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‘Downton Abbey’: First Photos from Final Season

In anticipation of “Downton Abbey’s” final season, the first-look photos for the new episodes have been released.

Among the pictures is the official cast photo outside the castle (above), though a few characters are missing, namely Branson (Allen Leech) and Lady Rose (Lily James).

Though rumors have been swirling of a follow-up movie to the series — to which exec producers commented to Variety, with “Masterpiece’s” Rebecca Eaton teasing, “When you have a hit, why wouldn’t you?” — the only official “Downton” plan in the near future is the Stateside season-six premiere on Jan. 3 on PBS.

A few weeks back at the Television Critics Assn. press tour, the cast all joked that they are mostly busy with other projects, following “Downton,” and exec producer Gareth Neame left the conversation open as to whether a movie or spinoff would occur.

Of a spinoff, Neame told Variety, “I can’t guarantee it’s even going to happen. Julian [Fellowes] and I would be very happy to do it if that opportunity comes along. Now that we’re at the beginning of the end of the TV show, we can start to think about it.”

Fellowes, who created the series, added, “It may be reborn as a movie or a play or a musical or a ballet. Who knows if we’ve seen the last of it?”

Downton Abbey” season six premieres Stateside Jan. 3 on PBS.

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