Hugh Bonneville Responds to Rumors of ‘Downton Abbey’ TV Comeback

Hugh Bonneville in Downton Abbey
Nick Briggs / © Carnival Films for Masterpiece/PBS / Courtesy: Everett Collection

Julian Fellowes‘ hit period drama returned to the big screen earlier this year with Downton Abbey: A New Era, but could the series be returning to television?

Hugh Bonneville, who played Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham, in the TV series and its two movie spinoffs, has responded to rumors in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

While Bonneville said he hadn’t heard about the speculation that NBCUniversal and production firm Carnival want to bring Downton back as a TV series, he did have an idea about what form a new series might take. “I suspect, if there is [a new series], it would be a reboot. An origin story or something like that,” he said.

Bonneville pointed to the success of fellow period drama Bridgerton for how a new series of Downton might look. “I mean, there’s clearly an appetite for these sorts of shows. Bridgerton has been a magnificent success,” he continued. “So if you can capture the younger generation to enjoy people in frocks, then go for it.”

However, he added that it would be “immensely unlikely” that the original cast would be back. “It’s seven years since we did the TV show. Returning as we did for those two films was really lovely, but I think there’ll be a whole new generation, like Star Wars spinning off all over the place,” he stated.

That said, when questioned on if he would be interested in returning if asked, the Paddington star explained, “I literally hadn’t thought of it. I have no idea. I’d never say never. I’d do anything for the right money.”

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In terms of a third Downton movie, Bonneville said he believed “it’s run its course now,” noting, “I think [A New Era] was a good time to quit.” He continued, “I’m never gonna second guess the future, but did think for a while, actually, yeah, why not, let’s keep going. But I do think it could get a bit thin. I think the second film was such a joyous one and such a good note on which to end the story. And it does feel like it can end.”

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