Downton Abbey bosses have finally confirmed a second film is now in the works, and is scheduled to hit cinemas around Christmas.
The first Downton Abbey film was released in 2019, and proved popular with fans of the original period drama, which began on ITV and went on to become a global success.
On Monday afternoon, it was revealed that the wheels had been put in motion for a long rumoured sequel, with all of the show’s original cast returning.
This includes Hugh Bonneville, who tweeted shortly after the announcement, and his on-screen wife Elizabeth McGovern.
Dame Maggie Smith is also expected to return, after her iconic Downton character confided in her granddaughter that she was dying at the end of the first film.
New cast members for the sequel have also been revealed, including Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye and Dominic West, the latter of whom has been heavily rumoured to be playing Prince Charles in the forthcoming fifth series of The Crown.
Filmmaker Simon Curtis – whose recent credits include the films My Week With Marilyn and Goodbye Christopher Robin – will direct the second Downton Abbey film.
Executive producer Gareth Neame said: “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 reunited with the much beloved characters of Downton Abbey.”
Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski agreed: “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 back home for their fans.”
Downton Abbey 2 is slated to hit UK cinemas on 22 December 2021. All six series of Downton Abbey are available to stream now on BritBox.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.