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We’re ever so slowly inching toward that joyous day when the highly anticipated fifth season of Downton Abbey will arrive, and, as that’s the case we’re finally starting to see bits and pieces of information emerge about what Series 5 is going to look like.
In short: It’s okay to start getting excited now!
A full spread of delightful new images has been released by ITV and Masterpiece, giving us our first look at the new season key art (it’s even a little bit different this time around), as well as snaps featuring almost all of our favorite characters and a glimpse at the suddenly aged but perfectly adorable Crawley children. We’ve also got several gorgeous looking new promotional cast shots, featuring various familiar faces.
First up, the new Series 5 key art, which keeps the same “full cast in front of Highclere Castle” aesthetic as we’ve seen every othr season, but the positioning of the Crawley crew has changed a tiny bit relative to the house, and everything seems more colorful. Pros: Rose’s gorgeous blue coat is fantastic, the mini-Crawleys are super adorable, Molesley has finally made the group shot and Isis is finally featured front and centered as she should be! Cons: Edith sure does seem rather shunted off to the side, and the Dowager Countess seems rather unfortunately lost in the middle.)
Tom Cullen’s is back as Lord Gillingham , and looks rather well integrated with the Crawley crew, judging by this posh looking hunting party shot opposite Michelle Dockery’s Mary and Allen Leech’s Tom Branson.
Richard E. Grant (whom you’ve probably most recently seen on Doctor Who) joins the cast of Season 5 as Simon Bricker. Here’s your first look at his character opposite Elizabeth McGovern as Cora.
Sadly, it does not appear that Sophie McShera is going to get her wish for Daisy to get a different outfit in the new season:
Isobel Crawley, on the other hand, seems to have gotten a bit of a makeover – and what appears to be a new gardening hobby? But what a gorgeous promotional shot of Penelope Wilton!
Brendan Coyle and Joanne Froggatt look super serious in this shot, so I guess we can assume more drama is in store for Bates and Anna?
Phyllis Logan and Jim Carter get a photo together as Carson and Mrs. Hughes, which means diehard fans of that relationship (read as: Yours truly) are going to spend the next few months rabidly speculating about whether we’re finally going to see some progress of the romantic kind here.
And…then there’s Thomas. Robert James-Collier looks awesome in this picture, but it gives us no idea would Season 5 might have in store for this character, who sometimes seemed very out of place in the storylines of last year. Fingers crossed.
Bonus: Since Series 5 – much like every other season – seems to feature at least a semi-significant time jump, our youngest Crawley family members have gotten quite a bit older. And definitely more adorable.
Fifi Hart has been cast as the young Sybil Branson, rocking what is possible the world’s cutest haircut. Look at those bangs!
Twins Oliver and Zac Barker have been cast as the young George Crawley, and they both look so much like Dan Stevens’ dearly departed Matthew that it’s uncanny.
All photos: Courtesy of ©Nick Briggs/Carnival Films 2014 for MASTERPIECE
There don't appear to be anyshots of Hugh Bonneville (Robert), Laura Carmichael (Edith), Leslie Nichols (Mrs. Patmore) or Lily James (Rose) yet, but here's hoping that they aren't too far behind these! (I need to see what Rose's outfits will be like!)
Downton Abbey Season 5 will air this Fall in the UK and premiere on Masterpiece beginning January 4, 2015. The countdown is officially on!
What do you think of these first images? Any speculation or reactions to share?