Mark your calendars Downton Abbey fans, your period drama obsession returns to PBS on Jan. 6, 2013.
We know it's a long way away, but you're in luck. At the PBS Television Critics press tour, not only did the cast dish on the new season, but we were treated to the most spoiler-filled trailer our scoop-loving eyes have ever seen. It was glorious and we're going to tell you everything about it. What can we say? We're givers.
Still reeling from their 16 Emmy nominations, creator Julian Fellowes was joined by cast members—from upstairs and downstairs—to talk all about season three. Let's just say they sure know how to make us pray for January to come early.
Money Woes: Remember Cora's (Elizabeth McGovern) often talked about fortune of season one, well it turns out that after some bad investments it's almost all gone. Ruh. Roh. But fortunately for Downton and Robert (Hugh Bonneville), Cora's American resilience is definitely what they'll need during these lean times. "Cora is less afraid of the future than Robert is," Fellowes explains. "She's much less afraid of change and now you'll start to see more and more of that."
Changes Afoot: Bringing Cora's mother, Martha Levinson (Shirley MacLaine) to Downton will actually be most revealing about Cora. Previously only mentioned in passing—or with slight disdain by Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery)—Cora's American upbringing will be important in the new season. Fellowes explains: "Cora's upbringing was not the same as Robert's...but as things start to change and the plates are shifting, and we are reminded what Cora's comes from. If anyone understands the world that is coming, it's Cora."
Across the Irish Sea: We were delighted to see Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay) and Branson (Allen Leech) back in Downton. And while we were expecting some sparks at a fancy dinner, we weren't quite ready for the explosion we saw. Can you really blame the guy? Eating dinner with English aristocracy is probably the last place in the world he wants to be while back home Ireland is fighting for its independence.
Roaring Twenties: Start practicing your Charleston! Fellowes promises a slow cruise through the 1920s and why Downton will touch on specific storylines in a post-war world. "The twenties are a more nebulous time," he explains. "In the third series you see the impact on this family of the Irish Troubles...at the time [it] was actually much more the headline than the suffragettes or the other things. The Irish Problem seems to be a yawning difficulty for Britain and the British Empire."
Cold Feet: When last we saw Mary and Matthew (Dan Stevens) there was much celebrating and spinning in the snow, but they haven't exactly skipped into the sunset. Is Matthew getting cold feet about the wedding? And why is Mary accusing him of being disloyal? Hang on to your hats, season three looks bumpy for these two. But there is an unlikely Mary-Matthew shipper in Downton when Branson tells Matthew, "You won't be happy with anyone else while Lady Mary walks the earth." Wise words. Wise words indeed.
We are in the happy place of Downton Abbey spoilers. Are you? Go ahead, sound off in the comments!