If you started to feel a little off-kilter in a world lacking decorum and (period) drama since Downton Abbey wrapped its series after six illustrious seasons, fear not: a Downton movie is officially in the works, helmed by beloved series visionary Julian Fellowes and with at least 20 returning cast members.
At the World Premiere of Downton Abbey: The Exhibition in Singapore on June 21st, even the cast members were shocked and elated — some of whom said to call their agents immediately, others who were still reluctantly pessimistic, and others just completely ready for anything.
What we do know, according to Variety, is that an NBCUniversal spokesman confirmed the studio hopes to put the movie into production in 2018, and that Julian Fellowes (who wrote and directed the TV series) has been working on the script for the movie for quite some time. (Fellowes revealed to The Telegraph UK that he had already begun writing a film version of Downton back in January 2017.)
"We are working on getting the script right and then we've got to figure out how to get the (cast) together," said Michael Edelstein, president at NBCUniversal International Studios, told the Associated Press yesterday. "Because as you know, people go on and do other things. But we're hopeful to make a movie sometime next year."
So, how to bide the time and get your Downton fix until the movie premieres — or at least until new goss is leaked about the plot, confirmed returning characters, and other juicy details?
We highly recommend starting back at the very beginning with a binge-watching marathon, lingering over every languid English picnic, period architectural detail, and snarky Dowager Countess comment. Better get correct with your menu for the viewing party, too, lest the eldest Crawleys have some sharp-tongued quips for you.
If you really want to go deep on geeking out about Downton, here are a few other ways to build the excitement towards that splendid, creative crescendo:
DIY an English Garden This Summer
We know all things plant-related are trending right now, so why not extend that green thumb toward the lost arts of the topiary and the manicured lawn? We've covered the massive inspo offered by the 1,000 acres of the gardens of Downton Abbey, or rather, the gardens of Highclere Castle, where the show is set, with their sweeping vistas and greens. It's never too early to start working on your landscape legacy, or so Lord Grantham might say.
Vacation to Highclere Castle
Though all-inclusive packaged tours that take fans of the show to Highclere Castle have fallen out of favor a bit since the sixth season wrap in 2016, expect a huge uptick in renewed interest after the big news about the movie this week. Day trips from London are still very popular, and though the historic home has limited visiting hours, it is open daily during the summer — confirmed for 2017 dates from Sunday July 9th to Wednesday September 6th. If you'd rather do your own thing, here's a map of all the show's filming locations to organize a self-guided tour.
Take a Historic New England Homes and Gardens Tour
Can't make it to London? If you find yourself in the Northeast, there are 36 period showcase homes in the region that are open to the public for tours and viewings — and the book, New England's Historic Homes & Gardens, is still full of gorgeous photography and stories about the homes and their former residents. "Reading that billionaire Doris Duke once housed camels in her Rhode Island home, Rough Point, is almost as crazy as Mary and Lady Grantham carrying a deceased Turk through the halls," says News & Culture Editor Tara Bellucci.
Get Tickets to Downton Abbey: The Exhibition
As the NY Times first reported back in April, the series will live on — for a few years at least — in "Downton Abbey: The Exhibition," presented by NBCUniversal International Studios and by Imagine Exhibitions. The multi-year, worldwide tour began at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore two days ago and will most likely make several stops in the U.S. Sign up for tour updates by email at DowntonExhibition.com. Billed as a "journey through the grand home of Downton Abbey," the exhibition will be an interactive glimpse into the lives of the Crawley family, the costumes from the show, and the post-Edwardian historical context of the series, which begins with the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 and ends in the mid-1920s.
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Gary Lawrence, co-author of "Houses of the Hamptons 1880-1930," curates just enough stately post-Edwardian house porn and historic trivia to keep the rest of us below-stairs folks dreaming of the riches and manifest destiny of the era. On Sunday June 25th, Lawrence is hosting an event at The Chateaux of Fifth Avenue in New York City if you happen to be in the area, or you can pick up a collectible copy of his book on Amazon.
Perfect your Tea & Crumpets Game
One of the easiest ways to personify the world's favorite fictional aristocrats and their household service is to host a viewing (aka binge-watching) party complete with authentic Downton cuisine, now made easier thanks to Emily Ansara Baines and her Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook. Coupled with your own ideas for thrift store or handmade period costumes and Downton-inspired serveware, the cookbook provides historically accurate dish pairings, etiquette lessons & show trivia from everyone's favorite costume drama.
Or, if you'd just prefer to start bringing back Downton style starting with your own home, check out this mood board, this app, this line of lighting, these mattresses, or these linens, all inspired by everyone's favorite consumers of elegant excess.
Which favorite characters from the Downton Abbey series would you most like to see return in the cast of 20 slated for the film? What were your favorite design moments and inspirations from the show? Let us know in the comments!