It’s been almost four years since the Downton Abbey series finale aired, leaving fans to wonder what would become of these beloved characters and the gorgeous estate that had come to feel like home. Luckily, the release of the highly anticipated Downton Abbey movie, which hit theaters on Friday, Sept. 20, allows us the chance to catch up with most of our favorite residents of Downton and see what they’ve been up to over the last few years. The key word I used just now is most, though, since not everyone was able to make an appearance in the film. Sadly, Lily James isn’t in the Downton Abbey movie, so be prepared to miss Lady Rose dearly as you find out what the upstairs and downstairs folks have been up to.
As most Downton Abbey fans will remember, Lady Rose proved to be a bright and bubbly addition to the Crawley clan. She helped encourage them to embrace the future (whether it be in the form of advancing technology or fashion attire), despite Robert’s (Hugh Bonneville) preference to adhere to the old, traditional ways. She was a breath of fresh air at the Downton estate, which makes it all the more disappointing that she isn’t included in the franchise’s continuation. However, it’s not because James wasn’t interested in reprising the role. In fact, she would’ve loved to have returned to set like so many other members of the original cast.
“I’m sadly not, but I’m so excited for it — I’m going to be front row,” James told People, when asked if she’d be part of the Downton Abbey movie back in July 2018. “I spoke to Laura [Carmichael] not long ago and was texting Michelle [Dockery] about Love Island and it’s going to be really exciting. And the whole gang is coming back.” But while there is a reason she wasn't included in that reunion, James told the outlet that it had nothing to do with any schedule conflicts on her end.
“My character Rose moved off to New York, so it would be farfetched to bring her back,” James explained. “I would have loved to have come back for a scene, but for a movie, it can’t be like a Christmas special and it needs to be a focused storyline. There was no space for Rose.”
In a way, the reasoning makes sense, but that won’t keep fans from missing James’ presence. She's just so delightful! How could we not?