Downton Abbey: A New Era actor Elizabeth McGovern says the new film is a heartbreaking sequel. Downton Abbey began as the hit television series which ran for six seasons between 2010 and 2015. Created by Julian Fellowes, the show told the story of the Crawleys, an aristocratic family who must grapple with the changes to their world that came with the beginning of the 21st century. During its run, Downton Abbey was very quickly met with critical acclaim, going on to win 15 Primetime Emmys across its run. Four years after the series finale aired, fans were invited back to the storyworld with the arrival of the Downton Abbey movie, and now once again with its sequel.
Downton Abbey: A New Era was originally announced almost immediately following the Downton Abbey movie, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both the film’s production and release were pushed back multiple times. A New Era is now scheduled to be released in the US on May 20, and while not much is known about the film’s plot, trailers have revealed it will revolve around Downton being used as a film set, as well as Lady Violet’s (Maggie Smith) mysterious past in the south of France. However, apart from these few tidbits, the plot of the film has been kept largely under wraps.
Now, in an interview with The Big Issue, McGovern, who plays Lady Grantham, teases what to expect from Downton Abbey: A New Era. While she admits the movie does contain “more of the same,” as much of Downton Abbey has always been focused on how the Crawley family reacts to the changing times, she feels A New Era sees the “richness and texture of the plot at its best.” McGovern also admits she can’t reveal much of what fans will see in the new movie, because she “would be killed,” but she does reveal the movie will contain a few heartbreaking moments which foreshadow “the passage of time.” See her full quote below:
The new film? It’s basically more of the same! It’s everything that everybody has come to expect from Downton Abbey but I feel like in this one, the detail and richness and texture of the plot is at its best. Because the thing Downton Abbey does well, which is the clash of the old and the new, Julian’s found a very clever way of re-exploring that dynamic. It’s always on the horizon, this sense that modern life is slowly eating away at the life they’re enjoying. So that’s very much in evidence. I can’t really say, because I would be killed but there’s other heartbreaking stuff, foreshadowing the passage of time.
This perhaps will be some unsettling news for fans of the Downton Abbey franchise. In the past, Downton Abbey’s heartbreaking moments have been particularly devastating, including the deaths of multiple fan-favorite characters. Of course, McGovern could be referring to heartbreak of the romantic variety, but since the franchise has proved that it isn’t afraid to permanently remove characters from the story, some will likely be worried for the safety of some of their favorites.
Of course, nothing is written in stone, and McGovern has made it clear that she won’t reveal any more about the film than she has to. The Downton Abbey: A New Era trailers certainly display an element of lightness which would indicate that perhaps the film won’t get as dark as some of the previous episodes of the show have been. Ultimately, the only thing fans can do now is wait for the release of Downton Abbey: A New Era and hope all of their favorite characters end up in a good place.