‘Downton Abbey 3’ Film to Bring Back Familiar Faces Alongside Slate of Newcomers

Downton Abbey

The cast for the third 'Downton Abbey' feature film, announced on Monday, includes returning favourites Hugh Bonneville (Robert Crawley) and Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Talbot). Photo: Ben Blackall / © 2021 Focus Features, LLC

The Downton Abbey franchise is hitting the big screen again.

The production of the franchise’s third feature film was announced on the official Downton Abbey social media channels on Monday, along with a video of the cast reuniting at a table read for the latest instalment.

“It feels amazing, a tad emotional,” Michelle Dockery, 42, who plays Lady Mary Talbot, says in the clip. “It’s wonderful all to be back together again. You come back together and It’s like no time has past at all.”

The new film is written by Downton creator and Academy-Award winner Julian Fellowes, 74, while Simon Curtis, 64, is returning to direct after helming 2022’s Downton Abbey: A New Era.

Joining Fellowes in producing the film are BAFTA and Emmy Award-winners Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge – both of whom produced the original Downton Abbey TV series.

Set in the early 20th century, the original series followed the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants between 1912 and 1926. The show enjoyed a six-season run from 2010 to 2015.

The franchise then managed to pick up where the series left off with the first  Downton Abbey film in 2019, which was set in 1927, while the 2022 sequel, Downton Abbey: A New Era covers the following year.

While no hints have been given as to the plot of the new film, fans can expect to see many of their familiar faces return. Joining Dockery are Downton Abbey staples Hugh Bonneville (Robert Crawley), 60, Elizabeth McGovern (Cora Crawley), 62, Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith Crawley), 37, Jim Carter (Mr. Carson), 75, Phyllis Logan (Mrs. Hughes), 68, Robert James-Collier (Thomas Barrow), 47, Joanne Froggatt (Anna Bates), 43, Brendan Coyle (John Bates), 61, and Allen Leech (Tom Branson), 42.

Hugh Bonneville (Robert Crawley), Elizabeth McGovern (Cora Grantham) and Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith Hexham) return in Downton Abbey 3. Photo: Ben Blackall / © 2022 Focus Features LLC


Meanwhile, fresh off of his Oscar nominated role in The Holdovers, Paul Giamatti, 56,  joins the cast, reprising his role from the Downton television series as Cora’s brother Harold Levinson. And Dominic West, 54, who most recently starred as Prince Charles in the final two seasons of The Crown, returns in this film as silent movie star Guy Dexter – a role he played in Downton Abbey: A New Era.

The film will also welcome newcomers Joely Richardson, 59, Alessandro Nivola, 51, Simon Russel Beale, 63, and Arty Froushan, 31, but no information has been released as to who they will play.

The last Downton Abbey film in 2022 saw the Crawleys and their staff welcome a film crew and movie stars to Downton for the filming of a new silent movie. It also saw the family visit a villa in the south of France with a surprising connection to Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham’s past. Most significantly, the film completed the character arch for the quick-witted Countess and fan favourite played by Maggie Smith, 89, with the character’s death.

Penelope Wilton as Isobel Merton and Maggie Smith as Violet Grantham, the Dowager Countess – a fan favourite who died in the last Downton Abbey film. Photo: Ben Blackall / ©2022 Focus Features LLC


“We had several goodbyes,” Bonneville, who played the Dowager Countess’ son throughout the franchise, told Business Insider of his final days on set with Smith. “We marked the end of shooting in the dining room, which was a behemoth of a set to film in and we had worked in it for months on end if you put all the scenes together. So that was a significant day, her last dining room scene.

“Her actual last day on the film was another farewell. It was a tiny little scene I wasn’t involved in,” he added.  “It gave me time during the departure scene to reflect that I’d worked with her on and off for 12 years. She’d been my mum and it was quite a privilege.”