The latest trailer for Downton Abbey: A New Era revealed several captivating details, like the film within a film plotline that introduces fans to a few fresh faces, along with the familiar Downton Abbey cast. One of the new characters is Mr. Barber, a producer and director who arrives at Downton in hopes of creating a film at the castle alongside Lady Mary, an unidentified male Hollywood actor and Myrna Dalgleish, a Hollywood actress with a prima donna attitude. The trailer hints at Mary and Mr. Barber’s possible relationship, as her husband, Henry Talbot, was mysteriously absent from the promotional photos and trailer after a minor role in the first film.
The sequel film takes place in the late 1920s and shares ironic similarities with the real-life Downton Abbey, known as Highclere Castle, in Newbury, United Kingdom. The current owner of Highclere Castle is George Herbert, the eighth Earl of Carnarvon. His family opened up their home when the Downton Abbey TV series was filmed, much like how the Granthams invite a production crew to Downton in Downton Abbey: A New Era.
While the Granthams have different opinions about the characters who arrive at Downton, specifically Lord Grantham’s uncertainty about inviting Hollywood actors, the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon welcome production crews. In fact, the production of Downton Abbey saved Highclere Castle from financial ruin. Alongside film crews, the couple also welcomes tourists into their home, particularly during the summer months.
The times are strikingly different between now and Downton Abbey: A New Era. However, Lady Cora’s line in the trailer, “The modern world comes to Downton,” rings true in both the film and in reality. Highclere Castle was built in the late 1600s and even features an Egyptian exhibition. Therefore, the expensive camera equipment at Highclere during the filming of Downton Abbey and its feature films is also out of place. That said, this is not the first time filming has taken place at the castle, as the 1990s comedy series Jeeves and Wooster also filmed there, as did several other movies.
In addition to the meta film within a film narrative, another exciting plotline has hyped fans for the film’s release. In the trailer, viewers also learned a little more about Lady Violet’s mysterious backstory. Fans will hopefully discover the reasoning behind how she acquired a French villa in the upcoming film and anticipate the upcoming wedding between Tom Branson and Lucy Smith.