'Downton Abbey 2' confirmed for 2021 release

'Downton Abbey'. (Credit: Universal)
Downton Abbey (Universal)

Downton Abbey is returning for another feature film, set for release later this year.

Universal Pictures announced the news on Monday in a tweet that confirmed the whole cast would be back.

The message also revealed that actors Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye and Dominic West are joining as new characters but it is not yet known who they will be playing.

Read more: Hugh Bonneville updates on Paddington and Downton Abbey sequels

"We're thrilled to announce that Julian Fellowes and the entire Downton cast are back for #DowntonAbbey2, with Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye and Dominic West joining!

"See the film in cinemas this Christmas," the message read.

The first film, which followed on from Julian Fellowes's TV series, was released in 2019. It earned $194m (£152m) worldwide and was the 10th highest-grossing film of the year in the UK.

Actor Jim Carter, who plays butler Carson, revealed last year that a long-rumoured second picture was due to start filming in 2021.

He shared: “The script for a second film is there. We’ve seen it, it’s very funny.

The 'Downton Abbey' movie has been a box office smash hit (Credit: Universal)
The Downton Abbey movie was a smash hit. (Universal)

“It’s got all the same characters in, all the regular characters, and I think the will is, COVID willing, we’ll film it next year.”

Earl of Grantham star Hugh Bonneville also said earlier this year that he hoped filming on the picture could begin in 2021 so it could welcome audiences back into the cinema when they reopen.

Read more: Julian Fellowes to adapt Wind In The Willows

It was reported back in November that 86-year-old Maggie Smith, who plays Dowager Countess Violet Crawley, would have her own COVID-19 bubble while shooting for the sequel takes place.

The original historical drama series aired in the UK on ITV from 2010 until 2015, running for a total of 52 episodes.

Watch: Downton Abbey star's interview interrupted by husband