‘Downton Abbey’ movie spoilers: When is it set, who is (and isn’t) coming back?

The “Downton Abbey” movie won’t be in theaters until September 2019 but we just got our first clues as to what to expect from the recently released trailer that you can watch above. While the TV series signed off three years ago, the film is only moving ahead about 18 months in the lives of the Crawley clan and their servants to the fall of 1927. We know that almost all of the cast of this Emmy-winning drama will be in the movie with one big exception: Lily James, who played cousin Rose, won’t be back.

Her character lives in America and while she returned to the manor for the series finale she won’t be seen on the big screen. With upwards of two dozens character to juggle, it is not surprising that series  Julian Fellowes couldn’t find room for Rose in the two-hour movie update. We can confirm that rest of the cast is returning for the film, which was directed by Michael Engler who also helmed the final episode of the series in 2015.

Fellowes wrote that episode of “Downton Abbey” and every one of the other 51 installments. He won an Oscar in 2002 for his original script for “Gosford Park.” That film by Robert Altman was also set in an English country house, albeit in the 1930s, and featured Maggie Smith in an Oscar-nominated turn as a doughty dowager.

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Fellowes and Smith reunited on “Downton Abbey.” He claimed a pair of Emmys for writing and producing while she picked up three of TV’s top honors for her scene-stealing role as the domineering duchess. Dame Maggie already has two Oscars and could well win her third for reprising this role on the big screen.

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