'Downton Abbey' stars tease money woes, wedding and 'roller coaster to come'

The U.S. season three premiere of "Downton Abbey" is just weeks away, and thanks to the some new tidbits from the cast, fans have several fascinating twists and turns to focus on until the upstairs-downstairs drama is back.

Stars Hugh Bonneville (Robert, Earl of Grantham), Elizabeth McGovern (Cora, Countess of Grantham), Joanne Froggatt (Anna), Sophie McShera (Daisy), Jim Carter (Mr. Carson), and Rob James-Collier (Thomas) visited TODAY Wednesday morning and delivered the "Downton" details.

"It kicks off with the discovery that Robert has made a catastrophic financial investment, so we might have to move house," Bonneville explained to TODAY's own "Downton" superfan Savannah Guthrie.

"The for-sale sign is going up, and there's an open house on alternate Saturdays," he joked before adding, on a serious note, that "there's a roller coaster to come."

The addition of veteran stage and screen actress Shirley MacLaine in the role of Cora's mother is sure to account for some of those ups and downs.

"She brings a lot of the pizzazz that you would expect from Shirley," McGovern assured. "She doesn't have to do much. It's just there in her. And she also really presents a different culture -- which is America -- coming in to 'Downton Abbey.' We see her knock against Maggie (Smith's Dowager Countess) as the sort of English culture, and interesting things spark from that."

Another spark viewers can look forward to is the continuing romance between Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley, which is headed precisely in the direction it appeared to be last season.

"Well, at the end of season two, we saw that wonderful proposal, and I think we can reveal that a wedding is on the horizon," Bonneville teased.

  • Slideshow Photos

    'Downton Abbey' season 3

    The drama at the English estate kicks off on PBS on Jan. 6, 2013. Get a sneak peek at some of the photos from the new season!

  • 'Downton Abbey' season 3

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    The cast -

    The Great War is over and a long-awaited engagement is on, but all is not tranquil at Downton Abbey as wrenching social changes, romantic intrigues, and personal crises grip the majestic English country estate for a third season.
    Carnival Film & Television Limited 2012 / Masterpiece
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    The great dames -

    Dowager Countess Violet (Maggie Smith) will pit her sharp tongue against new foe Martha Levinson (Shirley MacLaine), Cora's mother, in the new season.
    Nick Briggs / Masterpiece
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    The American -

    Shirley MacLaine joins the cast in season three as Martha Levinson, the Countess of Grantham's mother from America.
    Nick Briggs / Masterpiece
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    Inmate -

    Lord Grantham's valet, John Bates (Brendan Coyle) may have escaped the death sentence after being found guilty of murder in season two, but he's still behind bars. Bates and lady love Anna (Joanne Froggatt) will be fighting for his freedom this season.
    Joss Barratt / Masterpiece
  • 'Downton Abbey' season 3

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    High standards -

    Downton's butler, Mr. Carson (Jim Carter), came down with the Spanish flu at the end of the season. Prior to that, he struggled to keep the small staff performing its duties exactly, though much of the male staff was off at war.
    Joss Barratt / Masterpiece
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    Mr. and Mrs. Strallan? -

    Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) found love again with season one suitor Sir Anthony Strallan (Robert Bathurst), but will they make it down the aisle in season three?
    Nick Briggs / Masterpiece
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    Running the house -

    Housekeeper Mrs. Hughes (Phyliis Logan) and cook Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol) kept the estate tidy and fed during the war. In the new season, one of the ladies will face a challenge that brings the two closer together.
    Joss Barratt / Masterpiece
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    The help -

    O'Brien was her scheming self at times during season two. Expect more of that behavior in the new year.
    Nick Briggs / Masterpiece

But beyond that, the cast was determined to remain tight-lipped.

"I can't give anything away really," Carter insisted. "It's terrible. I don't want to be a spoilsport here on the program, but it would ruin it for people if they knew the story. It's more of the same, but bigger and better -- let's put it like that."

See what else the cast had to say, including talk of their adventures in America, in the clip above.

"Downton Abbey" returns to Masterpiece Classic on PBS Jan. 6.

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