Keep calm, and carry on. Daily Mail reports it has confirmed the Downton Abbey TV show sequel will be a feature film, and Dame Maggie Smith will return as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham. The news outlet reports, “Smith has signed on to appear in a big screen version of the much-loved period drama.” The sixth season and series finale aired on ITV on Christmas, 2015, and on PBS on March 6, 2016.
Michael Fox, who played footman Andrew “Andy” Parker, told Daily Mail that Smith would reprise her role in the Downton Abbey sequel for the big screen. Although on Downton, Andy was sweet on Daisy Mason (Sophie McShera), in real life, he has been linked to Lady Edith’s alter ego, Laura Carmichael.
When the series ended, the now 81 year old Smith told Graham Norton she was glad, because by her account Violet had to be about 110 years old. She found the timeline incredible, so the news comes as a bit of a surprise. Watch Daily Mail‘s interview with both Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, and actor Michael Fox, after the jump.
Smith’s Downton Abbey role has garnered the two-time Oscar winner, four Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She has won thrice for Downton, once in 2011, again in 2012, and for the third time on Sunday, September 18, for the 2015-2016 television season — Downton‘s last. Smith previously won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Mini-Series or Movie in 2003, for HBO‘s movie, My House in Umbria.
In discussing the Downton Abbey movie, the reporter framed the question as if production would “fingers crossed,” start in 2017. Fellowes did not disabuse him of that notion.
When talking to Fox, the reporter said, “A movie without Dame Maggie is inconceivable.” When Fox agreed, the reporter continued, saying, “So they’re not going to push on the timeline too much.” Again the actor nodded.
When asked about the importance of having Smith in the film, Fox said, “She elevates the show to something else. She’s such a legend.”
While not included in the video, according to the report, Fox also said, “The film without her would still be good with all the other actors, but it puts a stamp of quality with her in it.” We agree.
What do you think? Did you watch the Downton Abbey TV series on PBS or ITV? Are you more excited for a Downton Abbey sequel film with Maggie Smith in it?