The Crawleys are returning.
Focus Features, which confirmed the news alongside Carnival Films, said that creator Julian Fellowes and all the original principal cast — including Hugh Bonneville, Jim Carter, Laura Carmichael and Michelle Dockery — would be back. It later confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that this included Maggie Smith (there had been uncertainly following a storyline in the first film)
Focus added that additional stars joining the sequel included Hugh Dancy (Black Hawk Down), Laura Haddock (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Nathalie Baye (Catch Me if You Can), and that it would be in cinemas Dec. 22, 2021. Carnival’s Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge return to produce alongside Fellowes, with Simon Curtis (My Week With Marilyn) joining to direct.
We're thrilled to announce that Julian Fellowes and the entire Downton cast are back for #DowntonAbbey2, with Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye and Dominic West joining! See the film in theaters this Christmas. pic.twitter.com/DkEfo8ODzm
— Focus Features (@FocusFeatures) April 19, 2021
“After a very challenging year with so many of us separated from family and friends, it is a huge comfort to think that better times are ahead and that next Christmas we will be re-united with the much beloved characters of Downton Abbey,” said Neame.
The 2019 film — marking the first return of the Crawley family since the hugely-successful Downton Abbey series ended in 2016 — followed a royal visit to Downton and assassination attempt on the king of England. It proved to be a huge performer, earning more than $194 million from a budget estimated at $13 million-$20 million.
“There’s no place like home for the holidays, and we can’t imagine a better gift than getting to reunite with Julian, Gareth, and the entire Downton family in 2021 to bring the Crawley’s back home for their fans,” said Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski.
Downton Abbey 2 is a Carnival Films production, with Focus Features and Universal Pictures International distributing. Carnival Films is part of NBCUniversal International Studios, a division of Universal Studio Group.