Gareth Neame first teased news of the sequel.
Gareth Neame, who worked as a producer on both the 20th century-based ITV series and movie, first teased news of a potential sequel in November 2019.
"We're having those conversations. We're working on what the story is, and when we might be able to make it," Neame said at the time. "But it's the same as the first time around: We have to try to get everyone back together again. And that was very challenging."
Hugh Bonneville says filming will begin when the cast is vaccinated against COVID-19.
In February 2021, Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville teased the sequel when speaking to BBC Radio 2's The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show.
“Here’s the deal, if everybody who is offered a vaccine takes a vaccine, we can make a movie, we will make a movie," he said. “It’s the usual thing. The planets are circling. They are beginning to get into alignment. There is a thing called coronavirus knocking around and until that is under control in a sensible way, we are not going to be able to get all those ducks in a row. Mixing my metaphors here.
The actor continued, "But 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."
There could be a potential Downton Abbey and The Crown crossover.
There's good news for The Crown fans too, as Neame also teased the idea of a crossover between the shows—crediting Downton Abbey for the Netflix drama's rise to cult status.
"It's not conceivable that Netflix would have spent the kind of money they spend on The Crown without seeing the legs that Downton Abbey had around the world and the appetite for this kind of very British content," he said.
"So I think Downton opened the door for shows like The Crown, but also raised the bar for the value of high-end British content around the world."
Maggie Smith could make an appearance.
While the ending of Downton Abbey's first film suggested we might not see the Dowager Countess again, Neame says there's a chance Smith could reprise her role.
"All I would say is that one of the things that's been commented on over the years about Downton is that we've had plenty of medical misdiagnoses," he said.
In a recent interview, Fellowes also suggested that Smith could return for the second film.
"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."
A script has been written, says Jim Carter.
"If you promise not to tell anyone, I’ll let you know that we’ve seen a script… The script for a second film is there. We’ve seen it, it’s very funny!" he said in an interview. "It’s got all the same characters in, all the regular characters, and I think the will is—COVID willing—we’ll film it next year. "
Several Downton Abbey cast are keen to return.
A few leading members of the cast have already expressed their desire to return for the franchise.
According to Focus Features: "The original principal cast will all once again return for the second film."
There will be new characters as well, with Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye and Dominic West all set to join the cast.