'Downton Abbey 3' Is Confirmed: Cast, Possible Release Date, & More

Downton Abbey’s doors are opening up once more. On May 13, Focus Features announced production is underway on the third feature film based on the hit TV series of the same name. The PBS-ITV show ran for six seasons from 2010 to 2015 and has spawned two successful film follow-ups: 2019’s Downton Abbey: The Movie and 2022’s Downton Abbey: A New Era. Now, the Crawleys are back for another adventure, but what exactly the aristocratic family will be up to this time remains to be seen.

The good news is that most of the original cast is returning for the film, including Michelle Dockery and Laura Carmichael as sisters Lady Mary and Lady Edith. Additionally, Paul Giamatti is reprising his role from the series as Cora’s American brother, Harold Levinson. Perhaps most importantly, the third film is penned by Julian Fellowes, the show’s creator and the writer behind the first two movies, ensuring the charming magic of Downton Abbey will stay intact.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about Downton Abbey 3 so far — including which cast members may not be returning for the third installment of the franchise.

Has filming on Downton Abbey 3 begun?

The cast and crew are already back in action at Highclere Castle, the real-life manor behind Downton Abbey. In a video posted across the film’s social media accounts, the cast and crew could be seen reuniting as Dockery said, “We’re so happy to announce that we’re in production for the third Downton Abbey movie. We can’t wait to see you.”

She added, “It feels amazing. It’s a tad emotional. It’s wonderful to be back together again. You come back together, and it’s like no time has passed at all.”

Although no release date has been announced, with filming already underway, the third movie is likely to hit theaters in 2025.

Which upstairs and downstairs characters are back? And who’s new?

In addition to Dockery and Carmichael, additional actors reprising their roles include Hugh Bonneville (Robert), Elizabeth McGovern (Cora), Allen Leech (Tom), Penelope Wilton (Isobel), Harry Hadden-Paton (Bertie), Jim Carter (Mr. Carson), Phyllis Logan (Mrs. Hughes), Robert James-Collier (Thomas), Joanne Froggatt (Anna), Brendan Coyle (Mr. Bates), Lesley Nicol (Mrs. Patmore), Michael Fox (Andrew), Raquel Cassidy (Phyllis), Kevin Doyle (Molesley), Sophie McShera (Daisy), and Douglas Reith (Lord Merton).

Also returning from the last film is Dominic West as Hollywood actor Guy Dexter, who gave Thomas a happy ending when the two fell in love and agreed to live together in California. Meanwhile, Giamatti will appear in the films for the first time after playing Cora’s brother in Season 4.

Notably absent from the cast list is Maggie Smith as the sharp-tongued Dowager Countess Violet Crawley. Sadly, Violet died at the end of the last film, making her absence expected. Also missing? Matthew Goode as Mary’s husband, Henry Talbot. Goode also sat out the last film, leaving Mary to manage the goings on of Downton Abbey (as well as the parenting of their children) on her own.

New actors joining the cast in mystery roles include Joely Richardson, Alessandro Nivola, Simon Russell Beale, and Arty Froushan.

What will Downton Abbey 3 be about?

In the first film, Downton Abbey received a royal visit from the King and Queen of England. In the second, half of the characters headed to the south of France to delve into a mystery surrounding Violet’s past, while the rest of the family and staff stayed behind to deal with the house being turned into a film set. It will be interesting to see where the third movie takes the characters, especially since even the most tertiary downstairs characters have found love and contentment.

Knowing Fellowes, something big will come along to shake things up for the house — most likely courtesy of Harold, whose brash American sensibilities tend to rub Robert the wrong way.

For now, plot details are being kept under wraps, but just knowing there’s more Downton Abbey coziness ahead is enough.

Will there be a fourth film?

In March, Imelda Staunton was the first to confirm a third movie was happening during an interview on BBC Radio 2. Staunton, who played Lady Maud Bagshaw in the first two films, suggested this could be the end of Downton Abbey (for real this time). “There will be the final film — there you go,” she said at the time, per Deadline.

However, there was no mention of the third film being the end of the line for Downton Abbey in Focus Features’ press release, so Mr. Bates might not want to hang up his livery just yet.

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