“Downton Abbey” ended on the best possible note possible when it wrapped up after six seasons in 2016. Every character that fans cared about had a happy ending. People paired off — even the ones downstairs — and some had babies or babies on the way, a new business venture was started – and better yet, nobody was accused of murder.
Now comes word, according to a recent report, that a “Downton Abbey” movie will likely start cranking into production in 2018. Creator Julian Fellowes has been diligently working and reworking the script, and the cast has publicly stated that they’re game to return to Downton.
But where can it go from here? Short of resurrecting Matthew (Dan Stevens) from the grave for some creepy zombie triad love story, this was as tidy and pleasant an outcome as a fan could hope for. It will be intriguing to see what conflict the movie brings as a matter of course while storytelling but not tarnish the happiness that was granted the characters after so many hard times.
With very few clues to go on though, it’s not clear what will be in store for the Crawleys and friends when they return. The series’ timeline ended around 1925, and Fellowes had stated that he didn’t want to bring the story into the 1930s, so that leaves a window of five years for a time jump. Based on our knowledge of the characters and of general history, here are some of the things we’d want to see in the “Downton Abbey” movie:
The Crawleys in the Workforce
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This was already in the works with Tom (Allen Leech) and Henry (Matthew Goode) teaming up to be used cars salesmen. Hopefully that business is flourishing, and maybe even Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) will get involved because of course she’s not going to be a very involved mother even though she’ll have two (or more?) kids by the time the movie rolls around. We could see her taking charge of some innovative business ideas like driving around town to draw in female customers or arranging motor tours to Downton.
Mary has been and can be a really garbage person at times, but Matthew brought out the best in her. It’s no accident that Mary only after she’s with Henry, that she commits a completely selfless act by not stealing Edith’s wedding-day thunder to reveal she’s pregnant.
A Really Good, Modern Nanny Arc
With the exception of the horrid Nanny West, who had called poor little Sybbie a “wicked little cross-breed,” the nannies haven’t been part of the fold either upstairs or downstairs much. Although it’s accepted that the nobility don’t really have a hand rearing their children, this could all change. Edith is far more involved with her daughter Marigold anyway, and who knows how Tom’s experiences in America may have changed his views. Mary is probably the most traditional, but with the lines blurring between classes, the nanny or nannies could become an indispensable family friend. Or it could be a friend they have already.
Stop Before the Great Depression
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Given that this is probably going to be the last time we’ll see the “Downton” cast together since they’re no longer under contract and have been scattered to the winds on different projects, let’s not end on a really depressing (heh) note or cliffhanger. Besides, 1929 is also when frozen food was invented, and we really don’t want the knowledge of that to send the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) into an early grave. That said, the age of innovation can’t stop, won’t stop, and we’d love to see someone talking about the wonders of TV or talkies.
Ripped From the Headlines
While we don’t want to see the Great Depression happen, it’s always intriguing to see events of the day pierce the Crawley bubble. We can’t imagine that Edith (Laura Carmichael), the new Marchioness of Hexham, will fully give up journalism, especially since she’ll want to be a good role model to Marigold, and so we could see her getting involved with the biggest news items in some form. The British occupation of Shanghai and the resulting protests could create some new dramatic situations in which lines are drawn about imperialism. And we could see someone, maybe Daisy (Sophie McShera) or Edith getting pulled along the tide of women’s suffrage when women over 21 finally get the vote. Oh, and since Princess Elizabeth is born in 1926, there must be some diehard royalists who will be obsessed with her every move and appearance.
Thomas Barrow Tries to Find Love
Sadly, this wishlist item is probably one of the most difficult storylines to make happen given the time period. As with Rose’s interracial romance that “Downton” tried and failed to make happen, a straightforward romance for Thomas (Robert James-Collier) would be improbable or at least incredibly difficult, and we do not wish Thomas any more pain. Homosexuality at that time was seen as indecent and criminal, consent not even part of the discussion, and it’s no wonder Thomas had issues. That said, despite society’s condemnation, queer people still existed and yes, even loved. We’ll leave the logistics to Fellowes.
Anna and Bates Will Continue to Live Happily Ever After
Nothing bad can or will happen to them ever again. They get as many babies at they want and are very, very happy. We don’t care if that makes for boring storytelling. With rape, accusations of murder, jail time – and hey did we mention rape? – they’ve been through enough already. OK, maybe some new medical treatment can give Bates (Brendan Coyle) some false hope about losing his limp, but it doesn’t, and Anna (Joanne Froggatt) can tell him how much she loves him because of his bum leg anyway. But that’s it.
The Requisite Giant Celebration
It’s not “Downton Abbey” without a really big set piece gathering everyone together. While we wouldn’t say no to a ball, a picnic or outdoors village activity might be the best because that would mean the servants wouldn’t be required to work too much, even though so many of them have their own separate lives now. A picnic is more egalitarian. But for old times’ sakes, maybe Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol) and Daisy could bake something up again. And we’re not exactly sure what a happy and married Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) and Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) would look like, but we imagine them dancing and maybe partaking in some drinks. Who else? Lord and Lady Grantham (Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern) doting on their grandchildren, and Cousin Isobel (Penelope Wilton) finally enjoying a life of her own with Lord Merton (Douglas Reith) would be essential, with wry commentary by the Dowager Countess of course.
What would you want to see in a “Downton Abbey” movie?