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'Downton Abbey 2' hitting theaters in December

Downton Abbey fans rejoice: The Crawley family is returning for the holidays.

NEW YORK — The original principal cast of “Downton Abbey” are returning for a second film that will arrive in theaters December 22 this year, Focus Features announced Monday.

“Downton Abbey" creator Julian Fellowes has written the sequel's screenplay, and Simon Curtis ("My Week With Marilyn") is directing. Joining the original cast are Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye and Dominic West.

Production began last week on “Downton Abbey 2.”

“After a very challenging year with so many of us separated from family and friends, it is a huge comfort to think that better times are ahead and that next Christmas we will be re-united with the much beloved characters of ‘Downton Abbey,’" said producer Gareth Neame.

The 2019 film, coming three years after the series ending, made $194.3 million on a modest budget of less than $20 million.

The first movie was set in 1927, two years after the events of the series finale. In the film, the Crawley's learned that King George V and Queen Mary would be paying Downton Abbey a visit, and must prepare to receive the monarchs.