Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey cast in HUGE shake-up for shock third film – with big name star missing from line-up

SHE has already confirmed there will be a third Downton Abbey film – but I can reveal Imelda Staunton won’t be in it.

The actress played Lady Maud Bagshaw in the first two movies, before taking on arguably her most famous role as Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix hit series The Crown.

The Downton movie will be filmed this summer — when Imelda is appearing in Hello Dolly! at the Palladium theatre in London.

Fortunately her husband, Jim Carter, will reprise his Downton role, Charles Carson, in the historical drama’s third movie outing, as will Hugh Bonneville, who plays central character the Earl of Grantham.

A TV insider said: “This will no doubt be sad news for Downton fans, in particular those who were endeared by the character of Lady Maud.

“But they will draw some comfort from the fact that two of the best-loved central characters will be returning for this third outing.

“It still remains to be seen if the producers and writer Julian Fellowes will be able to reunite the entire cast.”

I exclusively revealed last month that a third film was being made after the first movie in 2019 and the sequel Downton Abbey: A New Era in 2022.

Based on the ITV show that ran from 2010 to 2015, both films made £220million at the international box office.

It is believed the third feature-length outing, also being made by Carnival Films, will pick up where the sequel left off, in the late-1920s.

The same creative team and cast are expected to return to Highclere Castle in Hampshire for filming with the production scheduled for international release in 2025.

Hollywood star Paul Giamatti, who played Harold Levinson, the brother of the Countess of Grantham, in the 2013 TV series, has also been signed up.

Last month Imelda appeared on Zoe Ball’s Radio 2 breakfast show and was asked by the host about talk of a third movie.

She replied: “There WILL be a final film — there you go.”

Asked if she might have got herself in trouble by revealing the news, she replied: “I don’t care.”

I guess that’s what happens when you’ve become The Queen.



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