It's time to dust off the jewels and pull out the satin gloves again as the cast of British historical drama Downton Abbey return for a sequel to the hit 2019 film this December.
"We're thrilled to announce that Julian Fellowes and the entire Downton cast are back for #DowntonAbbey2," the Downton Abbey Twitter account posted on Monday, adding the premiere is set for Christmas Day.
New cast members will include English actors Dominic West, Hugh Dancy and Laura Haddock, as well as French actress Nathalie Baye.
Created by Fellowes, Downton Abbey first premiered as a TV series in 2010 in the UK and revolved around the aristocratic Crawley family and their extended army of servants. The show was a massive ratings hit when it premiered in the US the next year, immediately garnering a global fan base, and ran for six seasons. The final episode was shown on Christmas Day in 2015.
During its run, Downton Abbey earned many awards and broke a number of records, including the most nominated TV show in Emmy Awards history, with 27 nominations after two seasons.
The film version, which released in 2019, was set about two years after the events of the show's final episode, and focused on a royal visit – that of King George V and Queen Mary's – to the Crawley estate. The $20 million film was a major success, and went on to make $134 million globally, according to Box Office Mojo.
While rumours of a sequel have been doing the rounds since the first movie released, fans were naturally elated by the confirmation.
“This is just what we need to look forward to in these difficult times,” one fan tweeted.
“I literally am so excited! Downton is my forever favourite show! Even my ringtone!” another pointed out.
Some fans wondered if Dame Maggie Smith, whose character was one of the highlights of the show, will return for the sequel. Smith’s Violet Crawley made a shocking revelation regarding her health in the last film.
“Well hopefully Maggie Smith too. We didn’t see her die on screen,” a fan posted.
In a recent interview, Fellowes seemed to calmed fans’ nerves about the beloved actress’ character.
"We should remember that at the end of the film, Maggie was by no means dead," he said. "You imagine Violet is on her way out, but that decision hasn't been reached.”
When asked about the possible film sequel, lead actor Hugh Bonneville, who plays the Earl of Grantham Robert Crawley, told BBC Radio 2 in February that the entire cast was raring to go again.
“There is certainly the intention to do it. We would love to do it, we are desperate to do it, and I think it’s the sort of pleasurable release of a movie like the first one was, that audiences would enjoy after all of this mess we have been through,” he said.