downton abbey movie cast film 2018 maggie smith

A ‘Downton Abbey’ movie will likely begin filming in 2018. (Image: PBS)

At long last! Downton Abbey the movie is happening, and 20 cast members will likely return.

Michael Edelstein, president at NBCUniversal International Studios, said production will likely start in early 2018.

“There’s a movie in the works,” Edelstein told the AP at the Downton Abbey Exhibition in Singapore. “It’s been in the works for some time.”

Edelstein would like to corral the entire cast, but has to coordinate their various schedules. Maggie Smith, who played the Dowager Countess, will likely not return.

Not only is Smith 82 years old, but she suggested she had no interest in a film after starring on the hit TV series for six seasons. “I think it’s squeezing it dry, do you know what I mean?” she said in April 2017.

Laura Carmichael, who played Lady Edith Crawley in the series, hopes the rumors are true. “Tell my agent, because we’re still waiting to know,” she said. “We’re hoping that will happen soon.”

downton abbey movie cast film 2018 maggie smith

The runaway success of Downton Abbey surprised Hollywood and everyone associated with the PBS show.

Sophie McShera, who played feisty assistant cook Daisy Mason, has her fingers crossed too. “We have no idea if that’s happening,” McShera said. “But we would all love to be part of the film if it was to happen, for sure.”

Because there are always rumors of films being “in the works” that never happens, actors tend to be reticent about discussing a project until it’s 100% certain.

Downton Abbey, which aired from 2010 to 2015, chronicled the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the early 1900s England. It starred Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter and Michelle Dockery in the lead roles.

Downton Abbey aired in more than 150 countries and is one of the most popular TV shows in the world.