Why This Downton Abbey Star Says the Franchise Has "Run Its Course"

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Why This Downton Abbey Star Says the Franchise Has "Run Its Course"
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Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville is ready to hang up his bowler hat.

The actor, who played the Earl of Grantham in all six seasons and both movies, bristled at the idea of starring in yet another season of the beloved show. "My god, I hadn't heard that one," he told The Hollywood Reporter when asked about a potential revival. "But I suspect, if there is, it would be a reboot."

Of course, Hugh understands that people are living for period dramas like Bridgerton, but he doesn't think a Downton Abbey revival is in the cards. If anything, he thinks an "origin story" would make the most sense.

"I think it'd be immensely unlikely that we would be brought back as a cast," Hugh explained. "Returning as we did for those two films was really lovely, but I think there'll be a whole new generation, like Star Wars spinning off all over the place."

Downton Abbey Cast: Then and Now

As for a third movie, Hugh was hesitant to offer his approval. He plainly stated that the franchise has "run its course" and another installment would be "a bit thin."

"I think the second film was such a joyous one and such a good note on which to end the story," Hugh said. "And it does feel like it can end. There's still open doors in it, but I think it might be the right time to stop."

Downton Abbey, Focus Features, Movie,
Focus Features

Downton Abbey: A New Era follows the Crawleys as they visit their new home in the South of France, while Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) oversees the filming of a new movie on the estate grounds.

However, if a revival or movie did gain traction, Hugh said he'd be open to reprising his role. As he put it, "I'd never say never. I'd do anything for the right money."

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes previously said he has plenty of ideas for a third movie, should it ever come to fruition. "There's no reason to believe there's a natural, finite moment with these things," he said. "As long as there's an audience, there's certainly something to say."

And in some ways, HBO Max's The Gilded Age could be the origin story to Downton Abbey. The series, set in the 1880s, may explore Cora Crawley's upbringing in season two. Fellowes previously said of the upcoming episodes, "We might, I suppose, reasonably enough see Cora's mother, who was quite a vivid character if you remember."

Downton Abbey: A New Era is streaming now on Peacock.

(E! and NBC are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)

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