Speaking to an industry audience at a BAFTA Screenwriters' Lecture this week, Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes suggested that he might be considering writing a prequel to the hit period drama.
Mulling over a possible book, he explained that it would tell the story of how the Earl and Countess of Grantham first met. "I do actually have an idea of doing a prequel of the courtship of Robert and Cora, when all those American heiresses were arriving in London… They had a slightly troubled courtship, because she was in love with him before they married, as we know, and he married her entirely for her money." He added, "I sort of feel there's something quite nice in there because he's a decent cove, and so he feels rather guilty about this."
However, Fellowes also noted, "Any other books or plays or films should follow after the end of the current television show." At Cannes earlier this year, Fellowes said that he envisioned the show continuing forward into a fourth season, if not further. According to Deadline, a source close to Downton claims that this is the first time they have heard talk of such a project and that Fellowes does not yet have a publishing deal for a prequel book.
Currently portrayed by Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern, the characters would obviously be played by younger actors in any potential prequel series. The third season of Downton Abbey just began airing on ITV in the United Kingdom and is still drawing strong numbers, although they have dropped slightly from its sophomore season.
Have to admit, I am completely in the dark about Downton Abbey and it seems surprising that such a staunchly British program would gain so much traction in American pop culture. Would you be interested in a Downton prequel?