Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has spoken about plans for a prequel to the series, focusing on younger lives of two main characters.

“I do actually have an idea of doing a prequel of the courtship of Robert and Cora,” Fellowes told BBC News. “When all those American heiresses were arriving in London.” The Earl and Lady of Grantham (played by Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern, respectively) are two of Downton‘s main characters, and have been fan favourites since the show was launched in 2010.

Speaking at a Bafta Screenwriters’ Lecture, the Oscar-winning writer gave a small insight into the sort of things we can expect to see when the prequel is brought to life. “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 told an excitable audience. “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 which has affected their marriage beyond that.”

Initially, Fellowes referenced the prequel as being a book; however, it would likely be adapted for the screen at some point. If this were the case, we would likely see the parts recast with younger actors portraying the beloved characters. The plot has plenty of potential for an American setting, with the Earl attempting to woo the future Lady of Grantham.

So, when can we expect to see this prequel? Well, not for a while yet. “For me, any other books or plays or films should follow after the end of the television show,” he confessed. Currently in its third series, Downton Abbey is slated to continue for at least another two series – meaning it could be another three years before we finally see the origin story realized on paper or screen.

Would you like to see a Downton Abbey prequel? Which character’s origins would you like to see besides the lovers?

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