As the head of the Crawley household and the agent of Downton Abbey (at the beginning of the show), Robert takes his responsibilities very seriously. The series begins with Robert finding out the heir to Downton, his cousin, died in the sinking of the Titanic. Much of the first season focuses on Robert’s attempts to keep Downton in the family, as his three daughters cannot inherit the estate. During the events of the second film, which takes place in 1928, Robert finds out that his mother Violet, the Dowager Countess, has inherited a villa in southern France. In order to get to the bottom of the mystery of why his mother was given the villa, Robert travels to France, leaving the care of Downton in his daughter Mary and son-in-law Tom’s hands. McGovern is the lone American in the cast of “Downton Abbey,” as she plays a US heiress, Cora, who Robert married in order to secure Downton’s financial future. However, the two ended up actually falling in love and having a happy marriage which produced three daughters. She’s now the grandmother of multiple grandchildren and, as usual, is on hand to support her husband and daughters in their various adventures. In the first episode of “Downton,” Mary is dealing with the death of her fiancé and cousin, who died on the Titanic. Throughout the first few seasons, her relationship with another distant cousin, Matthew Crawley (played by Dan Stevens) was one of the biggest plotlines in the show. Mary married Talbot (Matthew Goode) in the last season of “Downton.” By the second movie, the two are still married, but her husband is busy traveling the world — in real life, Goode couldn’t be in the film due to scheduling conflicts. While her sister Edith, brother-in-law Tom, and parents travel to France, Mary stays behind to supervise the production of a movie being filmed at their estate while dodging the advances of its director, played by Hugh Dancy. Edith began the series as the oft-overlooked middle Crawley sister and remains unlucky in love throughout the series — she was both left at the altar and essentially widowed when her fiancé died (and she was then-pregnant with his illegitimate child). She eventually finds love with Bertie Pelham. They got married during season six. Edith accompanies her parents on their journey to France, along with her husband. Violet is easily the funniest character on “Downton,” as her sharp wit never fails to make us laugh. Her schemes, while a tad conniving, always come from a love of her family and her ancestral home. At the end of the first film, Violet revealed to her granddaughter Mary that she had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and wasn’t sure how much time she had left. But when “A New Era” picks up, Violet is still among the living — and actually has inherited a villa in the south of France. Violet decides to leave the villa to her great-granddaughter and asks her son, daughter-in-law, granddaughter, and grandson-in-law to take stock of the home. While there, Robert discovers that his ancestry might not be what he thought it was. Carson has been part of the Grantham estate for almost his entire life, as his father was the head groom, and Carson started out as a junior footman. By the time the show starts, Carson is the head of all of the male servants and is a trusted confidante of Robert and his daughter, Mary. Throughout the series, fans watched the relationship between Carson and the Crawley’s housekeeper, Mrs. Hughes, develop. They got engaged during the season five Christmas special and were wed in season six. During the series finale, Carson is finally forced to retire due to a health condition. Along with making the journey to France with some of the Crawley family, Carson is also brought back to the estate at Mary’s request to train a new butler. Mrs. Hughes starts off the show as the head housekeeper at the estate, and essentially the most important opinion in all things happening “downstairs” with the servants — not even Carson likes to do things without Mrs. Hughes’ approval. After being very stressed out about the royal visit in the first “Downton Abbey” film, Mrs. Carson (née Hughes) now has to contend with a film shooting at the estate. Bates and Robert first served together in the army, which is why Robert feels obligated to hire him and keep him on staff, despite an injured leg that many of the fellow servants believe makes him unsuitable for the work. However, he proves them all wrong and becomes a beloved member of the staff. Bates also falls in love with a fellow employee, Anna, the head housemaid. Their up-and-down relationship is the focus of many a storyline. They married in season two and had their first child in the series finale. After the drama that those two endured in the original show, they deserve a relaxing time. At first, Anna is the only person at Downton who is kind to Bates when he arrives, and the two share a special bond that eventually progresses into love. Anna also proves herself as a maid and is promoted to lady’s maid for Mary during the course of the series. Anna was also at the center of one of “Downton Abbey’s” most controversial storylines when she is sexually assaulted by a visiting valet during season four. There’s not much to go off in the trailer for Anna, but there are a few