As far as successful period dramas go, Downton Abbey has done better than most. A hugely popular TV series, which was followed by a hit movie, fans just cannot seem to get enough of the ups and downs of the Crawley family estate. So when Downton Abbey 2 was announced along with its Christmas release date, those awaiting more from Julian Fellowes' sterling drama have been hoping for some sign of things moving along. Today, they got just that with the first set photo showing that filming is underway.
The official Downton Abbey account and Focus Features, who are behind the movie, posted the image on their Twitter feed, which shows action about to get underway on filming of a scene in the kitchen of the estate. While a clapperboard dominates the image, around the edge we can see the blurry faces of some of the well-loved characters who have ensured the smooth running of the household over six seasons of the TV show and the subsequent big screen outing. There are no Lords or Ladies of the manor to be seen in this snap, but it is only a matter of time before we are hopefully treated to some more behind the scenes snaps.
While not much is given away in the photo, it is possible to see the out of focus face of Allan Leech as Thomas Branson. While it is hard to tell who else is in the shot, we do know that Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern and of course, Dame Maggie Smith are all returning with the rest of the original cast, along with the new additions of Dominic West, Laura Haddock, Hugh Dancy and Nathalie Baye. With the movie clearly well into production, we can hopefully expect out first official clips coming in the near future.
The announcement was greeted with great enthusiasm by the show's followers on Twitter. One user said, "That photo makes me absolutely giddy--- in an internalized, restrained elegant way, of course." Another added, "OMG HOW DID I JUST FIND OUT ABOUT THIS, IM SO EXCITED", while a third gushed, "YES OMG I'M GONNA CRY MY HEART IS EXPLODING CAN'T WAIT."
Downton Abbey first aired in the UK in 2010, and arrived on PBS in January the following year as part of its Masterpiece Classic anthology. The series depicted life at a fictional country estate in Yorkshire, England and was set between the years of 1912 and 1926, charting the domestic lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants. During the six seasons, many historical events were interwoven into the story, such as the sinking of the Titanic, the outbreak of World War I and the Spanish Influenza pandemic. The movie, which was released in 2019 acted as direct sequel to the series, picking up events in 1927 and centered on a visit to Downton by King George V and Queen Mary. There are currently no details available on the plot of the new movie, but we would expect to see a small skip forward in time towards the end of the 1920s or early 1930s.
Downton Abbey 2 will be released in theaters on December 22, 2021.