From an interview with executive producer Rebecca Easton.
– Mary and Matthew DOES get married, for real this time.
– The reason for the appearance of Cora’s mother (played by Shirley McLaine) is …. dum dum dum … the Crawley family is short of money again. Eeeek, they’ve taken Cora’s fortune and made it part of the entail to be inherited by someone who is NOT Cora’s child, and now they’re hoping her family will help them out again? But maybe her granddaughter being married to the heir will soften American granny’s heart a bit.
– The usual ‘somebody will be born (Sybil and Branson’s child, obviously), somebody will die’ stuff.
– This executive producer might want to learn a little diplomacy for her job – some nonsense about Shirley McLaine being ditsy and Maggie Smith being difficult. For heaven’s sake, she’s Maggie freaking Smith, she can be as difficult as she want, she’s practically Britain’s national treasure at this point! Plus, telling the media that an actress is difficult, might make your jiob more difficult, Ms Easton.