Downton Abbey: A New Era trailer, release date, cast and more

Hugh Bonneville and Michelle Dockery stand on the staircase in Downton Abbey: A New Era
(Image credit: Focus Features)

The British are coming ... to France! And Hollywood is coming to Downton Abbey. The full-length Downton Abbey: A New Era trailer previews the Crawleys' trip across the channel to visit a villa given to the Dowager Countess by a mystery man from her past. The trailer also reveals a film production that arrives at Downton to cause chaos and mischief.

Downton Abbey 2 follows up on the first film, which came out in 2019 and was a big hit at the box office. Both movies continue the story laid out in the series, which ran for six seasons. Downton Abbey is a fictional estate in Yorkshire where the aristocratic Crawley family resides. The drama depicts the lives of the Earl of Grantham, Lady Grantham and their daughters, as well as the servants that cater to them, including former butler Mr. Carson and housekeeper Mrs. Hughes. 

Downton Abbey: A New Era brings back most of the principal cast members from the series and the first movie. It's written by creator Julian Fellowes and directed by Simon Curtis.

Here's everything we know so far about Downton Abbey: A New Era.

Downton Abbey: A New Era release date

Focus Features has set the Downton Abbey: A New Era release date for May 20, 2022 (April 29 in the UK.)

Julian Fellowes first started talking about a movie sequel when the first film came out. In February 2021, star Hugh Bonneville told BBC Radio 2 that production would begin once everybody was vaccinated against COVID-19.

"We would love to do it, we are desperate to do it," he said, "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."

Downton Abbey: A New Era trailer

The full-length Downton Abbey 2 trailer lays out the two main storylines. The first involves some of the Crawleys visiting France to check out a villa given to the Dowager Countess by a mystery man. Who is he and why did he give her a very lux estate? Lord and Lady Grantham, Lady Edith and her husband Bertie, and Tom Branson and his new wife Lucy all seem to go on the journey, along with retired butler Mr. Carson.

The second plot sees Lady Mary welcoming a film director (Hugh Dancy) who wants to shoot a movie at Downton Abbey. Hollywood has come a-knocking!

And here's the Downton Abbey: A New Era teaser trailer:

Downton Abbey: A New Era cast

Many of the Downton Abbey cast members from the series and the first movie will reprise their roles. They include:

  • Hugh Bonneville as Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham
  • Elizabeth McGovern as Cora Crawley, the Countess of Grantham
  • Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Talbot, the eldest Crawley daughter
  • Laura Carmichael as Edith Pelham, the Marchioness of Hexham and second Crawley daughter
  • Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham
  • Allen Leech as Tom Branson, widowed husband of youngest Crawley daughter Sybil
  • Jim Carter as Charles Carson, the retired butler
  • Phyllis Logan as Elsie Carson, the housekeeper formerly known as Mrs. Hughes
  • Robert James-Collier as Thomas Barrow, the current butler
  • Joanne Froggatt as Anna Bates, Lady Mary's maid
  • Lesley Nicol as Beryl Patmore, head cook
  • Sophie McShera as Daisy Mason, assistant cook
  • Penelope Wilton as Isobel Grey, Baroness Merton and Mary's former mother-in-law
  • Samantha Bond as Lady Rosamund Painswick, Robert's sister
  • Harry Hadden-Paton as Bertie Pelham, Marquess of Hexham and Edith's husband
  • Matthew Goode as Henry Talbot, Mary's husband
  • Douglas Reith as Dickie Grey, Baron Merton and Isobel's husband
  • Kevin Doyle as Joseph Molesley, former footman and village school teacher 
  • Michael Fox as Andy Parker, footman
  • Imelda Staunton as Lady Maud Bagshaw, Robert's cousin
  • Tuppence Middleton as Lucy Smith, Tom's fiancee and Lady Bagshaw's heir

Several new faces are joining Downton Abbey 2's cast. One can be seen in the first photos from the movie: Laura Haddock as Myrna Dalgleish.

The other new cast members are Hugh Dancy, Nathalie Baye and Dominic West. Their roles are undisclosed.

Downton Abbey: A New Era photos

Laura Haddock and Michael Parker in Downton Abbey A New Era

(Image credit: Focus Features)

Along with the teaser preview, Focus unveiled four photos from the movie. The one at the top of this article features Lord Grantham and Lady Mary on the stairs of their home. 

Another shows Myrna, who is dressed in a glamorous gown and is emerging from a car. Footman Andy is holding the door open.

The third Downton Abbey 2 photo shows Bertie, Edith, Lucy and Tom strolling on a lawn with tennis rackets in hand. Looks like a doubles match is about to start.

Harry Hadden-Paton, Laura Carmichael, Tuppence Middleton and Allen Leech in Downton Abbey A New Era

(Image credit: Focus Features)

And the final image shows the familiar sight of Daisy and Mrs. Patmore in the kitchen, stirring pots and talking. 

Sophie McShera and Lesley Nicol in Downton Abbey A New Era

(Image credit: Focus Features)

Downton Abbey: A New Era story

Not much is known about the plot of Downton Abbey 2, not even what year it is set.

The first film is set in 1927 and chronicled a visit by King George V and Queen Mary to Downton Abbey. 

The sequel looks like it takes place not long after that, perhaps in 1928 or 1929. The teaser trailer reveals that Tom gets married to Lucy, whom he met during that royal visit. She was introduced as Lady Bagshaw's companion and later revealed to be her secret daughter (out of wedlock). The first film ended with Tom and Lucy agreeing to write letters and get to know each other. It seems like the courtship went well! 

At the end of the first movie, Violet tells Mary that she is dying. Since then, fans have been speculating that Downton Abbey: A New Era will feature the death of the Dowager Countess of Grantham. Maggie Smith is seen in the teaser trailer, but the subtitle "A New Era" also indicates a passing of the torch, perhaps from Violet to Mary as the ruler of Downton. 

The teaser trailer starts with Violet informing her family that she has met a man years before her children were born. Now, she's come into possession of a villa in the south of France. It looks like at least some of the Crawleys will travel to France to check this place out. That includes Lord and Lady Grantham, who enjoy a yacht sailing trip. Lady Edith and her husband, plus Tom and Lucy, also appear to visit the villa.

One missing face Henry Talbot, Mary's husband and Tom's business partner. At the end of the teaser preview, the family lines up for wedding photos, but Henry is conspicuously absent. Matthew Goode made a very brief appearance in the first film and it was explained that Henry was on a business trip. Goode is busy with other projects, including starring in A Discovery of Witches, so he may have only had enough time for another cameo in A New Era. Or perhaps Mary's marriage has ended in divorce.

Kelly Woo
Streaming Editor

Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.