With Planet Earth’s favorite British period drama drawing to a close, most likely, on Christmas Day in the UK, filming has begun on what will be the tentative definite final farewell to the Crawleys, the Granthams and those who work for them. As you can imagine, in a technologically advanced world that would make the Dowager Countess’ head spin (you know, that whole electricity thing), rumors are flying as to what has transpired since we last left Downton and what lies ahead for those who reside both above and below the stairs. The cast and crew are quite the tight-lipped bunch as per co-creator/writer Julian Fellowes strict instructions but we do know of a few bits and bobs, at this point, according to ‘official’ reports and as reported on by Digital Spy.
First and foremost, according to series creator/writer Julian Fellowes, the sixth and final series of the period drama will air in the autumn and be set in 1925, some six months after last year’s Christmas special and will see Lady Rose (Lily James) moving to America with new husband Atticus (Matt Barber). The move was, most likely, partly due to the fact that a number of immediate family members on both sides refused to accept the fact that Lady Rose and Atticus were to be married and go our of their way to ‘speak now’ as opposed to ‘forever hold their peace’.
Tom (Allen Leach) has moved to Boston to work with his cousin and start a new life with Sybie. Guessing this was, in part, prompted by his endless feeling that he still does not belong at Downton no matter what Robert and Cora say. There are rumors that both will be back, at least, for the Christmas finale although James’ exploding Hollywood career may shoot that rumor down before it gets spread too much further.
Before you think the entire Crawley family band is breaking up, expect the return of all the current main cast including Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham), Jim Carter (Mr. Carson), Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary), Joanne Froggatt (Anna Bates), Rob-James Collier (Thomas Barrow), Phyllis Logan (Mrs. Hughes), Sophie McShera (Daisy), Elizabeth McGovern (Lady Cora), Lesley Nicol (Mrs. Patmore), Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith), Penelope Wilton (Isobel Crawley) and, of course, Dame Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess.
Most of the rest of the discussions seem to revolve around how the series will come to a close. Will everything be tied up is a nice bow (it is Christmas, after all) or will a few subplots be left hanging on the chance we might sea big screen version of Downton Abbey in our future.
There has also been a fair amount of talk about a complete new series for the small screen that would either jet ahead to the 1970’s with Sybie and George at the helm or even a prequel which would tell the story of how the Earl and Countess of Grantham first met complete with younger actors playing the parts made famous by Elizabeth McGovern and Hugh Bonneville,
Finally, in a bit of non-Downton Abbey/Downton Abbey news, with Fellowes headed to the dark side, there has been talk that a young version of Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess may make an appearance in his upcoming drama The Gilded Age for NBC. The series will follow millionaires living in New York City during the 1880s, and Fellowes said: “Robert Grantham would be in his early teens, Cora would be a child. A young Violet could make an appearance.”
Sounds to me like The Fonz is already putting on his water skies and the series hasn’t even begun if you ask me…but, since no one did, we are left to consider the possibility.