I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve spent a good deal of time over the past few years watching Downton Abbey. Growing up reading the Brontë sisters and Jane Austen, I’ve always been fascinated by the British. Do they really love tea as much as society leads us to believe? Or is it just a stereotype created to hint at their strong emphasis on propriety and decorum? Regardless, Downton Abbey (1912-1926) was a window into a vastly different, cultural past for me. Their clothes, the setting of the plot with three dimensional characters, nods to historical references and the inner workings of an aristocratic household – are what have kept me hooked over all these years.
After Downton Abbey officially ended, no one was prepared for the franchise to make a comeback. Over the course of the past few months, the cast and the director began dropping hints for devotees online. Everyone’s prayers were answered when the trailer for an upcoming feature film was finally released online this week.
The phrase, “we’ve been expecting you”, on the film’s poster, is a pleasant homecoming gift for all the fans that haven’t been able to sleep a wink for the past few months.
What The Trailer Has Revealed So Far
Two versions of the trailer have been released online. While both of them are worlds apart in terms of pace and tone, one thing is quite evident. The King and Queen are coming to stay at Downton Abbey!
The film will be set in 1927 (a year from where we left off in season six). We can see the preparations are underway for the Royals’ arrival as Mrs. Patmore fusses around the kitchen with Daisy. Even Mr. Carson is seen making a return from his retirement – obviously, he can’t be left out of such an auspicious occasion. Mr. and Mrs. Bates are shown conspiring to ‘defend the honour of Downton Abbey’ while Branson seems to be preparing for a new love interest…
And let’s not forget lady Mary’s ravishing new hairstyle! The retro-looking fringe does wonders for her. Sadly, she might be leaving Downton soon. Even though, she’s the one who ‘keeps the heart of the community (Downton) beating’.
Moreover, one of my favourite scenes was when Thomas was shown dancing, quite happily, with a mystery man. Will Thomas finally get the happy ending he deserves? Or will he get his heart broken in the end? (I really, really hope not).
Watching the trailers was like rekindling an old friendship. Even though you might not see each other as frequently as you once did, the deep-rooted love still remains.
Change Is Underway At Downton Abbey
The storyline, with the King and Queen visiting, isn’t completely bizarre. It’s very plausible. Thus, it sets the perfect challenge for the inhabitants of Downton Abbey who stubbornly cling to their outdated, “proper” ways. How will they cater to the Royals’ needs in these pressing times?
Economic turmoil has been a recurring theme after season three. We’ve witnessed Lord Grantham struggle with keeping his finances afloat and trying to adapt to changing, “modern” times.
Over the six seasons we’ve also seen a decline in adhering to societal standards and gender norms. A maid was shown leaving service to become a secretary in an office and both, lady Edith and Mary, ventured outside in search of economic independence.
While the rest of the great estates in Britain are becoming decrepit, Downton Abbey has persevered. But how long can they keep their “old ways” alive?
The Beloved Cast Returns
All of our beloved actors will be reunited in the film. That’s right. Including Dame Maggie Smith! There was speculation for a while that she wouldn’t be returning to Downton Abbey because she felt uncomfortable. The attention she had garnered in her role as the dowager countess didn’t bode well with her.
However, it was a pleasant surprise to see her, with all of her wit , sassiness (and one liners) intact in the trailer. Maggie Smith is definitely the star of the show, but the rest of the cast aren’t lightweights either.
The only one that seemed to be missing from the trailer was Lily James. Lily played Lady Rose who had moved to New York. Lily recently stated that she won’t be joining the cast because it would appear ‘far-fetched’ if her character seemed to return out of the blue from New York.
The film’s screenplay, as always, is written by Julian Fellowes, the creator and producer of the series. New additions to the main cast have also been made. Oscar nominee, Imelda Staunton (a.k.a. Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter fame) and Tuppence Middleton will be taking on key roles in the upcoming feature film.
Joanne Froggatt, who plays lady’s maid, Anna Bates, has let fans know that they won’t be ‘disappointed’ by the Downton Abbey film. In a recent interview she said that the feature film was made with the fans in mind.
So ‘it’s got all the things people love about Downton Abbey, but “elevated”‘.
Although, further continuation of the franchise hasn’t been confirmed yet, Joanne says to take things ‘one step at a time’ and to ‘never say never’.
Where Can You Watch The Downton Abbey Film?
Downton Abbey reigned over viewers hearts from 2010-2015. Its well written plot, brilliant acting and historical accuracy (as close as they could come to perfection) have stood the test of time and it’s still considered a favourite amongst the masses. It is now set to return with its ultimate installment.
Downton Abbey (the film) is scheduled to air in Europe on September 13th and in the US on September 20th this year. With its cult-like following and a plot that looks like it’s designed to cater to the fans, there’s no doubt that the film is bound to be a roaring success.
Viewers in Pakistan will have to wait until it’s released on online streaming platforms to be able to watch it. Until then, there’s plenty of time to catch up on (or rewatch) all the six seasons and the Christmas specials!