Spoilers in this story Downton Abbey: A New Era
Julian Fellowes was the original creator of Downton Abbey, has clearly been preparing for Maggie Smith’s departure from the series for quite some time. Smith has played Violet Crawley (the dowager countess), a character best known for her sarcastic zingers, and insistence on maintaining Downton tradition. Violet was always worried about what her legacy would look like in the early episodes.
Fellowes was very concerned that Smith would leave the series, when he added a storyline into the first. Downton Abbey 2019 movie in which Violet is given bad news by a doctor. “I had some medical tests a few weeks ago, and I went up to London to hear the results. And I may not have long to live,” she tells her granddaughter Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) in the first film. “It won’t be too quick, but of course, you can never get a London doctor to be precise.”
This was a strange conversation that Fellowes wrote into the film’s end: the dowager never dies or looks ill. Fellowes might have wanted to be safe in case Smith didn’t agree to the sequel. Fans are happy to report that Violet is in the sequel. Downton Abbey: A New Era. However, as the movie reveals her days are over, she is not going to live forever.
All throughout A New EraCharacters frequently discuss the impending demise of dowager countsess. Early in the film, Violet finds out that she inherited a villa in the South of France from an old paramour, but the man’s widow is contesting the inheritance. (It wouldn’t be Downton AbbeyWithout someone challenging an inheritance. Violet still wants to retain the villa, and give it to Sybbie (the child of Tom Branson, and Sybil Crawley). Unlike her cousins, Sybbie stands to inherit no house upon her father’s death.
Violet is too fragile to travel, so half the family—Robert (Hugh Bonneville), Cora (Elizabeth McGovern), Edith (Laura Carmichael), Tom (Alan Leech), and a few others—decide to visit the mysterious man’s widow and son in France. Lady Mary and her dowager counts host a movie crew filming a Hollywood-style feature at Downton. Though Robert and Cora worry that the dowager countess may die while they’re traveling, Mary says she plans to write immediately with any news.
A few plots about the characters who have defined the film are the rest of the film. Downton Abbey. Tom wed Lucy (Tuppence Midton), the secret child of Maude Bagshaw (Imelda Staunton). They have their baby by the end. Downton’s film crew must change from silent films to talkie format. Lady Mary contributes her voice. The film’s director (Hugh Dancey) falls in love with Mary because every handsome man falls in love with Mary, but she rejects his flirtations because she’s still married to an irksomely absent Henry Talbot (Matthew Goode, who did not return for the film). Movie star Guy Dexter, played by Dominic West (Robert James Collier), takes an interest in Downton butler Thomas Barrow. And while the two strangely never share an intimate moment in the film, towards the end of the movie, Guy invites Thomas to travel with him as a romantic partner in the guise of a “dresser.” Thomas accepts.
Two of the film’s biggest dramatic turns end up being fake-outs. Cora thinks she has cancer, but she discovers that she’s just anemia. Robert suspects he is the son of a mysterious Frenchman, but Violet dispels the notion on her deathbed. To prove it, she shows Violet the letters that were exchanged between them to show the proof.
Violet Crawley had a wild childhood, in spite of her conservatism and concern for maintaining the old-world values of Downton. When she was young, Violet Crawley almost fled to Russia with a Russian Prince and then had an affair with the Frenchman. Violet will always be remembered for her humor and wit, even though she worries that her death will make her look like a scarlet-colored woman.
Violet will be surrounded by her family when she dies. For her funeral, Mary dons her grandmother’s brooch. Although Robert technically is the head of her family, Mary has a lot in common with her grandmother. They were both cruel and fearful but smart and courageous as well. She seems set to take over her grandmother’s role as the de factoHead of the house. In the film’s final scene, Tom and Lucy visit Downton with their new baby, and Violet watches the family gather from a portrait above the mantle.