Fans of The Crown, we have some good news for you! After creator Peter Morgan announced he would end the award-winning series with season five, he reversed course and will proceed with the original plan for six seasons. And it looks like things are already underway on season five.
In a statement from Netflix, Morgan said that as he and the team began discussing storylines for season five, it became apparent 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.”
Netflix’s then vice president of original content, Cindy Holland, added, “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.”
However, even with the good news, fans shouldn’t expect a deep dive into the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s—Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s—courtship, or their decision to step back from senior roles. (That’s still good news for Prince Harry, who reportedly hoped this would happen.) Says Morgan: “To be clear, season six will not bring us any closer to present day—it will simply enable us to cover the same period in greater detail.”
Season four featured Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth, Tobias Menzies as Prince Phillip, and Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret. (Claire Foy, Matt Smith, and Vanessa Kirby famously originated the roles in the first two seasons.) It also marked the first appearance of Princess Diana (Emma Corrin), as Diana and Charles’s dysfunctional relationship was front and center.
Netflix also confirmed that famed British stage actress Imelda Staunton—who some may remember played Professor Umbridge in the Harry Potter films—will take over as Queen Elizabeth in season five.
“I have loved watching The Crown from the very start,” Staunton said. “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 honored to be joining such an exceptional creative team and to be taking The Crown to its conclusion.”
On September 25, Staunton appeared at the Netflix Tudum fan event from the set of The Crown to announce the news that season 4 will hit the streamer in November 2022.
Five months after Staunton’s casting was announced, Netflix announced on July 2 that Academy Award nominee Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread, Maleficent, Harlots) will play Princess Margaret for the fifth season. Manville takes over from Vanessa Kirby (The Crown seasons one and two) and Helena Bonham Carter (season three and the upcoming season four).
Manville was born in East Sussex, England, and is no stranger to the royal family. In fact, five years ago—on November 17, 2015—Manville was honored with an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for her services in the dramatic arts. Ironically, it was Princess Margaret’s great nephew, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, who presented her with the honor.
On August 13, Netflix announced that Oscar nominee Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes, Game of Thrones) will play Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, in seasons five and six. In Game of Thrones, Pryce played the High Sparrow, and in the 2019 Netflix film The Two Popes, he portrayed Pope Francis opposite Anthony Hopkins.
Matt Smith played Queen Elizabeth’s husband in seasons one and two, and Tobias Menzies took over for seasons three and the upcoming four.
On August 16, 2020, The Crown’s official Twitter account announced that Elizabeth Debicki will play Princess Diana in seasons five and six. She will take over the role from Emma Corrin, who portrayed princes William and Harry’s mother in season 4.
“Princess Diana’s spirit, her words, and her actions live in the hearts of so many,” Debicki said in a statement. “It is my true privilege and honour to be joining this masterful series, which has had me absolutely hooked from episode one.”
The actor is best known for her role as Jed Marshall in the 2016 BBC drama The Night Manager and has also appeared the films Widows and Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2.
The Crown finished filming season four right as the United Kingdom shut down production due to the coronavirus in March. In July 2021, Netflix released the first image of Staunton in the role of Queen Elizabeth II, implying that filming had begun on the fifth season.
In August 2021, the streaming giant released the first images of Dominic West as Prince Charles and Debicki as Diana, looking as predictably miserable as they certainly were during the final years of their marriage.
We will update this post as more information becomes available.
Originally Appeared on Glamour