Spin-Off Goals: Should ‘Downton Abbey’ season 6 lead to Tom Branson story?

Before we get too deep into this latest edition of our Spin-Off Goals article series, we should kick things off with a warning: There are some minor spoilers ahead for “Downton Abbey” season 6. We don’t give away everything, but you may still want to sit this one out unless you’ve already seen all of it.

Still with us? Then take a look below to get some other insight into how we think that if the ITV show did decide to do a spin-off rather than a movie at some point in the future (which has been discussed), Tom Branson would be perfect for it. Note that we have no actual evidence anything is happening here; this is just a fun bit of discussion about what could be.

Why Branson? – The funny thing is that he would’ve been even more perfect for it had he never come back from America. We were already thinking of a story that could have featured him running some sort of mechanic shop in Boston and raising his daughter. Still, there is always potential still for a spin-off set overseas still with Allen Leech’s character, and he is appealing for many reasons. He’s got the past of a commoner but a present in the upper class, and therefore is relatable to both parties. Also, Branson could be set up for a life away from the Abbey now running the automotive shop with Henry Talbot, and that could give the show a different feel. Focusing on this part of his life would negate the need to see many of the other regulars as much.

The idea – Like we just mentioned, running the automotive shop would be a very good idea, but for our money, so would him discovering that he has some family in Ireland who could use his help, and he goes back to give them a better shot at life. The new show could introduce us to more of his relatives, his lineage, and tell a rags-to-riches story from the perspective of someone who’s already moved up in society. A great thing about this move is that Irish history is not something that is that familiar to many worldwide audiences, and he’d be close enough still that it’s feasible some “Downton” characters could come and visit him from time to time. It’s a little more connected to that world than Tom in America, and it gives him a legitimate reason to move away from the Abbey, which he would need at this point.

Could it actually happen? – Ultimately, it’s unlikely because Julian Fellowes has made it clear that a movie is where he’d like to go next with the series … though we’d still be game to see a last-second switch. “Downton Abbey” was a huge success in the ratings, and we feel like a Branson spin-off would keep some of that audience, while still being different enough to attract new viewers as well. Never say never, even if we don’t exactly envision it happening.

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