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'Downton Abbey' Producer Says Sequel to Be Written This Year, Urges Fans to Be Patient (Exclusive)

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Downton Abbey producer Gareth Neame says that he, creator Julian Fellowes and Focus Features are “committed” to making a second film happen, making good on a promise to fans ahead of the release of the 2019 hit film adaptation of the beloved British upstairs-downstairs drama

“We are totally committed to making a sequel if we can bring all the elements back,” Neame tells ET by phone, while promoting his and Fellowes’ new historical drama, Belgravia. “During the course of this year, we will have a script and we will try to assemble all the actors again, you know, as soon as we can.”

Last fall, while promoting the movie, Neame told ET that “if people come out in big numbers and come see us in theaters then there’s no reason we couldn’t do another” while Fellowes admitted that he may have to start thinking of an idea for a sequel. 

At the film’s premiere, Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary), Michael Fox (Andy), Allen Leech (Tom Branson) and Phyllis Logan (Mrs. Hughes) all said they “absolutely would” do another, while teasing that Maggie Smith (Violet Crawley) may be the holdout. “You just have to talk to the notorious Maggie,” Leech joked.

In the end, Downton Abbey made nearly $97 million at the domestic box office. It not only became Focus Features’ highest-grossing film, but it broke a 13-year-record at the studio previously held by Brokeback Mountain

Since then, Fellowes and Neame have been busy developing their new HBO series, The Gilded Age, set to star Christine Baranski and Cynthia Nixon, as well as promoting the limited series, Belgravia

The latter is adapted from Fellowes’ own novel about aspirations, lies and affairs of overlapping families living in the affluent district of London during the mid-1800s. While darker than Downton Abbey, the series still explores how class structure dictates and affects the daily lives of these families. It features an ensemble cast led by Tamsin Greig, Harriet Walter, Tom Wilkinson and Alice Eve. 

“Your readers and viewers shouldn’t think that it’s all gone cold,” says Neame, who also adds that things will take much longer since the coronavirus outbreak has grounded things to a halt. So while fans can expect something in the “near future,” it’s not going to be the next few months or even this year.  

“As it’s often the case with sequels, it may take a little while to get it ready for the screen,” he continues, adding that they want to build up an appetite and audience for more Downton Abbey. “We don’t want to come straight back, 12 months later.” 

In the meantime, fans can fill the void by watching Belgravia, which premieres Sunday, April 12 on Epix.

 

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