The Downton Abbey Sequel Gets A Name And A New 2022 Release Date

"A new era begins." That's the flowery description that the official press release provides and, honestly, it doesn't sound like too much of an exaggeration given the fan fervor surrounding "Downton Abbey." The news just keeps rolling out of CinemaCon in Las Vegas, the event held for the benefit of theater owners, with Focus Features and Carnival Films finally announcing both a title (we can all stop referring to it as "Downton Abbey 2") and a scheduled release date. Read on for more details.

Downton Abbey: A New Era

The title of the sequel to the 2019 "Downton Abbey" movie has now been revealed to be "Downton Abbey: A New Era." Some very brief snippets of the sequel were shown at CinemaCon alongside this announcement, with descriptions remaining vague but at least hinting towards a wedding.

Originally set for a release around Christmastime 2021, the new release date has also been announced for March 18, 2022 exclusively in theaters. This time, Simon Curtis ("My Week with Marilyn," "Goodbye Christopher Robin," "The Art of Racing in the Rain") is taking over the director's chair in place of Michael Engler ("Sex and the City," "30 Rock," "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"). The screenplay is written by "Downton Abbey" creator Julian Fellowes ("Gosford Park," "From Time to Time," "The Tourist"), making his return after scripting both the series and the previous film that brought back the Crawley family (and staff) along with a royal visit from the King and Queen of England, four years after the conclusion of the show.

Of course, Fellowes is also bringing back much of the original cast along with him, including Hugh Bonneville as Robert Crawley, Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary, Maggie Smith as Violet Crawley, Jim Carter as Mr. Carson, and more. Some of the exciting new additions set to join the cast for this next installment will be Hugh Dancy ("Martha Marcy May Marlene," "Hannibal," "Homeland"), Laura Haddock ("Guardians of the Galaxy," "Transformers: The Last Knight," "White Lines"), Nathalie Baye ("Catch Me If You Can," "Spin," "The Assistant"), and Dominic West ("The Wire," "Colette," "The Crown"). The Emmy and BAFTA Award-winning Gareth Neame and Emmy Award-winning Liz Trubridge both return to produce alongside Fellowes, as well.

A sequel comes as absolutely no surprise after the first film pulled in incredible numbers at the box office, especially for an adult drama about rich British people fussing around about anything and everything. You can also count critics among the audience members who were charmed by the proceedings, boosting "Downton Abbey" to 84% on Rotten Tomatoes. Even in the midst of a pandemic, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to expect a similar reception for this sequel.