The Downton Abbey movie finally gives the once rogue butler Thomas Barrow a brief chance at romance – but according to Rob James-Collier, we very nearly saw him revert back to his old ways.
When Thomas first landed on our screens in 2010, he was Downton’s resident villain, but after six series he eventually settled down and matured – even taking over from Carson to become butler.
**Mild spoilers for the Downton Abbey film follow**
But while we saw Thomas shares a kiss with Richard to give him a happy ending in the film, James-Collier teased that that almost wasn’t the case.
“Initially there was an extra scene that’s been removed where maybe the ending wasn’t as nice, and it was sort of like, tragical Thomas again,” James-Collier explained to Entertainment Weekly.
“They made the decision, even though it was a great scene, to remove that and it was the wise decision. Because it’s a movie, it’s not as dramatic as the series because you can’t have two hours of drama and emotion. It’s Downton as we’ve never seen it before and you have to keep it focused and keep it happier to a certain extent.”
After Richard bails Thomas from jail, the pair’s romance only looks set to blossom further as they write each other letters, suggesting their paths may cross again.
While details of the additional scene were not explained, it is likely to have left out the budding love story.
“There was a slightly more ambiguous ending to that story in the original script. We decided to cut it this way in the end,” producer Gareth Neame explained.
“In the TV series, you could have a sadder ending one episode because the show would be back the following week and you could contrast that with something. The thing with the movie is, this may well be the final instalment, or if there is another instalment that probably won’t be on screens for another couple of years, so you want happy endings. And you want fairly conclusive endings.”
While this is the end of Downton Abbey, and Thomas’s love story, for now, the movie has left plenty of potential for a sequel.
“We’ve got some ideas about what we do next if it happened,” Neame said. “The fans have been used to watching all six seasons of the television show at home in the comfort of their living rooms and for this to work, the fans have to be motivated to get out and buy tickets and go to the theatre. If the fans do that, then the movie will do well, and there will be an appetite amongst all of us to maybe revisit the whole thing.”
Downton Abbey is in cinemas now