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Lily James on Mamma Mia's Meryl Streep mystery: "I don't want to ruin it"

Fans have been wondering whether Donna is alive in the Mamma Mia sequel

Lily James and Meryl Streep
Published: Friday, 20th April 2018 at 10:30 am

Abba told us that "bye bye doesn't mean forever," but since the first trailer for Mamma Mia 2 arrived, fans have been extremely concerned at the lack of Meryl Streep. Surely Donna can't be dead?


Several key pieces of evidence seemed to suggest that our favourite Dancing Queen is still alive, but we have to admit the latest footage has us pretty convinced Donna has, indeed, said bye bye forever.

So what's the truth? We asked Lily James, who has joined the cast as Young Donna...

As you might imagine, James – who currently stars as Juliet Ashton in period movie The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society (try saying that in a hurry) – is giving very little away.

"I can't, I don't want... I just don't want to ruin it for anyone," she explained.

"The story is so brilliant and people are going to love it so much and I don't want to spoil anything."

Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia! (JG)
Meryl Streep in Mamma Mia!

What we do know is that James's role in the movie is pretty substantial. The trailer reveals extensive flashbacks to Donna's first days on the fictional island of Kalokairi and her romances with Bill, Sam and Harry.

In the present day, as a pregnant Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) prepares to give birth to her first child, she follows in the footsteps of her inspirational (and possibly dead) mother.

It has been an excellent year for James, who first became a familiar face on our screens as Lady Rose in Downton Abbey.

Before heading off to Greece she filmed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society alongside Downton alumni Jessica Brown Findlay, Penelope Wilton and Matthew Goode.

Lily James in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Lily James in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Studio Canal)

Based on a historical novel, it tells the story of a writer who forms an unexpected bond with the residents of Guernsey Island in the years after the Second World War and in the aftermath of the Nazi occupation.

"It's been a really brilliant year," she told "I started out making this film [Guernsey], having one of the greatest times with such an incredible cast, and then ended the year doing it again with different people [on Mamma Mia].

"I've loved making these films this year, I've felt such joy, it's been really special."


The Guernsey and Literary Potato Peel Society will be released in cinemas on 20th April


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