ET has an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the franchise's upcoming sequel.
Ahead of Downton Abbey: A New Era’s debut in theaters on May 20, ET has an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming sequel thanks to a peek inside the all-new official film companion. Written by Emma Marriott, who authored the companion for the franchise’s first movie, the new book captures the lavish and sprawling world of the Crawley family and their household staff.
In addition to revealing the official cover, ET has the first look at five spreads from the book that teases what’s in store for the upcoming film, including a regal wedding, a grand journey to the South of France and a star-studded movie set inside Downton.
“It is always a thrill to write about the extraordinary work that goes into the making of a Downton Abbey movie. The best of the best work behind and in front of the camera and the attention to detail is quite breathtaking,” Marriott says. “This time around not only are we treated to a family wedding, but we also gain a fascinating insight into early film-making and follow members of the household to the exotic climes of the French Riviera, where they learn more about the mysterious past of the Dowager Countess, Violet.”
The author adds, “As ever with Downton Abbey, love and the bonds of family run at its very heart but there is intrigue along the way – and the costumes, from Lady Edith’s daring palazzo pants to the shimmering outfits of screen goddess Myrna Dalgleish, are to-die-for!”
Picking up nine months after the first film, A New Era will see Tom Branson (Allen Leech) getting married to Lucy Smith (Tuppence Middleton), helping to secure the Crawleys’ fortune and fate at Downton. The nuptials look to be quite the affair, with the entire family and staff present for the union, while Lucy is seen wearing a diamond and pearl tiara likely passed down to her from Lady Bagshaw (Imelda Staunton).
When Leech last spoke with ET about the couple's future, he said it “would be great to see where they go. To see where he and Lucy end up, it would be incredible.”
Not only do they get to celebrate in style, but it also seems that their honeymoon may be wrapped up in the family’s unexpected excursion to the South of France, where the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) has inherited a villa under mysterious circumstances.
The opportunity to take the family outside of Yorkshire allowed for the franchise to change the look and feel of the series. Most notably, that will be seen in the vibrant and colorful fashions that embrace the Mediterranean decor of the French Riviera and the increasingly modern times the family continues to confront. They’ll also be greeted by an old friend of Violet's, played by franchise newcomer Nathalie Baye.
Meanwhile, back at the estate, the remaining staff are confronted by unexpected visitors after a film set takes over Downton after director Jack Barber (Hugh Dancy) decides to make a movie there. “That’s a whole alien world that descends on that house,” teased Lesley Nicol, who returns as Mrs. Patmore. “So, it’s kind of fabulous and fascinating and interesting. But then there are a few surprises in that storyline that you won’t see coming.”
In addition to the director, the staff must contend with the film’s stars, Guy Dexter (Dominic West) and Myrna Dalgleish (Laura Haddock), who bring some unexpected glamour and intrigue to the household.
“It’s absolutely jam-packed full of stuff,” Nicol said of the film, directed by Simon Curtis and written by creator Julian Fellowes. “There’s so much going on. I mean, it’s funny. I laughed out loud a lot. There’s stuff that made me cry because there’s some romance and stuff you don’t expect. I suppose that’s what I also love about it. I mean, I know what happens, but there’ll be stuff that the audience couldn’t possibly foresee.”
In addition to Downton Abbey: A New Era The Official Film Companion’s in-depth look at the sequel and The Official Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea Cookbook, which captures the essence of teatime at Downton, fans of the franchise can also check out the brand new rewatch podcast, Downton Abbey: The Official Podcast, hosted by Jacqueline Coley and Anita Rani. The new series will feature exclusive interviews and even more behind-the-scenes to one of the world’s most beloved historical dramas.
Downton Abbey: A New Era: The Official Film Companion from Weldon Owen will be available wherever books are sold starting May 20.