Downton Abbey star Elizabeth McGovern has revealed details about Hugh Dancy, Dominic West and Laura Haddock’s mystery characters in the upcoming sequel movie, Downton Abbey: A New Era. McGovern starred in the hit British series as the Countess of Grantham from its first episode in 2010 until Downton Abbey season 6, which finally wrapped up the show in 2015. A classic upstairs-downstairs drama, Downton Abbey follows the lives of the Crawley family and their staff in the titular house as they navigate the rapidly changing WW1-era world. Alongside McGovern, Downton Abbey’s star-studded ensemble cast includes Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, Laura Carmichael, Joanne Froggatt, and many more.
After the Downton Abbey season 6 finale left its central characters from both sides of the house with more-or-less happy endings, the first Downton Abbey movie was released in 2019. Set in 1927, it sees the famous house gearing up for a royal visit from King George V and Queen Mary. Amid burgeoning social change, the film briefly tackled the growing tensions between loyal monarchists and republicans in the post-WW1 era, with special guest Stephen Campbell Moore appearing as a revolutionary whose plans to murder the King are ultimately foiled by Tom Branson (Allen Leech). In Feburary 2021, Bonneville confirmed that a second Downton Abbey film was on the way. So far, trailers for the aptly named Downton Abbey: A New Era have revealed minimal plot details, but it’s clear the sequel will see the Crawley family take a trip the south of France after Lady Grantham (Smith) receives some unexpected news. However, trailers and announcements have also revealed the arrival of three newcomers to the cast in so-far mysterious roles: Dancy, West and Haddock.
Now, McGovern herself has confirmed additional details of what fans can expect from the long-awaited Downton Abbey: A New Era. In an interview with The Daily Mail, McGovern revealed that the Downton Abbey sequel will be set shortly after the first film in 1928, and see the iconic British family clash with Hollywood. The actress explained that Downton Abbey: A New Era will explore the rise of the “talkie,” which was just gaining traction in the late 1920s, and that the Crawleys will be opening their home to some very special celebrity guests as they strive to make one of these new and exciting non-silent films. McGovern then went on to reveal how all this ties into Dancy, West and Haddock’s unknown roles:
“I’ll never forget when I showed up on set for the first time and there was Dominic West as this Hollywood actor with Laura Haddock as a silent screen star and Hugh Dancy as the director. They’re having a blast in this movie, it’s their personas and the humour that they bring to it.”
McGovern’s comments certainly give some more clarity to the Downtown Abbey 2 trailers audiences have been treated to so far. Haddock’s character being a film star explains the gobsmacked reactions to her arrival at Downton Abbey by the house’s staff. As for Dancy and West, fans are yet to catch an official glimpse of their characters, but these will no doubt be revealed in the coming weeks, with the sequel movie’s release date not far away. McGovern also teased the new cast members’ “fantastic” performances. While only their professions are known at this stage, the characters’ bold Hollywood personalities are almost certain to prove a shake-up to the Crawley family’s refined and ever-restrained English nature.
It’s already clear that Downton Abbey: A New Era will more than live up to its title. Its new partial non-English setting alone is a first for the long-running series, which always relied on the beauty of its titular house’s York landscape (save a few scenes in central London). The first Downton Abbey movie ultimately proved to have relatively small stakes, and at times lacked the heavier ‘downstairs’ drama that made the original series so compelling. With the Roaring 20s now in full swing, bringing in the fast-paced world of Hollywood movies and some brand new characters could give Downton Abbey: A New Era the lift it needs to both delight loyal fans and also give them a new story to chew on.