'Downton Abbey' Season 4 'will feel in a different era' than past seasons
"It feels more in the '20s than before. ... Edith goes to London a lot and we see the streets of London and Lily James' character Rose is another sort of bright young thing character who's having a lot of fun at Downton," says Carmichael. "In amongst the mourning there are these sort of escapes for a couple of the characters. ... It will feel in a different era."
"We're going to increasingly see that this world [of large, wealthy estates] is coming to an end," adds Neame. "All of the characters are coming into the modern age. It is the story of these 20-25 characters that are much loved around the world and how they continue to try to get by."
In moving forward, the house will continue to have the intrigues that fans have come to love and expect, including Thomas keeping up his nefarious ways.
"It's going to be a complex world with [Thomas] going forward," says Neame. "[With O'Brien leaving] there's going to be a bit of a shakeup with what happens to his story. But he's always going to have that core thing of wanting to be in control, wanting to find out what's going on, wanting to dictate things, that rivalry with Carson. ... He remains a very compelling character."
As far as the show going forward, the stars and EP say that they hope to make the show for as long as people want to watch
"I'm now eying the fifth season and what those stories potentially would be," says Neame. "I think the show has a lot further to go. We're not going to World War II, but that's still 18 years away in story terms. We want to make it and we want to make the show people around the world love. ... When we feel it's had its time, hopefully we'll know that before you guys do."
For more "Downton Abbey" scoop, check out our summary of the first footage from Season 4.