The Crown will last much longer than we previously thought. Despite earlier announcements saying the show's fifth season would be its last, Netflix has confirmed that the series will continue past Season 5. The biggest issue, however, is that because of coronavirus-related delays, fans will have to wait longer than usual for it to return.
Yet, even with the postponements, Netflix has already begun announcing members of the new royal cast. (Like Claire Foy and Matt Smith of Seasons 1 and 2, Olivia Colman and co. will be replaced by new actors for Seasons 5 and 6 to reflect the passage of time.) Here's what we know about the next installment of The Crown, who'll be in it, and when to expect it.
The Crown Season 5 starts filming in July, but won't premiere until 2022.
Production for the fifth season will kick off in July, Variety confirmed with The Crown's producers. Filming will take place at the usual Elstree Studios, just north of London, and is expected to abide by strict COVID-19 protocols, even as lockdown measures in the United Kingdom begin to ease up.
With production beginning this summer, Season 5 likely won't arrive to Netflix until 2022, Deadline previously reported. The delay wasn't caused by the coronavirus pandemic, however. Apparently, the break was planned all along.
After Season 4 debuted last fall, fans will have to wait more than a year for the next installment. Of course, this isn't the first time The Crown has taken a long break; there was a two-year wait between Seasons 2 and 3 too.
This won't be the final season after all.
Although Netflix announced in January 2020 that The Crown's fifth season would be its last, months later, the streamer confirmed that the series would in fact get one more chapter.
"As we started to discuss the storylines for Series 5, it soon became clear that in order to do justice to the richness and complexity of the story we should go back to the original plan and do six seasons," Peter Morgan said in a statement.
And with Season 6 slated to bring the story into the early 2000s, per Variety, that means Season 5 could cover the late '90s; but that's yet to be confirmed.
The Crown was meant to last for six seasons from the start. After the show first debuted, Netflix's head of content, Ted Sarandos, said in 2016, "The idea is to do this over six decades, in six seasons presumably, and make the whole show over eight to 10 years."
Sarandos's plan seemed to be further solidified in October 2019, when show creator Peter Morgan signed a massive overall deal with Netflix. Sources had told Deadline that the agreement would include two more seasons of The Crown following Season 4. After all the back and forth, we're back to Plan A.
Imelda Staunton will portray the queen.
Just as the cast was updated after the first two seasons, the show is doing the same by the time it arrives to Season 5. Netflix confirmed that, after Olivia Colman's tenure as Queen Elizabeth II, Harry Potter alum Imelda Staunton will take over.
Though the streaming company first shut down the rumors in November 2019, it later confirmed the news two months later. Staunton said in a statement, "I am genuinely honoured to be joining such an exceptional creative team and to be taking The Crown to its conclusion."
Lesley Manville will play Princess Margaret.
Taking over for Helena Bonham Carter, who earned a Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of Princess Margaret, Lesley Manville will transform into the queen's younger sister for The Crown's final season. An Oscar nominee for her supporting role in 2017's Phantom Thread, the British actress has credits that include Love Life, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, The Queen, and Another Year.
"I could not be happier to be playing Princess Margaret," Manville said of the regal role. "The baton is being passed on from two formidable actresses and I really don't want to let the side down. Furthermore, to play siblings with my dear friend Imelda Staunton will be nothing short of a complete joy."
Jonathan Pryce will portray Prince Philip.
Pryce will carry on the role of the Duke of Edinburgh after Tobias Menzies, joining Staunton and Manville in a powerhouse lead trio for The Crown's final two seasons. While viewers may most recently recognize the actor for his Oscar-nominated performance in The Two Popes, fans of Game of Thrones (remember the High Sparrow?), The Wife, Tomorrow Never Dies, Evita, and The Pirates of the Caribbean may are also familiar with the seasoned Welsh star.
Elizabeth Debicki will play Princess Diana.
It's been announced that Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki will be taking over the role of Princess Diana from Emma Corrin. Debicki will play the Princess of Wales in the final two seasons of The Crown.
While Corrin was a relative unknown when she was hired to play the iconic princess, Debicki has already been making a name for herself in Hollywood with roles in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Great Gatsby, Widows, The Night Manager, and both Peter Rabbit movies. She was most recently seen in Christopher Nolan's Tenet.
"Princess Diana's spirit, her words and her actions live in the hearts of so many," Debicki said of her casting in a statement. "It is my true privilege and honour to be joining this masterful series, which had me absolutely hooked from episode one."
Dominic West is reportedly in talks to play Prince Charles.
West, known for his roles in The Wire and The Affair, is in "late-stage discussions" to star as the Prince of Wales, but the deal isn't official yet, sources have told Variety and Deadline. If the deal goes through, West would play Charles for The Crown's final two seasons, starring opposite Debicki as Princess Diana. He'll follow Josh O'Connor in the role.
Watch this space for updates.