Downton Abbey has been considered a massive cultural phenomenon ever since it first aired on PBS in 2010. The widely-watched historical drama series attracted 9.9 million viewers by the time its sixth and final season premiered in 2015 but, last September, a feature film continuation was released and hit theaters by storm, grossing $191.8 million worldwide to become Focus Feature‘s highest grossing film. The period drama centers around the aristocratic Crawley family and their domestic servants in a fictional Yorkshire country estate during the early twentieth century. The film, starring Downton Abbey’s original cast, was set in 1927 and saw the Crawley’s preparing for a royal visit from the King and Queen of England, ultimately introducing a whirlwind of drama, romance, and scandals that die-hard fans had grown to love.
Now the franchise shows no signs of backing down. According to Deadline, Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes will start working on a sequel film once he is finished writing the HBO drama The Gilded Age. Fellowes confirmed that the sequel is currently in pre-production and is expected to start shooting later this year. At the Winter TCA press tour session to promote Epix and his ITV drama Belgaria, Fellowes was asked when he would start writing the movie sequel, and he responded with: “Give us a break, gov. Not until I’ve finished the scripts for The Gilded Age.”
Although development will be pushed back until Fellowes’ other projects are completed, the idea of a sequel remains promising, as producer Gareth Neame and even Downton Abbey’s cast members have confirmed conversations about making the second film.