Jim Carter Confirms “Downton Abbey” Movie Sequel
Just as we were saying goodbye to the Harry Potter films’ Transfiguration professor Minerva McGonagall (Dame Maggie Smith), Senior Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton), and unlucky wandmaker Gregorovitch (Rade Šerbedžija), Downton Abbey became our Sunday night nostalgia fix for six seasons and a hit movie. Ah, yes, remember the world before COVID-19, when crowds could freely flock to the cinema? While this seems almost as long ago as the 1920s, Jim Carter says the wait for a Downton sequel may be over.
Downton Abbey‘s show producer, Gareth Neame, teased us about a sequel in the air even on the red carpet premiere of the first feature film just last September. On a recent appearance on This Morning, Carter, who plays Carson, the stern butler, confirmed that a sequel script has been signed, sealed, and delivered:
If you promise not to tell anyone, I’ll let you know that we’ve seen a script… The script for a second film is there. We’ve seen it. It’s very funny! It’s got all the same characters in, all the regular characters, and I think the will is – COVID willing – we’ll film it next year. I don’t know if I can trust Phillip [Schofield, host] to keep this secret, but Holly [Willoughby, host], I know I can trust you.
With that not-so-confidential secret out of the bag, our question is whether Violet Crawley will appear in this “funny” sequel given that Smith’s character announced she was terminally ill at the end of the previous movie. Unfortunately, Carter was unwilling to give away any of Oscar-winning writer Julian Fellowes’ new plotlines, not even whether the actor’s real-life wife, Staunton, will return as Lady Bagshaw. Though not quite as scathingly as McGonagall and Umbridge, the two actresses had their fair share of on-screen quarrels.
While Staunton only appeared in the feature film, Carter has been there from the start. He reminisced fondly about the beginnings of Downton on its ten-year anniversary:
It’s amazing. Does it feel like 10 years? It [does] seem like an age ago. And I looked down on my bookshelves and I found this – a bound script of the first edition of the first script of Downton Abbey. And I had a little wave of nostalgia. It was pitched as a period drama written by Julian Fellowes, and of course, I loved Gosford Park, and I think it was pitched to ITV as ‘Gosford Park on the television,’ and the big selling point in a way was Julian Fellowes, but also Maggie Smith, who I knew was involved. I had to go in and audition like everybody else. I would have been cross if I hadn’t got the part!
While the entertainment world is having to adjust to safety restrictions due to the pandemic, the film industry is getting back on track slowly but surely. Learning from the first movie’s hurdles, it may be more difficult to get the core cast together in one place at the same time than to work under COVID guidelines. However, fans of the Harry Potter cast and period dramas will also be happy to know that, after serious delays, preparations have begun for the second season of Gentleman Jack, with Gemma Jones (Madam Pomfrey) returning as Aunt Anne.
While we begin the wait, we can taste a bit of Downton this holiday season as The Official Downton Abbey Christmas Cookbook hits both physical and digital bookshelves on October 29. Preorder your copy now on Amazon. All you need is a couple of strapping footmen to serve the dishes.