After several delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the next Downton Abbey film will be in theaters next month. Downton Abbey: A New Era explores Lady Violet’s mysterious past romantic life, which leaves a luxurious French villa in her possession. Additionally, the movie introduces Mr. Barber, a director who brings Hollywood to Downton with his plans to create a film at the estate with the help of high-profile actors.
It’s been three years since the release of the first Downton Abbey movie. While the upcoming film introduces unfamiliar names to the franchise, fans still appreciate the presence of the series’ beloved major players. Despite Matthew Goode’s absence from the upcoming film as Henry Talbot, many key cast members will return. But where did their stories leave off in the first movie?
Lady Violet Defied Odds and Returned for A New Era
The cherished Maggie Smith, known for her role as Professor McGonagall in Harry Potter, reprises her role as the sassy matriarch of the Crawley family in A New Era. Her return surprised fans, considering the first film ended with her diagnosis of a terminal illness. Although determined not to die, Lady Violet wholeheartedly trusted Lady Mary with the Downton estate when the time came. As a response to her sudden news, Mary told her that as Downton stood, her legacy would remain. Fans can’t wait to hear what iconically blunt and hilarious line will come out of her mouth next and the details surrounding her past romantic ventures.
Robert and Cora Helped Prepare for the Royal Visit
After Robert’s frightening affliction in Season 6, when his ulcer burst at the dinner table, he appeared in good health throughout the first Downton Abbey film. King George V and Queen Mary’s visit to Downton was a major theme throughout the film. This royal visit led to Robert’s reunion with his first cousin once removed, Lady Maud Bagshaw, the Queen’s lady-in-waiting. As for Cora, she helped convince the King to allow Bertie to stay due to Edith’s pregnancy instead of honoring his prior commitment to a three-month Africa tour with the Prince of Wales.
Mary Was Stressed Over the Royal Visit and Henry Was Noticeably Absent
In the first movie, viewers finally met Lady Mary and Henry’s adorable daughter Caroline after she announced her pregnancy in Season 6. With two children, Lady Mary had a lot on her plate in preparation for the royal visit. This stress led to conflict with Thomas Barrow over how Downton should be decorated. Her husband Henry, who was mostly missing due to a business trip, won’t appear in A New Era. Downton Abbey ended when Lady Mary was informed of her grandmother’s life-threatening medical diagnosis.
Edith and Bertie Will Welcome a New Child
Edith finally found her happiness when she married Bertie Pelham, the seventh Marquess of Hexham. The couple arrived before the royals with their young daughter, Marigold. Bertie rightfully suspected the murderous intentions of Tom’s new acquaintance, Major Chetwode. Bertie was supposed to go on a three-month Africa tour with the Prince of Wales, but Cora convinced the King to release him from his commitment after Edith announced her pregnancy.
Tom and Lucy Will Marry in A New Era
Tom became acquainted with the sneaky Major Chetwode, who wrongfully suspected Tom would share his views due to their common Irish heritage. Chetwode attempted to assassinate the King before the parade began, but Tom, with the help of Lady Mary, ended his devious plan. Shortly after, Tom encountered a distraught Princess Mary and consoled her. Tom also fell in love with Lucy, revealed to be Maud’s illegitimate daughter, and the couple is shown at their wedding in a sneak peek of Downton Abbey: A New Era.
Anna and Mr. Bates Helped Take Back Downton From the Royal Servants
After multiple miscarriages, Anna gave birth to a healthy baby boy, named Johnny after her husband, Mr. Bates, on New Year’s Eve during the final moments of Season 6. The film lacked insight into their family life and focused more on Anna’s discovery of a thief at Downton. Anna and Bates worked together to reclaim Downton from the hands of the royal servants.
Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes Rejoin the Staff at Downton
Even though he passed the torch to Thomas, Mr. Carson returned after Mary insisted on it because she believed Thomas wasn’t up to the challenge of a royal visit. And, as Downton Abbey fans know, Carson couldn’t say no to Mary even if his life depended on it. Mrs. Hughes, known as Mrs. Carson now, developed an intense rivalry with the Royal Housekeeper, Mrs. Webb. She eventually showed Mrs. Webb who was really the boss at the estate.
Thomas Barrow Got in Trouble With the Law
Thomas took on the new responsibility as the butler after Mr. Carson retired, but the former butler returned to assist with the royal visit. After being sidelined, Thomas became acquainted with the King’s Royal Dresser, Richard Ellis. They departed on a trip together to York for Ellis to visit his parents, but things went south when Thomas was arrested at an underground gay nightclub after a police raid. Ellis used his status to get Thomas released, and the pair became romantically involved.
Andy Became Extremely Possessive Over Daisy
There was trouble in paradise for the happy couple Daisy and Andy. Andy became viciously jealous when Daisy met the good-looking plumber, Mr. Sellick. In a fit of rage, Andy even damaged the boiler, which Mr. Sellick previously fixed. Andy later revealed his actions to Daisy, and she was far from upset. Daisy and Andy eventually got married, which was hinted at in a trailer for Downton Abbey: A New Era.
Mrs. Patmore Couldn’t Handle Another Person in the Kitchen
Mrs. Patmore was infuriated when she learned another chef, Monsieur Courbet, was head of kitchen operations for the royal visit instead of her. Like Mrs. Hughes with Mrs. Webb, Mrs. Patmore made Courbet her archenemy. In true Mrs. Patmore fashion, she couldn’t hold back a few choice words about the cook. She managed to hold her ground, and the King even complimented her delicious dishes. Her supplier, Mr. Bakewell, had to have been thrilled.
Mr. Molesley Was a Ball of Anxiety About the Royal Visit
At the end of Season 6, Mr. Molesley accepted a teaching position, but he returned for the King and Queen’s upcoming arrival at Downton. Throughout their stay, Molesley couldn’t contain his excitement about the royal visit. He even spilled the beans at dinner about who actually cooked the meal after the Downton staff took over for the royal servants. Viewers felt his embarrassment second-hand.
Nothing Notable Happened to Miss Baxter
Miss Baxter joined the Downton Abbey cast in Season 4 when she replaced Edna, Cora’s lady maid. Although he was initially antagonistic toward her, she later rescued Thomas after his suicide attempt in Season 6. Nothing of importance happened to Miss Baxter in the 2019 film, except a tender moment with Mr. Molesley. Some fans hope the slow-burning love between them will blossom into a relationship in Downton Abbey: A New Era.