The Crawleys are back in the first full trailer for Downton Abbey: A New Era. Back in 2019, everyone’s favorite aristocratic clan made the leap to the big screen, with the Downton Abbey movie that picked up the story four years after the hit TV series ended after six seasons in 2015. Now a sequel is on its way, and it promises to reveal the secret past about the franchise’s most popular character, Dame Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess, Lady Violet.
The trailer (see above) offers our first plot details about A New Era, confirming that it will kick off with Violet inheriting a villa in the South of France from an old flame who’s just died. Despite the situation being slightly scandalous, Violet’s not about to refuse the gift. “Do I look as if I’d turn down a villa in the South of France?” she quips.
So while Hugh Bonneville’s Earl of Grantham heads off to the continent to take possession of the villa, learning the truth about his mother’s first love along the way, Hollywood comes to Downton. The film’s B-plot sees the manor chosen as the setting for a major movie production, resulting in much excitement from the staff and much derision from the family, although Mary (Michelle Dockery) seems keen to bring the modern world to the stuffy stately home.
All the rest of the original ensemble cast, like Jim Carter’s beloved butler Carson, is also set to return. Newcomers for the sequel include Hugh Dancy (Hannibal), Laura Haddock (Guardians of the Galaxy), Nathalie Baye (Catch Me If You Can), and Dominic West (The Crown). Fresh off HBO’s new drama The Gilded Age, Downton creator Julian Fellowes once again writes the screenplay. Simon Curtis takes over as director from the first film’s Michael Engler.
Downton Abbey: A New Era opens in U.S. theaters on May 20, following its release in the U.K. a few weeks earlier on April 29.