More than five months after revealing “The Crown” will end after season five, Netflix has said its hit show about Britain’s Royal Family will, in fact, extend to a sixth season that will take the series into the early 2000s.
The streaming giant announced the change of plans on Twitter on Thursday, highlighting that creator Peter Morgan wants to do justice to the “richness and complexity” of the story.
Netflix has underlined, however, that season six will be the show’s final run.
Writer-creator Morgan said, “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. To be clear, Series 6 will not bring us any closer to present-day — it will simply enable us to cover the same period in greater detail.”
News from the palace: we can confirm there will be a sixth (and final) season of @TheCrownNetflix, in addition to the previously announced five!
— Netflix UK & Ireland (@NetflixUK) July 9, 2020
Produced by Sony-backed Left Bank Pictures, the show wrapped shooting on season four — in which Olivia Colman plays Queen Elizabeth II — in mid-March, just ahead of the U.K. being placed in lockdown. It’s expected that season four will launch later this year, and will be Oscar winner Colman’s final turn as Queen.
Imelda Staunton will take on those honors for season five, and the “Vera Drake” star will now have two seasons playing the monarch as opposed to just one. Last week, Netflix confirmed that Lesley Manville will play Princess Margaret.
Cindy Holland, VP of original content at Netflix said: “‘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.”
The show’s about-face is not altogether unexpected. Netflix bosses have always been enthusiastic about “The Crown” — chief content officer Ted Sarandos boasted in January that 73 million households around the world have made the show part of the “global zeitgeist” — but its future has always rested with Morgan, who has, at times, appeared fatigued by the prospect of continuing the series. It’s unclear whether his multi-year overall deal at the streaming giant for film and TV projects, struck just ahead of “The Crown’s” season three premiere last year, may have had any sway.
On Jan. 31, when Netflix announced Staunton’s casting for a fifth and final season, Morgan said, “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.” At the time, the show’s fifth season was set to see the Royal Family entering the 21st century, but it appears producers will now simply add another season’s worth of stories into the timeline, perhaps allowing for more episodes focused on Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor) and Princess Diana (Emma Corrin).
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