Downton Abbey 3 confirms cast with surprise Paul Giamatti return

paul giamatti as harold levinson, downton abbey christmas special
Downton Abbey 3 confirms cast with surprise returnNick Briggs - ITV

Downton Abbey 3 is officially happening, with new and returning cast members confirmed.

A short video was uploaded by Universal Pictures that showcased the cast assembling for a catch-up/possible read-through, revealing that Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Phyllis Logan, Robert James-Collier, Joanne Froggatt, Penelope Wilton, Lesley Nicol and more are back, as well as Paul Giamatti and Dominic West.

Meanwhile, new cast members include Joely Richardson, Alessandro Nivola, Simon Russell Beale, and Arty Froushan.

Related: Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens lands new TV role

"It feels amazing. A tad emotional," Dockery said in the video. "It's wonderful to all be back together again. You come back together and it's like no time has passed at all.

"We're so happy to announce that we're in production for the third Downton Abbey movie. We can't wait to see you."

Other returning cast members include Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Allen Leech, Michael Fox, Raquel Cassidy, Brendan Coyle, Kevin Doyle, Harry Hadden-Paton, Sophie McShera, and Douglas Reith.

Plot details are being kept under wraps at the moment, but Downton creator Julian Fellows has written the script and Simon Curtis has returned to direct after helming the second film, A New Era.

paul giamatti as harold levinson, downton abbey christmas special
Nick Briggs - ITV

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Interestingly, Imelda Staunton hasn't been confirmed to be returning yet, even though she was the one who said that a third film was happening while rumours were swirling that a seventh season was actually in the works instead.

There could still potentially be both, as Fellows has stated that he's ruled out saying goodbye to the show.

"I have said goodbye to Downton so many times, and I have written the last scene about six or seven times. Now, I've got out of the habit of making permanent statements about whether it's gone," he said last year.

"It just gives me a lot of pleasure that so many people enjoyed it, so to feel that you created a show that cheers people up and they had a good time with it, I love that."

The Downton Abbey series can be streamed on ITVX Premium, Prime Video and Netflix, while the first film can be bought and rented digitally, and A New Age can be streamed on Netflix.

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