Everything must come to an end, including Downton Abbey. But with an ending comes new beginnings…possibly in the form of a movie! Executive producer Gareth Neame fielded questions from the press shortly after Downton Abbey's end was announced and revealed why the show is ending after six years, who will be in this season and if we've seen the last of the Crawley clan when Downton Abbey wraps its run.
"I think our feeling is that it's good to quite while you're ahead. We feel the show is in incredibly strong shape…the show is so popular globally, but the danger with this sort of thing is to let them go on forever. The danger is if you run to seven, eight, nine, 10 years, it's very addictive to want to do that," Neame said. "But I think it's more important to us to make a perfectly formed show, in our opinion, that we bring to an end when they think the timing is right and that people will love and remember that show for many, many years to come and not feel that there was any sort of drop off—we outstayed our welcome."
Neame said the decision to call it quits wasn't made by any one single person. Julian Fellowes, the cast and Neame all came to agreement that this was the right time to end Downton Abbey.
The executive producer was mum on details about the new season—he wouldn't say whether or not there would be any big deaths to wrap up stories, but he did reveal "all of the characters will be in the final season." Rest easy, Branson fans!
Will the Crawley stories continue once Downton Abbey ends? Quite possibly. Fellowes took home an Oscar for Gosford Park and could take a stab at bringing the story of the Crawley family to the big screen.
"Our position on that is we would be very interested in that. It is definitely something we're contemplating. It would be great fun to do. I think it would be a wonderful extension of everything that people loved about the TV show, but I can't confirm that it's definitely going to happen," Neame said, citing the planning and thinking that would be involved in mounting the effort. "We shall see."
The same goes for spinoffs—even present day ones about modern-day Crawleys. "There are no plans to make a spinoff," he said. "There's been endless speculation about this, but there are no definite plans for a spinoff. Again, I couldn't rule it out."
Downton Abbey begins its final season in early 2016 on PBS in the US. A fall debut is planned in the UK.