Julian Fellowes has dealt Downton fans a disappointing blow on the franchise’s future.
Based on ITV’s hit period drama series, we’ve had two big screen outings for Downton Abbey so far.
Take a look behind the scenes here:
Downton Abbey: A New Era caught up with our beloved characters as they embarked on a lavish trip to the South of France in 1928, where they uncovered the mystery of the Dowager Countess’ newly inherited villa.
Of course, this wasn’t a huge surprise, as cinema-going habits have changed hugely in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Downton audience in particular is largely made up of an older demographic who have been harder to tempt back into cinemas, as 2022’s Death on the Nile also proved.
Many fans were quite happy to wait until the movie arrived on streaming services, with the wait time between cinema release and home release having narrowed significantly since 2020.
Either way, there’s no getting around the fact that A New Era has made less money than its predecessor.
So will there be a third movie?
Let’s go to Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes for his verdict first.
The Oscar-winning screenwriter told Sky News: “I don’t know the answer to that – the truth is if they want more and the cast want to do more, then I’m sure we’ll find a way of delivering more.”
Less optimistically, he stated: “But I don’t mind if it’s run its course, I think that’s fair enough, too.”
We know there are many viewers who feel that the departure of a certain major character means it’s the right time to say goodbye to Downton Abbey.
Fellowes himself sounds quite content to leave A New Era as the franchise’s finale, saying: “If we’ve given some enjoyment to people over the years, then that makes me very happy.”
He joked: “I’m a fairly simple soul really.”
One person who is keen to return for one last hurrah is Mrs Hughes star Phyllis Logan.
The Scottish actress previously commented: “I think the will is there among the makers of it and the participants as actors and the producers. I think there is a will, perhaps, to do another one.”
Logan said: “Three sounds a good number, doesn’t it? But you just never know.”
She jokingly asked fans to “put up a prayer, keep your fingers crossed, and hope we get another one.”
Also up for making Downton Abbey 3 happen is actor Kevin Doyle.
The Mr Molesley actor has said: “Julian always surprises us with the way he can come up with these extraordinary stories to bring us back together again. If there is going to be another episode, I look forward to reading it.”
Watch the trailer for Downton Abbey: A New Era here:
In the meantime, the cast are certainly keeping busy!
Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary) has joined the cast of a new ’70s drama from the creator of Peaky Blinders, Siobhan Finneran (O’Brien) is back in the final season of Happy Valley, and Lily James (Lady Rose) has a new romantic comedy movie out in January.
Downton Abbey: A New Era is available on DVD on Armazon.