'Downton Abbey' cast returns for sequel opening in December

The original principal cast of “Downton Abbey” are returning for a second film that will arrive in theaters December 22 this year

NEW YORK -- The original principal cast of “Downton Abbey” are returning for a second film that will arrive in theaters December 22 this year, Focus Features announced Monday.

“Downton Abbey" creator Julian Fellowes has written the sequel's screenplay, and Simon Curtis ("My Week With Marilyn") is directing. Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery and 86-year-old Maggie Smith will all be back, along with some new faces, including Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye and Dominic West.

Production began last week on “Downton Abbey 2.”

The 2019 film, coming three years after the series ending, made $194.3 million on a modest budget of less than $20 million.