ByRebecca Hyland, writer at

Since Kate Middleton's visit to the set last week, Downton Abbey fans have rightfully been getting excited about this year's sixth season.

While American viewers have no set date scheduled for the release of the next season, UK viewers can look forward to seeing the Crawleys once more in the fall.

But what is in store for our favorite aristocrats?

Rose and Tom Have Left Downton Abbey

Lily James (Rose in DA) may not return to the Abbey
Lily James (Rose in DA) may not return to the Abbey

As you have probably noticed, Lily James (who plays Rose in Downton Abbey) is off on a worldwide promotional tour for [Cinderella](movie:373064) that has taken her away from the current filming of Downton Abbey in the UK. Although she has stated her desire to continue on in her role at Downton, it seems unlikely given her hectic schedule and reports from cast and crew.

According to Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham himself), season six will pick up six months after last year's Christmas special and will see Tom Branson (played by Allen Leech) and Rose are already off in America starting their new lives. So it seems likely that if we see Rose at all, it will only be for a quick visit to the Abbey.

Farewell to Branson
Farewell to Branson

Allen Leech, who plays lovable former-chauffeur turned pseudo son Tom Branson, is similarly making it big on the silver screen and may also be absent for season 6 of the drama.

After teasing that Branson may be taking little Sibby off to the US for the whole of season 5, finally he bade farewell in the Christmas special and we were suitably sad, but well prepared for the loss.

As with Rose, it is likely that Tom will make a short comeback at some stage in season 6, however don't expect to see him at the dinner table any time soon.

If anything, the two are more likely to star in the Christmas special that Bonneville announced would occur once again this year. A Christmas holiday at Downton Abbey for the pair seems like the perfect excuse for a trip across the Atlantic.

Maggie Smith's Violet Will Also Leave Downton

Maggie Smith ready to leave Downton Abbey
Maggie Smith ready to leave Downton Abbey

Crowd favorite Maggie Smith who plays the upstanding, snobbish, but lovable Dowager Countess of Grantham has hinted that season 6 will see the end of Cousin Violet.

The British legend of the screen has pointed out that by 1925 (the year in which season 6 is set) would see Violet being around 100 and seems like a suitable time for her to leave. Although I have previously written that I hope Julian Fellowes kills Violet off this year, now that it is a distinct possibility I am concerned that Downton Abbey without her acerbic, brilliant remarks just won't be the same!

New Love Interest for Lady Mary

Matthew Goode and Michelle Dockery in Downton Abbey
Matthew Goode and Michelle Dockery in Downton Abbey

Is it just me, or is Matthew Goode the best thing since sliced bread?

Rumors have circulated which suggest that Matthew Goode, who made a guest star appearance in 2014's Christmas special as the dashing Henry Talbot, could be back in season 6!

After a scene stealing performance last year, the star of [The Imitation Game](movie:267965) and could be back for more.....depending on his scheduling commitments with The Good Wife.

Given that CBS have renewed [Scorpion](series:1232420) and [Madam Secretary](series:1226020) , we could get lucky and The Good Wife may not be picked up for a seventh season - leaving Goode free to come back and sweep Lady Mary off her feet!

Lady Edith Will Also Have a New Love Interest

Things should heat up soon for Lady Edith
Things should heat up soon for Lady Edith

And let's not forget about poor Lady Edith....

After all the stress of trying to care for little Marigold, while dealing with the hassle of keeping her motherhood status a secret, that drama is finally behind her and Edith can move on to bigger and better things.

In the Christmas special we met Bertie Pelham, a charming land agent that got along very well with our Edith.

Lady Edith and Bertie Pelham - a cute couple!
Lady Edith and Bertie Pelham - a cute couple!

While Pelham is no aristocrat, and their coupling may therefore lead to some trials for Edith, it seems likely that this relationship is going to continue to bloom in season 6.

Hugh Bonneville has been full of spoilers, stating that characters we met at the end of season 5 "may or may not be coming over the horizon to break or make the hearts of Lady Mary and Lady Edith". This is promising news for our girl Edith!

What would you like to see in season 6 of [Downton Abbey](series:251870) ? Do you think it will/should be the last season?


Should Tom Branson come back to live at Downton Abbey?


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