Downton Abbey 2 begins production ahead of December release

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Production on the Downton Abbey sequel began production last week.

Original castmembers including Hugh Bonneville, Jim Carter, Laura Carmichael, and Michelle Dockery are returning for the period drama, set to be released just in time for Christmas, along with a handful of newcomers, such as Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye, and Dominic West.

Julian Fellowes, the creator of the hugely successful TV series and the 2019 film continuation, will once again write the screenplay, with Gareth Neame and Liz Trubridge back to produce with Fellowes. Simon Curtis will direct the sequel.

"After a very challenging year with so many of us separated from family and friends, it is a huge comfort to think that better times are ahead and that next Christmas we will be re-united with the much beloved characters of Downton Abbey," producer Neame, executive chairman of Carnival Films, said in a statement.

Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski added, "There's no place like home for the holidays, and we can't imagine a better gift than getting to reunite with Julian, Gareth, and the entire Downton family in 2021 to bring the Crawley's (sic) back home for their fans."

The initial film followed a visit to the Crawley family and Downton staff from the King and Queen of England, and ended with a ball fitting for the royal family.

TV hit Downton Abbey originally ran for six seasons until 2015.