The Downton Abbey movie could be a prequel, and feature completely new cast

Ben Arnold
·Contributor
Downton… could the movie be a prequel with a new cast? – Credit: ITV
Downton… could the movie be a prequel with a new cast? – Credit: ITV

While the news of the now-confirmed ‘Downton Abbey’ movie was received rapturously among fans last month, creator Julian Fellowes may be about to set the cat amongst the pigeons.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Lord Fellowes appeared to imply that getting the cast together is proving rather tricky.

Not only that, but he still appears to be talking ‘if’ rather than ‘when’.

“I hope there will be a film. It will be sad if we don’t do one,” he said.

“Most films are a punt and we have a solid audience waiting for it.

“The difficulty is rounding up the actors who have now gone off to the four corners of the earth, in Hollywood, on Broadway, doing plays, doing series and so on.

(Credit: PA)
(Credit: PA)

“I think it would be possible to do a prequel that was re-cast and do a love story – so you went right back and had the young cast arriving in the show as footmen and Mrs Patmore being a kitchen maid.”

Perhaps Fellowes is being coy about whether the movie will actually happen or not – various members of the cast have said that there’s a script doing the rounds, while the president of NBCUniversal has said there’s been a feature project ‘in the works for some time’, and it’ll start production next year.

“We are working on getting the script right and then we’ve got to figure out how to get the [cast] together,” said Michael Edelstein.

“Because as you know, people go on and do other things. But we’re hopeful to make a movie sometime next year.”

However, whether fans would be as keen without their favourite characters involved is another matter entirely, the ITV-produced show having established the likes of Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess, Hugh Bonneville’s Earl of Grantham, and Jim Carter’s Carson among audiences over a number of series.

Others have voiced similar concerns to Fellowes too, Phyllis Logan, who plays Elsie Hughes, telling Good Morning Britain earlier this year: “We’d love all to get back together again and have one last hurrah, we certainly would.

“There’s so many of us. In normal film situations you might have a core cast of half a dozen or whatever.

“But this is a core cast of thousands it feels like at times. And so… herding cats?”

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