Given the drama happening in the royal family lately—Prince Andrew’s association with Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell; Harry and Meghan’s decision to step back from their senior roles and move to California—fans of The Crown have been anticipating a season set in the modern day.
Sadly, it sounds like the series won’t make it all the way to 2020, but it will have a few more chapters after season four debuts this weekend.
Here’s what we know so far about season five.
Morgan has flip-flopped on how long the show will run.
In January of 2020, he confirmed that season five would be the final chapter of the show.
“At the outset I had imagined The Crown running for six seasons but now that we have begun work on the stories for season five it has become clear to me that this is the perfect time and place to stop,” Morgan said, per the Hollywood Reporter. “I’m grateful to Netflix and Sony for supporting me in this decision.”
But now, it seems the original plan to run for six seasons is back in place.
“As we started to discuss the storylines for series five, 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,” Morgan said in July, confirming the news alongside Netflix to the Hollywood Reporter.
Cindy Holland, Netflix’s VP of original content also commented: “The Crown keeps raising the bar with each new season. We can’t wait for audiences to see the upcoming fourth season, and we’re proud to support Peter’s vision and the phenomenal cast and crew for a sixth and final season.”
It likely won’t premiere until 2022.
Deadline confirmed that the show is taking a brief break, and filming won’t pick back up until June 2021. Presumably, that means new episodes won’t premiere until 2022, barring any major complications due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Who will be in the cast?
Morgan fully recast the show ahead of season three, and it seems like will give it a complete overhaul once again for seasons five and six.
Imelda Staunton will take over from Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth.
“I have loved watching The Crown from the very start,” Staunton told the Hollywood Reporter.
“As an actor it was a joy to see how both Claire Foy and Olivia Colman brought something special and unique to Peter Morgan’s scripts. I am genuinely honoured to be joining such an exceptional creative team and to be taking The Crown to its conclusion.”
Morgan has said he is “absolutely thrilled” that Staunton, who most recently was seen alongside her husband Jim Carter in the Downton Abbey film adaptation, is joining the cast, and “taking The Crown into the 21st Century.”
And Colman is excited to see her take on the part, having admitted that Staunton has “already got a much better walk than me.” In a press conference, Colman also wished Staunton “good luck” given that “the wig’s itchy.”
In season five, Princess Margaret will be played by Leslie Manville. “As an actor it was a joy to see how both Claire Foy and Olivia Colman brought something special and unique to Peter Morgan’s scripts,” she said. “I am genuinely honored to be joining such an exceptional creative team and to be taking The Crown to its conclusion.”
Helena Bonham Carter, who has played the Princess in seasons three and four is glad to pass the proverbial baton.
“It’s like handing a baton. It’s like a relay race, but it never comes back,” she said. “I want to hand her my cigarette holder and say, ‘Good luck with this.’ That would be nice, wouldn’t it?”
Prince Philip will be played by Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes, Game of Thrones), succeeding Tobias Menzies and Matt Smith, and Elizabeth Debicki (The Great Gatsby, Tenet) will play Princess Diana.
“Princess Diana’s spirit, her words and her actions live in the hearts of so many,” she initially said. “It is my true privilege and honour to be joining this masterful series, which has had me absolutely hooked from episode one.”
Since then, though, she admitted that she’s “terrified” to play the royal icon.
“It’s a dream role. She is such a remarkable human being and she really does still live in the hearts of so many people,” she told the Mirror.
“I’m overwhelmed, I’m terrified and I’m excited. I can’t wait to start.”
What will the season cover?
Morgan has said that “season six will not bring us any closer to present day — it will simply enable us to cover the same period in greater detail.” The Hollywood Reporter also confirmed that the story will end in the 2000s, but it’s unclear exactly how time will be divided between seasons five and six. Certainly, though, Princess Diana’s death will play a role on the series at some point.
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