Here are our biggest questions from the Downton Abbey movie. The feature film continues the acclaimed Downton Abbey TV series, created by Julian Fellowes, and reunites almost the entire cast, including Hugh Bonneville as Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham, Elizabeth McGovern as Countess Cora Crawley, Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Talbot, Laura Carmichael as Edith, Marchioness of Hexam, and Maggie Smith as Violet, the Dowager Countess.
In the Downton Abbey movie, which is set in 1927, the Crawley family receives exciting news that King George V (Simon Jones) and Queen Mary (Geraldine James) are coming to stay at Downton. As the family upstairs prepares for their royal guests, Downton's servants are under siege by the King's household, led by Mr. Wilson, the Royal Butler (David Haig). Under Wilson's orders, Downton's servants are barred from serving the royal family, which leads them to turn the tables and fight back against the Royal household to defend Downton Abbey's honor. In addition, Lady Violet learns that her distant cousin Lady Maud Bagshaw (Imelda Staunton) plans to leave her inheritance, the Brumpton Estate, to her maid Lucy (Tuppance Middleton) instead of the next-in-line, Robert Crawley.
The Downton Abbey movie juggles two dozen characters and multiple concurrent storylines while also managing to be a seamless continuation of the beloved TV series. However, with a film so intricate and complex, some aspects of the plot and character details may seem confusing or incomplete. With that in mind, here are the biggest questions we have from the Downton Abbey movie.
10. Will Barrow's Arrest Stay A Secret From The Crawleys?
Thomas Barrow (Robert James-Collier) suffered a new humiliation in the Downton Abbey movie - but he also made a couple of discoveries that heartened him. Barrow is a gay man who has long suffered being forced to keep it a secret, but he learned that there are places where gay men congregate freely. Unfortunately, a few minutes after Barrow arrived at one such secret nightclub, it got raided by the police and Barrow ended up in jail. But luckily, his new friend Richard Ellis, the King's valet (Max Brown), used his clout to get Barrow released - and Barrow learned Ellis is also gay.
Ellis' status as part of the Royal Household freed Barrow, but the fact that Thomas is also the butler to the Earl of Grantham worked in his favor. While Barrow's secret is safe with Ellis, surely Thomas will find ways to visit other gay nightclubs now that his eyes have been opened. But will the Crawleys eventually learn Barrow was arrested while they were dining with the King and Queen?
9. What Happened To Carson's Illness?
The reason why Carson (Jim Carter) was forced to retire as Downton's butler - he has palsy - wasn't mentioned in the Downton Abbey movie. Carson was seen adjusted to his new life but, to his wife Mrs. Hughes' (Phyllis Logan) chagrin, Carson didn't hesitate to return to action the moment Lady Mary asked him to temporarily resume his place as butler during the royal visit.
Is Carson actually cured? It's not likely, and the Downton Abbey movie subtly acknowledged Carson's illness: he didn't carry anything due to his palsy and despite Carson's best intentions, he was also not at tip-top shape judging from how Mr. Wilson, the Royal Butler (or the Page of the Back Stairs, as he likes to be called) steamrolled over him. But in the end, Carson happily returned to his retirement secure that Downton's honor was defended.
8. Why Weren't Lady Rose And Aunt Rosamund Invited To The Royal Visit?
The absence of Lady Rose Aldridge (Lily James) and Aunt Rosamund Painswick (Samantha Bond) in the Downton Abbey movie is a bit glaring - why were neither invited to the King's visit? The logical reason behind Rose not being present is that she lives in America with her husband Atticus (Matt Barber) and their daughter Victoria. When the Crawleys learned the King was coming to Downton, they only had two weeks to prepare. It's likely that wouldn't have been enough time for Rose and her family to make arrangements to cross the Atlantic. After all, Mary's husband Henry Talbot (Matthew Goode) also missed the royal visit and he only made it back from Chicago in time for the Royal Ball.
However, Aunt Rosamund lives in London so it shouldn't have been a problem for her to take the train to Downton as she has so many times in the past. Perhaps Rosamund was away traveling, but either way, her whereabouts weren't mentioned and she was outright ignored in the Downton Abbey movie.
7. Will The Royal Household Keep Their Humiliation A Secret?
Downton Abbey's staff utterly bamboozled the Royal Household and served the monarchs dinner themselves, but will the King's men and women really take their humiliation lying down? Thanks to the mastermind of Anna Bates (Joanne Froggatt), Downton's servants pulled off an incredible hoax that got the Royal footmen sent back to London while Mr. Wilson and Monsieur Courbet, the Royal Chef (Philippe Spall) were kept out of the way.
The next day, Carson played clever mind games with Wilson, Courbet, and Mrs. Webb (Richenda Carey), the Queen's maid, instructing them not to mention that they fell for such a hoax to "spare them the humilation". It's quite likely Downton's staff will continue to get away with their deception, but it's also hard to believe the Royal Household wouldn't somehow retaliate and get revenge.
6. Will Daisy Marry Andy In Downton Abbey Movie 2?
Daisy (Sophie McShera) kept avoiding Andy's (Michael C. Fox) pleas to set a date for their wedding because she wasn't sure about him but after he confessed he broke the house's water heater - thereby putting the entire royal visit in jeopardy because he was jealous - Daisy realized they were more alike than she realized. So, Daisy and Andy will indeed be the next of Downton Abbey's servants get married but will it happen if there's a Downton Abbey 2?
