Downton Abbey Star Explains Why Maggie Smith Always Ends Up Returning

Maggie Smith isn’t one to turn down an RSVP to Downton Abbey. Or so says Elizabeth McGovern.

The Cora Crawley actress recently sat down with Pop Culture to discuss the runaway success of Focus Features’ Downton Abbey movie ($178.6 million at the global box office, last we checked), and touched base on her legendary co-star, Maggie Smith.

Turns out Smith, who’s known for her role as Violet Crawley, has a tendency for bidding farewell to Downton Abbey and its cast, only to pull a U-turn and book her place at Highclere Castle any time there’s news of a possible continuation. That’s exactly what happened for Julian Fellowes’ motion picture, it seems, as McGovern told Pop Culture:

Every single year during the run of the series Maggie would say ‘This is my last’… Then, back she’d come. I think she gets bored when she’s not working.

Such was the box office success of Downton Abbey that there’ve even been rumblings of a potential sequel, and while Elizabeth McGovern is game to return, she did call for caution, stating that “won’t get excited” until a script is in place.

There have been some availability checks from production. I won’t get excited until I see a script, though.

Despite the heart-wrenching finale of the Downton Abbey movie, in which (spoilers) Violet Crawley receives some bad news from the doctor, Fellowes and producer Gareth Neame are already considering the possibility of welcoming Maggie Smith back to the fray, providing a sequel gets off the ground. One thing’s for sure: if the stars align, and Focus Features begins work on Downton Abbey 2, we know Maggie Smith is unlikely to turn down another invitation to Highclere Castle.

Closer to home, the film’s Blu-ray release has been dated for December 17th, and comes packing a dazzling array of special features. There’s featurettes, deleted scenes, and even a director’s commentary from Michael Engler.