'Downton Abbey' Season 6 Spoilers: Which Characters Will Return, Who May Ready To Depart?

Stacy Carey

Season 5 of Downton Abbey is a wrap both in the United Kingdom and the United States and fans are already looking ahead to Season 6. While it will be some time before new episodes begin to air, many are itching for an idea of where things are headed. What Downton Abbey spoilers are available at this point for Season 6?

Executive producer Gareth Neame spoke with Deadline about what lies ahead. As fans saw at the end of Season 5, both Lady Rose and Tom are headed to America. Does that mean they're gone for good?

Neame's Downton Abbey spoilers indicate that while a visit back to England could be factored in at any point, viewers shouldn't expect to see the Crawleys head overseas for a visit. In addition, fans should not expect to see either Tom or Rose factored into next season in any significant way.

While Tom Branson and Lady Rose may be out of the picture, there are new relationships on the horizon for both Lady Edith and Lady Mary. For example, Matthew Goode popped up in the Christmas special, which served as the season finale in the U.S., as a potential new mate for Mary Crawley.

Goode is also still in the role of Finn Polmar on The Good Wife, though he's worked on other projects along the way as well. Will his character of Henry Talbot pop up again in Season 6? Neame wouldn't dish out any specifics one way or another on either Mary or Edith's potential suitors so fans will have to stay tuned on that front.

Viewers are accustomed to seeing a time jump between seasons, and it seems likely that will come about in Season 6 as well. Does that mean that viewers will miss out on watching the aftermath of Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson's engagement play out? Where will Mr. Bates and Anna be at when the show returns? At this point Neame isn't sharing any goods on those fronts yet.

There's been a lot of buzz about how long Downton Abbey will run, particularly surrounding the idea that Season 6 could be the last. As Variety has reported, Maggie Smith says that she doesn't see herself staying in the role of Dowager Countess of Grantham past this next season.

Neame isn't quite so ready to say that Season 6 will be the show's last, as he says that he had been told that Season 3 would be the end several years ago. He adds that he's asked about the end of the show's run by fans a dozen times a day and he seems surprised by the speculation. Though fans would be devastated to see Smith's character of Lady Violet departing in some way, not everybody is ready to see the show wrap up.

While Smith indicates that she's ready to bid farewell to her character, not everybody is convinced that her decision is set in stone. The good news, at least, is that she'll be around in this next season and fans will just have to wait and see from there. Though specific premiere dates have not yet been revealed, Downton Abbey Season 6 will likely premiere on ITV in September with a PBS premiere in the U.S. in January 2016.

[Image via PBS]