The Gilded Age: Did creator Julian Fellowes just tease a Downton Abbey crossover?

Virgin Radio

25 Jan 2022, 17:01

Credit: HBO Max / Milk Publicity, Universal Pictures

Credit: HBO Max / Milk Publicity, Universal Pictures

Period drama fans are no doubt thrilled to see The Gilded Age on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV, but could a Downton Abbey crossover happen in the near future?

Julian Fellowes, the mastermind behind both series, has sent Downton fans into a frenzy in a new interview with Deadline.

When asked if characters from the historical drama universes could collide one day, Julian said: “I've learned this much, never say never. I'll stick with that as my answer."

While The Gilded Age is set in New York during the ‘boom years’ of the 1880’s, it’s not out the realms of possibility that the characters currently living in the Yorkshire county where Downton is set could eventually meet.

One of the main connections Downton has to the States comes from Cora Crawley, played by Elizabeth McGovern. She’s an American heiress who married Earl Of Grantham Robert Crawley, portrayed by Hugh Bonneville. 

Yes, Cora was born in Cincinnati, but there could be strong ties to New York, seeing as her family moved to the Big Apple before she got married. 

Another connection to the city comes from Cora’s mother Martha Levinson, played by Shirley MacLaine and brother Harold Levinson, played by Paul Giamatti, who were still living in New York during the Downton years. 

The Gilded Age is set in 1882, but originally that era began in the 1870s and spanned right up until the 20th century. The very first series of Downton takes place between 1912 and 1914, which means it does technically miss out on that famous 'gilded' time.

That isn’t to say a younger version of Downton’s elite couldn't show up in 1880’s New York, and it might have been the case we’ve already had one of New York's rich and famous attend one of the countless social gatherings over the years on this side of the pond too.

It’s not a crazy theory, as explained by executive producer Gareth Neame, who has previously alluded that it could happen one day.

He told TV Line: “It’s a separate universe, but they’re both fictions set in the 1880s. Downton Abbey, in its own fiction, was definitely there. A younger version of the Maggie Smith character would be living there, I guess. But it’s not really planned.”

“[It] will only take a decade or so for HBO or Universal to say, ‘Great, let’s do a Gilded meets Downton mashup!'”

So there’s hope out there Downton fans yet - but for the moment, you’ll have to tune into The Gilded Age to see if dreams turn into a reality one day. 

The Gilded Age is available to watch on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV from today (Tuesday 25th January).