Since the Downton Abbey TV series began, Daisy has had one of the show's most remarkable character arcs. Starting off as a poor, young scullery maid, Daisy literally grew up on the show, became assistant cook, gave herself an education, and she's become a confident woman who knows her own mind. Daisy even helped Andy overcome his illiteracy. Hopefully, Daisy and Andy get their happy ending and Downton Abbey fans will get to celebrate their happy day if there's another Downton Abbey film.
5. Why Did Major Chetwode Need Tom Branson Anyway?
The circumstances of Major Chetwode's (Stephen Campbell Moore) assassination plot in the Downton Abbey movie are a bit confusing, especially in terms of what he actually needed Tom Branson (Allen Leech) for. Chetwode was an English revolutionary with Irish sympathies and he wanted to kill King George during the parade in his honor. Chetwode approached Branson because he's a known Irish socialist but it wasn't quite clear what he needed Branson for. After Chetwode told Branson to meet him at the parade and to come alone (Lady Mary tailed her brother-in-law), Chetwode left Branson behind and tried to shoot the king, until Tom stopped him.
What likely happened was that when Chetwode saw Lady Mary Crawley, he abandoned his original plan - and Branson - and went to kill the King himself. If Lady Mary hadn't appeared, Chetwode would have either attempted to coerce Tom into shooting the King or he would have done it and used Branson as the scapegoat. Either way, the dastardly plot failed thanks to Tom and Mary.
4. How Did Tom Not Know Who Princess Mary Was?
Tom Branson not only saved King George's life but he also inadvertently saved the marriage of Princess Mary (Kate Phillips) and her husband Henry Lascelles (Andrew Havill). Branson ran into Princess Mary outside of Downton and didn't know who she was. However, the princess knew who Tom Branson was and, after he spoke about how much his life has changed and his relationship with his late wife Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown-Findlay), Princess Mary realized she should try to save her own marriage.
But how did Tom not know that he was speaking to the Princess Royal? Branson said "he's not very good" at remembering who people are, but as a former Irish revolutionary who used to hate British aristocrats, he should definitely know who the Royal Family are. After all, Branson reads the newspapers and stays current on politics - if only to argue his corner against Lord Grantham. It doesn't really make sense that Tom Branson didn't recognize Princess Mary - but it was certainly convenient to the Downton Abbey movie's plot that he didn't.
3. Will Tom Marry Lucy And Inherit The Granby Estate?
The Downton Abbey movie ended with the spark of a new romance between Tom Branson and Lucy Smith, the daughter of Lady Maud Bagshaw. To the delight of Lady Violet Crawley, Branson marrying Lucy would mean that the Brumpton Estate and Lady Maud's family wealth would indirectly pass to Tom as Lucy's husband - a roundabout but still effective means for that inheritance to come into the Crawley family. All that's left to happen is Tom and Lucy's wedding - which will hopefully take place in a Downton Abbey movie sequel.
The Crawleys and Downton Abbey's fans agree that it's high time Tom found a new love interest. After all, Sybil died in Downton Abbey season 3 (which took place in 1920, 7 years before the events of the Downton Abbey movie) and Tom has been a widower ever since. Lucy seems like an ideal match for the ex-chauffeur-turned-gentleman and she's certainly a better fit to join the Crawley family than Tom's last love interest, Sarah Bunting (Daisy Lewis). It would also be ironic if Tom inherits Brumpton and becomes as rich as Lord Grantham.
2. Why Was Mary Having Doubts About Keeping Downton Open?
Thanks to the chaos caused by the King's visit, Lady Mary openly questioned whether it was worth all the trouble to keep Downton Abbey open. This is a big change of heart from when the Downton Abbey series ended, where Mary, as head of the estate, was firmly committed to preserving Downton for her son George. Why was Mary suddenly thinking of closing Downtown down?
The pressures of running Downton and looking after the needs of the county must have gotten to Mary in the 18 months between the Downtown Abbey TV series ending and the movie. Mary's problems were likely made worse by her husband Henry and her brother-in-law Tom being more interested in their cars and the fact that Carson, her greatest supporter, was no longer Downton's butler. (Not to mention Edith, her lifelong arch-rival, is now far richer and outranks her as the Marchioness of Hexam.) Thankfully, both Anna and Lady Violet got Mary to recommit herself to Downton Abbey's future.
1. Will Lady Violet Return For Downton Abbey Movie 2?
Fans want to know whether Lady Violet confession to Mary that she's dying means Maggie Smith is leaving Downton Abbey. Sadly, this is almost certainly the case. Maggie Smith was the most reluctant Downton Abbey castmember to sign on and she originally felt there was nothing else for her to do with the character. Thankfully, Julian Fellowes convinced Smith to return for the film and crafted a lovely and fitting passing of the torch between Violet and Mary, her true successor.
The Downton Abbey movie also very likely means that Maggie Smith has filmed her final scenes as the sharp-witted Dowager Countess. Given that Downton Abbey often utilizes time jumps, if there is a Downton Abbey Movie 2, it will likely be set after Lady Violet has already passed away. But at least fans can take heart that the Downton Abbey movie gave the Dowager Countess a perfect sendoff and that her indomitable spirit will continue to be felt if there are more Downton Abbey movies.
- Downton Abbey (2019) release date: Sep 20, 2019