to return for the feature which will begin production later this summer."

While it's slightly unclear who exactly the "principal cast" includes, People reports that sources close to the film have confirmed "Maggie Smith, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Joanne Froggatt, Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern are all reprising their roles."

Matthew Goode, who plays Henry Talbot, will also be a part of the project, though his part in the film will be small. "I'm just popping in at the end, which is a nice way to do it," he told Radio Times.

The news of Smith's return to the story comes as something of a surprise. She hasn't been so thrilled about continuing the Crawley story in the past.

When asked on the Graham Norton Show if she was glad the show was over, Maggie Smith said, "Oh yeah."

"By the time we finished, [The Dowager Countess] must have been about 110. It couldn’t go on and on, it just didn’t make sense," she continued.

She also had some negative comments about a potential film during an interview with the British Film Institute.

"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."

She will reunite with her former Harry Potter co-star Imelda Staunton, who played Dolores Umbridge, on set. Staunton is one of the new faces coming to Downton in the film. Other additions to the cast include Geraldine James (Anne with an E, Beast), Simon Jones (The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Brideshead Revisited), David Haig (Killing Eve, Penny Dreadful), Tuppence Middleton (War and Peace, The Imitation Game), Kate Phillips (Peaky Blinders, The Crown) and Stephen Campbell Moore (History Boys, Lark Rise to Candleford).

Sadly, there is at least one TV cast member who will not apepar in the adaptation. Actress Lily James, who played Lady Rose in the latter seasons of the show, has confirmed that she will not appear in the movie.

“My character Rose moved off to New York, so it would be farfetched to bring her back,” she told People.

“I would have loved to have come back for a scene, but for a movie, it can’t be like a Christmas special and it needs to be a focused storyline,” she said. “There was no space for Rose.”

Cousin Matthew might make a surprise appearance.

While Cousin Matthew was tragically killed off when actor Dan Stevens left the show, there's a chance the character could appear in the film, in a flashback. Stevens posted the picture below on his Instagram account along with the caption, "Should Matthew have a mustache for the #DowntonAbbeyMovie...? Vote below... ☑️ ❎"

We're keeping our fingers crossed.

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