shots of her looking happy — thankfully. Barrow starts off the show as one of the most consistent villains, constantly scheming to take out Bates — and then anyone else who is in his way of getting promoted to Carson’s position when he retires. Barrow slowly undergoes a transformation and becomes one of the most beloved members of the staff, all while experiencing the hardships of being a closeted gay man in the 1910s and ’20s. Barrow begins “A New Era” as the butler of the estate, and seems to make an impression on the star of the movie that’s filming at Downton, Guy Dexter, as played by Dominic West. Daisy begins as one of the kitchen maids at the estate who is frequently taken advantage of, or is the subject of pranks, due to her innocent and gullible nature. Over time, she develops a strong relationship with the cook, Mrs. Patmore, and eventually becomes the assistant cook. By the series finale, she has fallen in love with Andy Parker, a footman at her father-in-law’s farm. Daisy Parker, as she’s now called, is married to Andy after the events of the first film and the two are living together on her father-in-law Mr. Mason’s farm. Mrs. Patmore forms a strong relationship with Daisy over the course of the series and takes her on as an apprentice. She also begins seeing Daisy’s father-in-law, Mr. Mason. As per usual, Mrs. Patmore seems to relish her latest challenge: cooking for an entire film cast and crew. The first episode of “Downton Abbey” ends with Matthew receiving the news that he is the new heir of the estate while eating breakfast with his mother. While he is reluctant to take on the responsibility, his mother is determined for her son to accept the offer. After her son’s death, Isobel becomes genuinely close with Violet, and the two bond. Isobel married Lord Merton, aka Dickie, in the series finale. The two will both appear in “A New Era.” When Baxter joins the staff, it becomes clear that Thomas Barrow knows a secret about her, and uses it to manipulate her. Eventually, it’s revealed that she had stolen jewels from a previous employer and spent time in prison. She and Molesley have affection for each other, but nothing really happens between the two during the series. Baxter is still working at Downton and appears to have a romantic storyline with Joseph Molesley, one of the valets. Molesley becomes part of the Crawley household when Matthew arrives at Downton, and he is named his valet. After Matthew’s death, Molesley is left without a job and struggles to find work until he’s welcomed back as a second footman under Carson. No spoilers, but Molesley and Baxter had a long-simmering attraction to each other that was never fully explored in the series or the first movie — you can expect that to change in “A New Era.” Tom is the most explicitly political character on the show, as he’s a vocal supporter of Irish independence and socialism. He bonds with Lady Sybil, the youngest Crawley daughter, and the two eventually get married. Sadly, Sybil dies in childbirth, leaving Tom alone to figure out where he fits in his new family, as a new member and former employee. He is eventually named co-agent of the estate with his sister-in-law, Mary. During the first movie, Tom falls in love with Lucy, and “A New Era” begins with their wedding. After the reception, Violet gives her lawyer permission to tell Tom and Lucy that Tom’s daughter with Sybil, her great-granddaughter, will be inheriting the mysterious villa that’s the subject of the film. Rosamund begins the series as a widow. She and her late husband, Marmaduke (yes, really), lived together in London, and she remained there after his death. Throughout the show, Rosamund is a well-meaning, if meddlesome, member of the Crawley family, but is always a welcome addition. As the film’s main plot has to do with her mother, you can be sure Rosamund will be around to hear all the gossip. Andy joins the staff as a hall boy and later becomes a footman. He and Barrow have a heartwarming friendship, after Andy gets over Barrow’s sexuality, and lets Barrow teach him how to read and write. Andy also falls in love with Daisy, the assistant cook, and the two are engaged in the first film. The two seem to be in a happier spot than they were in the first film, during which Daisy seemed unsure about marrying Andy until the end. Bertie is who finally gives Edith her happy ending — despite her sister Mary’s best efforts — and marries her in the series finale. And, since Bertie becomes a Marquess due to a distant cousin’s death, Edith now outranks her entire family with her husband’s title. Bertie also decides to accompany his wife and her family on their journey to France. In fact, it’s Murray who lets the Earl of Grantham know who the next heirs of Downton could possibly be, eventually settling on Matthew. We haven’t seen Murray since season three — glad to know he’s still around to help the Crawleys out. Lord Merton’s first appearance involves him apologizing for the legitimately gross (and potentially illegal?) behavior of his son, who drugs Tom Branson the night before Mary and Matthew’s wedding. He appears later on in seasons five and six to court Isobel, Matthew’s mother. They were married in the series finale. Presumably, he’s there to celebrate the wedding of Tom Branson and Lucy.