The beloved upstairs-downstairs franchise sees Dockery reprising her role as Lady Mary.
Nearly three years after the sprawling cast of Downton Abbey reunited for the franchise’s first official movie, Michelle Dockery and her many co-stars are coming back together for the anticipated sequel, Downton Abbey: A New Era. While promoting her new Netflix series, Anatomy of a Scandal, the actress opened up to ET’s Lauren Zima about the new film and the possibility of more in the future.
With A New Era, “it felt right after the first film did so well. It felt like naturally we would do a second one,” Dockery said, noting the box office success of the 2019 installment, which led creator Julian Fellowes to revisit the upstairs-downstairs world once again.
In the sequel, which hits theaters in May, Dockery reprises her role as Lady Mary Talbot, one of the members of the Crawley family, which continues to reside at the Yorkshire country estate. This time, as things pick up nine months after the first film, Mary plays host to director Jack Barber (Hugh Dancy), who decides to make a movie at Downton while the rest of the family sets off for the French Riviera.
While much of the original cast has been confirmed to return as various members of the family and household staff, one name has remained inexplicably absent from the list: Matthew Goode, who joined the series in season 5 as Henry Talbot and eventually becomes Mary’s husband. In the first film, it’s revealed that they have a daughter named Caroline as the character makes a brief appearance in the final few scenes.
When asked if audiences will see Henry in A New Era, Dockery said, “Possibly.” Of course, his absence will make Barber’s presence at Downton all that more intriguing.
“It’s always like herding casts because there are so many actors,” she went on to explain. “It takes a while to get everybody in one place, at the right time. But we did it, which is great.”
Despite how difficult it is to get so many cast members back together, Dockery is open to doing more films. “I mean, it feels like as long as there’s an appetite out there,” she said. “The audience seems to just keep wanting to see more of Downton.”
She added, “I love doing it and I love playing Mary, so we’ll see.”
In the meantime, fans can catch Dockery in a far different role as lawyer Kate Woodcroft in David E. Kelley’s Netflix adaptation of Sarah Vaughan’s political thriller co-starring Sienna Miller and Naomi Scott. After the media catches wind of an affair, the life of a minister in Parliament and his family becomes a scandal with Kate leading the prosecution into James Whitehouse’s (Rupert Friend) marriage and political career.
Following Kelley’s success with Big Little Lies and The Undoing, it was Dockery’s chance to team up with the prolific producer. “I’m a big fan, so that was huge for me,” she said, explaining that “he tells those stories so well. And I think there’s a real appetite for these perfect lives imploding into scandal.”
She added, “It just felt like nothing I’ve ever read before. I flew through the scripts when I first read them… It’s a bingeable show. So, it was a no-brainer for me. I just had to be part of it.”
While the material is based on a popular book, Dockery promises that there will be plenty of surprises in Anatomy of a Scandal, which debuts Friday, April 15 on Netflix. “Suddenly something else happens and it propels you to the end,” she teased. “It’s a great dynamic and one that’s used a lot in David E. Kelley’s dramas. There are always these twists that keep you interested.”