Brow Beat

Predictions for What Will Happen in the Downton Abbey Movie, Based on the Year It Takes Place

A large castle is in the foreground, surrounded by green lawns.
Cue the dramatic soaring music. Niklas Halle’n/Getty Images

On Wednesday, a new trailer for the upcoming Downton Abbey movie dropped at CinemaCon, bringing us all one step closer to seeing which slowly approaching disaster will get the band back together under the abbey’s expansive roof. And while the trailer hasn’t yet been released for public consumption, according to Variety, that disaster will come in the form of a royal visit from King George V and Queen Mary.

Considering the seemingly boundless interest in the modern-day royal family and the success of The Crown, an impending social call from royalty is the perfect device to throw our favorite household into disarray. And apparently that household has been substantially pared down in the year that’s passed since we last caught up with the Crawleys. With the Great Depression on the horizon, a tightening of the purse strings only makes sense, and Variety reports that Lady Mary Crawley is considering abandoning the estate altogether.

While the royal visit and Lady Mary’s bid for freedom from running the family property will surely drum up enough tension to keep the movie’s momentum going, I can only assume that the fact that the movie takes place in 1927 will also have some sort of plot significance.
It is, of course, two years before the stock market crash that sent the world into an economic downturn, but given Downton’s fondness for incorporating other “current” events, here are a few more historically significant moments that I am more than positive will end up in the final cut, which hits theaters in the U.S. on Sept. 20.*

• Joseph Stalin succeeds Leon Trotsky as the supreme leader of the Communist Party. Branson leaves on a pilgrimage to the Soviet Union to join the Red Army, only to return disillusioned and once again stuck in England.

• Branson also mentions at some point that the two Italian anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti should not have been executed that year, earning him dirty looks from both Earl Grantham and Mr. Carson.

• Rumors of a talking picture called The Jazz Singer cause the Dowager Countess to purse her lips and make a cutting remark about the advance of technology. She wears a large, tilted hat as she does so.

• Charles Lindbergh, who completed his first solo flight across the Atlantic in 1927, gets a profile in Edith’s magazine. The long nights it takes to complete the profile throw her marriage into a crisis. Poor Edith.

• Ernest Hemingway’s love life is discussed at the ample dining table after he divorces Hadley Richardson and marries his second wife Pauline Pfeiffer five months later. Isobel Grey loves a bit of gossip and is unable to resist meddling in the literary scandal from afar.

• The S.S. Principessa Mafalda capsizes off the coast of Brazil, killing 314 people. The Crawleys lose an additional five cousins in the tragedy, plunging the family into yet another succession crisis.

Correction, April 5, 2019: An earlier version of this post misstated the year of the stock market crash that led to the Great Depression.