Fire up the kettle and dust off the china: Tea on a possible Downton Abbey sequel is here. After six seasons on PBS and a 2019 reunion movie, producer Gareth Neame confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that the team behind the British series is “working on” another installment.
Fans have been clamoring for a sequel since the film’s September release, and showed their passion at the box office, with the film making $185 million worldwide. Neame told THR, “We’re working on what the story is, and when we might be able to make it. But it’s the same as the first time around: We have to try to get everyone back together again. And that was very challenging.”
Back in September, ahead of Downton‘s big screen bow, The Hollywood Reporter asked Neame about the possibility of a sequel. His response at the time? “All we have to achieve here is to get the fans out of their homes and buy tickets to go and see it, because people are used to watching at home…And if it does really well, then we’d do another one,” he said, adding, “We’ve got the beginnings of ideas of what we might do next—if that would happen.”
Although reuniting the upstairs-downstairs casts for a sequel could prove an obstacle, a few cast members have already confirmed they’d sign on. Back in September, Allen Leech (who plays Tom Branson), Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary), Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith), and Sophie McShera (Daisy) confirmed to THR that they’d be open to returning. “It would be very interesting to see what would happen,” Leech said. “I think we would all be up for it. It all comes down to how this one does. If people really love it and there really is an appetite, then why wouldn’t we do it?”
Neame confirmed that while talks of a sequel were “vaguely” happening pre-release, the team members were “kind of holding our breath.” He added, “The reaction to the film, the press tour in the U.S. and the buildup to release were so strong that we’d been thinking about it. And then it was clear from the first weekend that this was worth taking very seriously.”
While talks of a continuation are still tentative, don’t count Maggie Smith (Dowager Countess) out of the sequel. When asked by THR about the film’s ending, which suggested her character was terminally ill, he offered, “All I would say is that one of the things that’s been commented on over the years about Downton is that we’ve had plenty of medical misdiagnoses.”