When Does Downton Abbey: A New Era Take Place?

Downton Abbey: A New Era will explore the mysterious past romantic life of Lady Violet, but what year are the Crawleys currently in?

British period dramas have become incredibly popular, thanks to shows like Bridgerton and Downton Abbey. Although, it’s sometimes never particularly clear when the series took place. When Downton Abbey first began, the characters were shocked at the sinking of the RMS Titanic, which occurred in 1912. As time went on, various historical events affected the Downton household. These included the outbreak of both World War I and the Spanish Influenza pandemic.

When Downton Abbey received its first film adaptation in 2019, the time period shifted to 1927. Since Downton Abbey: A New Era was delayed several times by the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been three years since fans have seen the cast of Downton on-screen. This could cause some confusion, so what year are they in now?

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes spoke to People in November of last year about the time period change in the upcoming film. Fellowes stated the Crawleys were on the brink of the 1930s, which was the “beginning of the modern world.” The future film production at Downton in A New Era marks the transition into modern times for both the family and staff at Downton. Film director Mr. Jack Barber brings along a taste of Hollywood in the form of actors. This venture particularly doesn’t appeal to Lord Grantham.

In addition to the film production, Lady Violet has recently acquired a villa in the South of France from one of her past lovers. This plot point occurs after she’s diagnosed with an unknown terminal illness at the end of the first film. Clearly, the Dowager is still going strong, considering her witty comebacks in the latest trailer about why she didn’t turn down a luxurious villa.

Despite Fellowes’ confirmation of the period, fans can also determine what year they’re in by the age of the children. Anna Bates’ son Johnny was around 18 months old in the first film, and he looked to be around three years old in a second-long snippet of him in the latest trailer. This could mean Downton Abbey: A New Era takes place in approximately 1929.

Furthermore, the marriages, both on and off-screen, hint that time has passed between films – but not much. Daisy and Andy must have gotten married between films, considering she was shown wearing a wedding band in the trailer. Tom also finds his happy ending following his late wife’s death after the birth of their child with her name, Sybil. Tom and Lucy’s potential relationship was hinted at the end of the first film, and it was confirmed when viewers were given a sneak peek of their upcoming wedding.

It’s unknown how the new marriages will affect Downton or if the stock market crash of 1929, which led to the Great Depression, will be discussed. With everything new coming to Downton, fans won’t see one familiar face. Matthew Goode, who played Lady Mary’s husband, Henry Talbot, won’t make an appearance in Downton Abbey: A New Era due to prior commitments. Either way, fans can’t wait to dive into the film’s exciting storyline to find out what will happen next.

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