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Downton Abbey Final Season Trailer Reveals Characters Moving on, It’s the “End of an Era”

Change is in the air for the final season of Downton Abbey. Masterpiece Theatre unveiled the Season 6 trailer for the popular upstairs-downstairs drama on Monday, Sept. 14, and even the stodgiest members of the household are (reluctantly) stepping into a new time.

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“One of the themes of the final series is end of an era,” star Hugh Bonneville, who plays patriarch Lord Grantham, told Us Weekly in August. “End of an era, end of a series.”

Among the changes the trailer teases for Season 6? Picking up in 1925, six months after the Season 5 finale, Lord Grantham will be at least one staff member short, because, as he says to Mr. Carson’s (Jim Carter) horror, “Who has an underbutler these days?” But that wasn’t all that rocked the prim and proper butler. His new fiancée (yes, finally!), head housekeeper Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan), would like him to call her by her first name, Elsie. “Not here! Not while we’re working!” an aghast Carson replies.

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Then there’s also the selling of some beautiful artwork, which hints that the Crawley family may move out of their luscious estate, or at least be downsizing a bit. 

Downton Abbey cast
Nick Briggs/Carnival Films

Perhaps the most exciting change for those who’ve been rooting for poor middle daughter Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) these past five seasons is the promise of a future for the unmarried single mother. It seems she’ll have the opportunity to move to London (perhaps to run the publishing house deceased baby daddy Michael Gregson willed to her). When asked if she’d like to make the move to the city to start a new life, the lady replies, “The fact is, I’d like a life!” 

Though change is afoot, some things will stay the same. Would it really be Downton Abbey without Lady Mary’s (Michelle Dockery) snarky comments about Edith? Or the delightful bickering between Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton) and Maggie Smith’s smart-as-a-whip Dowager Crawley? Or even the annual fox hunt?

And however it ends, Carmichael assured Us in August that fans will be pleased. “I think it’s a really satisfying ending,” she revealed. “There’s going to be a lot of gasps and a lot of tears. But all in that classic Downton way!” 

Masterpiece: Downton Abbey returns Jan. 3 on PBS.

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