The British aristocracy, long may they reign, at least on our television sets. Downton Abbey scribe Julian Fellowes said at a British Academy Film and Television Academy screenwriter's lecture that he is working on a prequel to the hit period soap, focusing on the Earl and Countess of Grantham, the British patriarch and American matriarch of the Crawley clan. "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," Fellowes said, according to BBC News by way of The Hollywood Reporter. "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." Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley, step aside, a new young love will be fraught with troubles brought on by British classism.
Fellowes "spoke of the prequel in book form," the BBC reported, adding that "a TV adaptation seems almost certain." Any sort of follow-up would happen after Downton has shuttered its doors for good, Fellowes said. The show's third season — or series if we want to be British about it — is currently being broadcast across the pond. We Americans have to wait (or not) until January to see it. For a prequel, younger actors would be cast to replace Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern, who currently play the roles. Brace for inevitable speculation as to who would fill the parts. Please just let it not be Anne Hathaway. Please.