Exclusive: Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville considers what kind of storylines a third movie would entail, if it ever actually happens.
Hugh Bonneville considers what kind of storylines a potential Downton Abbey 3 might feature. The beloved British drama Downton Abbey made the jump to film for the first time back in 2019. In picking up with the same ensemble as the television show, Downton Abbey was able to recapture the magic of what came before on its way to grossing an impressive $194.7 million worldwide. A sequel, Downton Abbey: A New Era, arrived in theaters this past May, and while it didn’t cause as much of a stir at the box office, it did earn positive reviews from fans and critics like.
Now the question on many people’s minds is whether the upstairs and downstairs residents of Downton will return for another big screen outing. As it stands right now, nothing has been officially announced regarding Downton Abbey 3. Ahead of A New Era’s release, series creator Julian Fellowes commented on a possible third film, stating that he would be alright if the franchise had officially reached its end. At the same time, Fellowes said that if the cast and fans wanted more, he could find another story to tell.
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Related: How Downton Abbey 3 Can Really Be About A New Era
In a recent conversation with Screen Rant, Bonneville gives his own opinion on a potential Downton Abbey 3. Bonneville starred in both the series and its two spinoff films, playing patriarch Robert Crawley. While the actor expresses his doubt that there actually will be a third film, he does give some ideas about where the story could go, including what it could entail for Robert. Bonneville says:
This is a fictional world, because I don’t think there will be another one. I was thinking for a while that [there] would be; we’re all up for it, and let’s go. But I think it’s probably run its course now. And it’s been a fantastic 12 years on and off that we’ve visited this family. But I think probably enough is enough.
Were it to carry on, I don’t know where it would go next. On the basis that each of the last few iterations has been roughly taking place in a year, or during a year, we’d be in 1929. What happens then? It’s the Wall Street crash, and the gaiety of the 20s is going to come crashing to a halt. So, it’d be pretty potentially pretty gloomy. I don’t know. And as for Robert? Well, he’s gonna die. So, a good death would be good.
Per the timeline of Downton Abbey, it is true that a third movie would be pushing up against a rather dark time in history. The television show covered events like the sinking of the Titanic and, to a much more sobering effect, World War I. However, Downton Abbey: A New Era was able to have fun with its time period because it took place squarely in the 1920s. Bonneville has a point that if Downton Abbey 3 were to continue on in the timeline, it would find itself in some “gloomy” territory. However, there could be a case to be made that watching those like Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) facing an uncertain period could make for fresh drama. Though the Crawleys have dealt with financial issues over the years, the economic crash of the 1930s would be new ground.
Bonneville also addresses the possibility of Robert dying in Downton Abbey 3. Some might disagree with him there. Regardless of the time jump between movies, Lord Grantham is still arguably many years away from a natural death. Unless Bonneville wants his character to go out suddenly like Matthew (Dan Stevens) or Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay), then he would realistically be around in Downton Abbey 3. His death would be quite the blow for fans, and not only because A New Era said goodbye to his mother, the iconic Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith). Still, if Bonneville is ready to end his Downton story, then perhaps this truly is where things come to a close. Only time will tell for sure.
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About The Author
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Rachel LaBonte is one of Screen Rant’s core news editors, as well as a feature and movie review writer. A graduate of Emerson College, she majored in Media Arts Production while specializing in screenwriting. She’s been a writer ever since high school when she realized she was rather good at it and joined as many entertainment news clubs as she could while in school. Most notably, she wrote for Emerson’s website Emertainment Monthly, and one of her film reviews won an Evvy (Emerson’s student awards) for Best Review. Her deep love of movies led to her working at a movie theater for five years, which she loved despite the angry customers. An avid reader who constantly buys books before reading the ones she already owns, Rachel is a huge fan of superheroes (especially of the Marvel variety) and wizards and will likely never be able to catch up on all the movies/TV shows she longs to watch.
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