The producer of Downton Abbey has addressed the film’s shocking revelation.
Based on ITV’s period drama series, the long-awaited Downton film is playing in cinemas around the world now.
We’d advise you stop reading here if you’ve not yet seen the movie!
In a tender scene towards the end, the Dowager Countess admits to Lady Mary that she “may not have long to live,” but reassures her granddaughter that she is “the future of Downton.”
“I’m leaving the family and the place that I treasure in talented hands,” Lady Violet tells Mary.
Downton Abbey producer Gareth Neame has been chatting to EW about why they decided it was time to kill off Maggie Smith’s character.
He joked: “It was my decision because I thought it’s taken us a while to persuade Maggie to do the film and I wanted to demonstrate we wouldn’t ask her again.”
Neame then added: “But more to the point, it was about having a very tender scene between her and the Mary character and the idea of the baton being passed from the one matriarch to the next matriarch, from one generation to the next.
“The idea that they’re all just really tenants in the property and it is their duty to pass on, [and] the next generation to take over after them.”
Apparently there was never a plan to have Violet die on screen in the movie, however.
Neame explained: “We’ve got a nice, tender, and bittersweet moment. It’s very bad news, but the connection these two women have with each other, the similarities between them, the idea that Mary, as Violet says, Mary will be the old lady telling everyone what to do in the future.
“It’s sad, but there’s also something uplifting because it’s about the love within the family. It’s still a happy ending to the film although it’s really not news we want to hear.”
Neame then sums perfectly: “If the character actually died, that would’ve just been very, very sad and not really very Downton.”
Hugh Bonneville, who plays the Earl of Grantham, has suggested there could be many more Downton Abbey films ahead, saying the franchise “could run and run.”
The Downton Abbey movie is available to pre-order on DVD on Amazon.