Downton Abbey: A New Era (2022) Ending Explained – Does Maggie Smith bid farewell to the franchise?

Downton Abbey: A New Era Plot Synopsis

Following the success of the 2019 Downton Abbey film, the beloved franchise has made its anticipated return to theaters. Written by series creator Julian Fellowes and directed by Simon Curtis, Downton Abbey: A New Era introduces viewers to a bustling time of change and innovation at Downton.

When Lady Grantham learns an old love has left her a villa in the South of France, several of the Crawleys visit to work things out with the previous owner’s family–who might contest Violet’s right to inherit. Meanwhile, Lady Mary is left to hold the fort down at home, as those at Downton experience an entirely new phenomenon: the making of a movie.


Does Lady Grantham inherit a French villa?

Following Tom Branson’s wedding to Lucy Smith, the dowager countess reveals a surprise to the family. The Marquis de Montmirail, whom she knew 64 years ago, recently died and left her his villa in Southern France. Violet has now decided to bequeath the place to her great-granddaughter (and Tom’s daughter with Sybil), Sybbie.

Apparently, the Marquis’ widow wants to contest her late husband’s will. But his son, the new Marquis, would like to work things out with the Crawley family. That is, if they will come meet them at the villa.


Does Downton Abbey: A New Era take place in France?

Interestingly, the new Marquis de Montmirail specifically invites Lord Grantham to stay at the villa. It’s him he wants to speak with–even more so than Lady Violet.

With the Lady Grantham too ill to join the family on their travels, Lord Grantham and Lady Cora make the trip to France, along with Edith, Bertie, Tom, Lucy, Mr. Carson, Ms. Baxter, and Mr. Bates.


What silent movie is made at Downton?

While the rest of the Crawleys are away, Mary invites Jack Barber into Downton. Jack is a director of silent films, and his newest project The Gambler will be set at Downton Abbey.

He brings with him famous movie stars Guy Dexter (who takes a liking to Downton’s butler, Thomas Barrow) and Myrna Dalgleish (whose unkindness rattles Downton’s staff).


Is Robert the son of the late Marquis de Montmirail?

Despite his mother’s wants, the Marquis is utterly welcoming to the Crawleys and maintains that his father’s wishes be upheld. He looks at Robert meaningfully when he states that Violet visited the villa in 1864. Robert was born nine months after her stay.

Robert’s reality comes crashing around him. He can’t bear the possibility of soon losing his mother and now his parentage and name. Things only get worse for Lord Grantham when Cora confesses that she might die of cancer.


How does Downton save The Gambler’s production?

Jack starts filming The Gambler, but it isn’t long before the crew has to cease production. Silent films simply aren’t making any money. The people now want talking pictures. Mary suggests that they try to save the movie by making it into a talking picture. It will be difficult, but Jack agrees that they should try.

They have to record voices over the scenes they have already filmed. Guy does extremely well. Myrna, however, struggles to get the timing right, and can’t drop her regional American accent for an English one. When Mary steps up to voice her part, Myrna refuses to do any more scenes. She’s worried she’s going to lose her career.

Daisy and Anna persuade the actresses to keep going. Later, Cora teaches Myrna to adopt a different American accent so she can try her hand at American movies.

The movie proceeds, with Myrna acting and Mary voicing her lines. Moseley even helps out tremendously by writing more dialogue and adding in a climactic scene. In the very last scene of the film, several of Downton’s servants get to dress up and participate as extras.


Does Mary fall for Jack Barber?

Mary and Jack grow closer throughout the process of filming The Gambler. Mary’s marriage to Henry has been difficult. He’s often traveling, and Mary struggles to accept his affinity for cars and racing.

When Jack asks if he can kiss her, Mary hesitates, but ultimately denies him. She’s flattered, but she loves Henry. She and Jack part on good terms. 


Does Violet Crawley die?

Isobel comes across several letters between the late Marquis de Montmirail and Lady Grantham. They detail how unhappy the Marquis was with his wife. When Isobel asks Violet about them, she denies that anything happened between them. She did love the Marquis, but she was content with her husband.

Violet later assures her son that he is entitled to the Crawley name. Robert is happy to learn he is his father’s son, the Earl of Grantham.

Shortly after, Violet calls the family to her room. She says goodbye to all of her loved ones and passes peacefully.


How does Downton Abbey: A New Era end? 

In the wake of Violet’s death, everyone is comforted that Mary will take up the matriarch’s mantle. The Downton Abbey series has always compared the two women, but it draws a more direct parallel between them in A New Era’s storyline.

Mary and Violet had both just been recently married when other men came into their lives to sweep them off their feet. Neither woman chose to embrace either love, however. For both, Downton Abbey and the Crawley family took precedence.

Other than the loss of the beloved Lady Grantham, Downton Abbey’s second film ends largely on a happy note. Cora is diagnosed with pernicious anemia, a treatable disease. Mrs. Patmore persuades Mr. Mason to move in with her so Daisy and Andy can have his farm to themselves.

Thomas accepts an offer from Guy Dexter to travel with and serve the actor (a romantic relationship between them is implied). Moseley accepts a job offer to write scripts for Jack Barber. Now having a steady income, he proposes to Baxter. She accepts. Carson even returns to Downton to train Andy as the new butler after Thomas’s resignation.

Downton Abbey: A New Era ends with the arrival of Tom’s and Lucy’s baby. As the Crawleys coo over the new addition to the family, the camera zooms in on a portrait of Violet Crawley. 

 

Read More: Downton Abbey: A New Era Movie Review


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