Downton Abbey Unveils Official Title and Bumps Up Release as Teaser Hints at Wedding

Downtown Abbey

Downtown Abbey Actors Maggie Smith and Michelle Dockery in a promo shot for the 2019 Downton film. The sequel to the 2019 film, set for release March 2022, promises to introduce a new era. Photo: Focus Features/Courtesy of Everett Collection/Getty Images

The official title of the Downton Abbey sequel was announced today along with a new release date.

Downton Abbey: A New Era, which was originally announced with the working title Downtown Abbey 2, is set for a theatre-only release on March 18, 2022 — bumped up from its initial release date of Dec. 22.

“A new era begins,” the franchise tweeted on Wednesday.

The franchise also confirmed that Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Michelle Dockery and Elizabeth McGovern will all be reprising their roles for the film. Julian Fellowes, has returned to pen the script as well, while Simon Curtis, whose credits include My Week with Marilyn and Woman in Gold, has signed on as director.

The franchise also welcomes some new faces, with Dominic West, Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock and Nathalie Baye joining the cast.

West, who will also play Prince Charles in the upcoming season of The Crown, is known for star roles in The Wire and The Affair. Meanwhile, Dancy is best known for his role as Will Graham in the hit series Hannibal, while Haddock is known for her roles in White Lines and Guardians of the Galaxy. Baye’s notable appearances include roles in Catch Me if You Can and Call My Agent.

The new title and release date came with whisperings of a teaser shown to attendees at a Cinema Con event in Vegas. The footage, not yet available to the public, reportedly sees Lord Grantham, Lady Mary and the rest of the Crawley’s preparing for a lengthy tour of Europe and included hints of a wedding.

In 2019, the first Downton Abbey film — which premiered four years after the hit show wrapped up its sixth season run — reunited most of the cast for a plot revolving around the preparations for a royal visit from King George V and Queen Mary.

One of the major bombshells dropped in the feature film was the news of Cousin Violet’s illness, which was hinted at early in the film and finally revealed in her intimate conversation with Lady Mary. In the heartbreaking scene, Cousin Violet, a fan favourite played by Academy Award-winning legend Maggie Smith, confirms she’s nearing the end of her life.

However, a recent interview with Downton creator Fellowes suggests we haven’t heard the last quick-witted one-liner from the feisty, yet charming, Crawley.

“We should remember that at the end of the film, Maggie was by no means dead,” he told Hello!. “You imagine Violet is on her way out, but that decision hasn’t been reached.”