Much like death and taxes, the only thing that anyone can truly count on to happen these days is that right around this time of year, two months into filming of the new series marks that it’s open season on the annual Downton Abbey rumor mill. For the past four years, like clockwork, official production stills and/or video mixed with the customary rampant storyline speculation starts to leak out to viewers via the Internets. The first ‘unofficial’ photo to appear within the last several weeks was from the twitter feed of a beaming Richard E. Grant, which looked like it was taken straight out of his days on another Julian Fellowes project, Gosford Park. As we head into series 5, which will premiere this Autumn on ITV1 in the UK and on Sunday, January 4, 2015 on PBS’Masterpiece series, the rumors are beginning to fly….
The first rumor to step up to the plate involves the free-spirited, jazz-loving Lady Rose, played by Lily James. According to ‘reports’, James will be the latest high-profile departure from the show at the end of the upcoming season, following in the footsteps of Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sybil), Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley) and Siobhan Finneran, who played the great Mrs. O’Brien. We won’t even mention last year’s departure of the evil Nanny West after only one episode. On the upside, James will not be killed off in a shocking car accident or die in childbirth according to the ever-popular ‘unnamed Downton source’ but will merely leave the show (maybe she’ll head to America in search of Jack Ross) with the possibility of returning for the Christmas special next series.
As we mentioned last Summer, James will be heading the cast of Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella. With the Disney film is set to release nationally around Easter 2015, it is being rumored that series 5 of Downton Abbey will be her last given the commitments necessary for her to be available to promote the film during what should be the timeframe for the filming of series 6 of Downton Abbey to begin. Before anyone thinks we’re floating the rumor out there that there will be a series 6, that has NOT been confirmed as to yet so, yes, it is just that…a rumor.