The Crawley family is making its way to theaters with a Downton Abbey feature film, which is now targeting a September 2019 release date. Serving as follow-up the the series finale which aired in 2015, the theatrical release will bring back nearly the entire cast of the hit, award-winning series, as the central family and their palatial estate must once again contend with evidence of an ever-changing world as time continues its relentless march forward.
A feature film was in the offing as early as 2017, but with such a large ensemble cast to wrangle and time needed for series creator Julian Fellowes to develop a worthy script, the official announcement was only made a few months ago. That seemed to be the last of the major roadblocks for the upcoming movie, as production finally got underway in late August. The plan, now, apparently, is for the film to have a late summer or early fall release in theaters next year.
The news was made in an official announcement, with comments from Peter Kujawski, chairman of Focus Features. Kujawski said:
“Since the series ended, fans of Downton have long been waiting for the Crawley family’s next chapter. We’re thrilled to join this incredible group of filmmakers, actors and craftspeople, led by Julian Fellowes and Gareth Neame, in bringing back the world of Downton to the big screen next September.”
It might be debatable whether or not audiences were clamoring for more of the Crawley family, but it will be interesting to see how Downton Abbey translates to the big screen. The series joins a select group of television series to make the jump to feature films with the original cast still in place. Regardless where you land with regard to how satisfactory the series finale was, the idea of seeing the series and its many characters in theaters does have a certain appeal, so hopefully Fellowes has come up with a story deserving of such a move.
Though it could have made for a significant box office draw during the holidays, releasing the Downton Abbey movie in September also makes sense. The month typically serves as a cooling off period between the frenzy of the summer movie season and the build up to “awards season.” Whether or not that means Downton doesn’t think it’ll be in consideration once the nominations are read isn’t exactly clear. At any rate, fans will have to wait until next September to find out for themselves.