The Downton Abbey TV series finale aired on PBS last night. As he did when Downton ended on ITV, on Christmas Night, 2015, creator, EP, and writer Julian Fellowes is doing the media rounds, discussing the end of the six season series, and the possibility of a movie or other sequel. If you’re in the States and missed the finale, last night, catch up on PBS.org.
While the Downton Abbey finale gave closure for most of the characters, including Edith (Laura Carmichael), Mary (Michelle Dockery), Thomas Barrow (Rob James-Collier), it had an open-ended feel, that should make revisiting the characters in a sequel feel natural.
WARNING: Downton Abbey series finale spoilers, below.
The New York Times asked Fellowes if had had considered putting a more definitive ending for Downton Abbey. Here’s his answer:
A: You have to remember, “Downton” was essentially an optimistic show — that on the whole, these were decent people doing their best, whether they were upstairs or below. And I felt that we had to have an ending that went on in the tone of that warmth. There was a wonderful tweet on Twitter that said if Edith Crawley isn’t happy by Christmas night, “Julian Fellowes better sleep with one eye open.” That was the fairly general feeling. I wasn’t prepared to buck it.
Q: So, no tearful scene set around the deathbed of the Dowager Countess?
A: I don’t think it’s that sort of show. I just watched the whole of “West Wing,” and then after that, the last season of “Mad Men.” I’m drowning in endings. “Mad Men” was a darker show than “Downton,” and it had happy endings. Even to the point of Elisabeth Moss suddenly deciding in one scene that she’s in love with the guy who’s working in her department, so even she could have a happy ending. You have been with these people so long, you want to feel their immediate future, at any rate, is reasonably benevolent.
When the NYT asked how it feels to have be done with the series, Fellowes brought up the possibility of a movie.
A: There may be a movie — they still haven’t decided — in which case we’ll jump back in with them. But I can’t pretend it’s not at all strange, because for six or seven years of my life, the show completely dominated almost every waking moment. I would start writing it in September and I would write until July. To have that suddenly removed from my routine is very strange.
Q: If there were other “Downton” follow-ups — a TV spin-off; a musical — could they be pursued without your involvement?
A: I’m sort of half of it. Although it’s all quite nebulous. Because when you write something, there is a moment where the production company takes over the rights. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be intransigent. These things have a natural rhythm, and if the right thing came along — a film, I would definitely be part of — I would enjoy that.
Q: So the TV finale is not the end of the “Downton” story, as far as you’re concerned?
A: Not necessarily. Let’s see what happens. I like the idea of seeing it as something that is continuing, as opposed to finishing with Manderley burning down and that story’s over. I want to feel that in some part of the atmosphere, Mrs. Patmore is taking in her paying guests and Mary is wrestling with farming methods. I like that idea.
Did you watch the Downton Abbey TV show finale? Did you find it a satisfying conclusion to the sixth season and to the series? What do you think about a Downton Abbey sequel, spin-off or other follow up projects? Let us know, below.