Bow Down to the Dowager Countess in These Glorious New Photos of the 'Downton Abbey' Cast

Hold onto your bloomers...because these new photos of the Downton Abbey cast are guaranteed to blow your stockings off.

In preparation for the Downton Abbey movie, which is due on September 20, Vanity Fair released the most stunning photos by Mark Neville of the lords and ladies of the PBS Masterpiece turned big-screen period drama. 

In the Instagram slideshows (above and below, click the tiny white arrow to scroll through all the photos), we also get a glimpse of the Downton household staff, led by out-of-retirement Mr. Carson (Jim Carter). 

But it's Dowager Countess Violet Crawley's (Maggie Smith) steely stare, Lady Mary's (Michelle Dockery) new haircut and Lady Edith's (Laura Carmichael) starry silver crown headpiece that has us wishing the next 44 days away 'til the movie finally debuts.

“Mary reaches out for her hero Carson to save the day,” Dockery told Vanity Fair of her character. “I love that relationship between Mary and Carson—it's one of the lovely moments of the film.”

The plot picks up about a year and a half after the TV shows ends. In 1927, King George V and Queen Mary are visiting the Abbey. In order to prep for the royal family arrival, Lady Mary has asked Mr. Carson to return from retirement to help out the family and get the Abbey in tip-top shape just as the world seems to be bordering on disarray. Lady Mary is toying with leaving Downton for a new life with her husband, Henry Talbot (Matthew Goode), as preparations for the king and queen's visit are at a fever pitch. Edith returns to her former home as well (she married the Marquess, Bertie Pellham, in the final episode of the TV series). Anna Bates (Joanne Froggatt), Lady Mary’s loyal maid, reminds her that Downton plays a pivotal role in the small English village.

“Little flashes of sibling rivalries still return when Edith visits," Hugh Bonneville, who plays the Crawley family patriarch, aka the Earl of Grantham, said to VF. "But on the whole, the family is pulling together in the right direction and the forces of drama are actually external, which is quite fun."

"It's sort of Downton versus the world," Bonneville said. We'll raise a glass of champs to that.


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