Titled simply Downton Abbey, the film is an extension of the story of the Crawley family and their servants told across six seasons of television on PBS’ Masterpiece here in America. In the teaser, we see the interior of the Crawley’s home (in a style much like the opening credits in the series) followed by sweeping shots of their grandiose estate – all while a haunting new rendition of the show’s theme (“Suite” by John Lunn) plays.
As early as the series sixth and final season, which aired stateside in 2016, there were rumors of a film. Executive producer Gareth Neame tells EW the idea first started percolating amongst the production team as far back as season five. “We felt we were quitting while we were ahead…We wanted to go while people still wanted more,” he says of the decision to end the massively successful run after six years. “It was a way to sweeten the pill for the millions of fans around the world — the show was coming to an end, but we hoped to put a movie together.”
The rumors were finally confirmed this past July when it was announced there would indeed be a Downton Abbey film, and shooting began in early September, wrapping just a few weeks ago. Plot details have been scarce apart from what’s on offer in this teaser. All of the principal cast from the sixth season have returned, as well as over half the original crew.
“We had to do everything that all the fans wanted, but we had to do something that was fresh and original,” offers Neame. “We wanted a kind of storyline and sense of scale and production value that exceeded even the very high production values the TV show was remembered for. On the big screen, it just had to look a little bit more lavish and a little bit bigger and better.”
In summation, it will be the thing many of the residents of Downton Abbey crave most — an offering that is comforting and familiar. “It’s a return to these really beloved characters and seeing them in new sets of circumstances and how they will deal with those, and hopefully, a good mix of the drama, comedy, and romance that had been the mainstays of it all,” concluded Neame.
Fans still have a while to wait for the return of their favorite characters — Downton Abbey will hit theaters on Sept. 20, 2019.