The Crown season 5 is transferring the royal titles and tiaras once again. The Netflix drama is returning for two more seasons and once again is changing its entire cast. Netflix recently denied rumors that the show was having trouble finding an actor to play the disgraced Prince Andrew.
Whoever does end up with the role will join current The Crown season 5 cast members, including Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II, Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana, Dominic West as Prince Charles and Jonathan Pryce as the recently deceased Prince Philip.
The Crown season 5 will move forward in time, just as previous installments have. It will cover the tumultuous 1990s, including the divorces of Prince Charles and Diana, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson and Princess Anne and Mark Phillips.
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The fourth season of The Crown debuted in November 2020 to glowing reviews for its portrayal of the courtship, marriage and growing conflict between Prince Charles (Josh O'Connor) and Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin). The two actors went on to win multiple awards for their performances.
And The Crown fans will be happy to know that season 5 won't be the last. Creator Peter Morgan has gone back and forth about when he wanted to end the show, but in July 2020, he announced that The Crown season 6 will be the final 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," he told Deadline. "To be clear, Series 6 will not bring us any closer to present—it will simply enable us to cover the same period in greater detail.”
(So, don't expect to see Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's courtship, wedding and subsequent exit from the royal family.)
Here's everything we know so far about The Crown season 5.
The Crown season 5 release date
Netflix has not announced The Crown season 5's release date, but it is set to begin filming in July, according to Variety.
Filming on previous seasons lasted around seven months and then post-production took at least eight months. All four completed seasons of The Crown premiered in either November or December.
So, our best guess on when The Crown season 5 will debut is November 2022.
The Crown season 5 cast: Who's playing the Queen, Prince Charles, Diana and Prince Philip?
The Crown changes its cast every two seasons, which means it's time for a royal swap. Out goes Olivia Colman, in comes Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II. Staunton is familiar to fans of Harry Potter and from the Downton Abbey movie.
Staunton recently told BBC Radio, "I think my sort of extra challenge, as if I needed it, is that I'm now doing the Queen that we're a little more familiar with. With Claire Foy, it was almost history and now I'm playing one that people could say 'she doesn't do that,' 'she's not like that,' and that's my personal bête noire."
Imelda Staunton will play Queen Elizabeth II in the fifth and final season of The Crown. pic.twitter.com/hUOob58A9pJanuary 31, 2020
Taking over the role of Prince Philip from Tobias Menzies is Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes, Game of Thrones).
The real Prince Philip died on April 9 at the age of 99.
Jonathan Pryce will play Prince Philip in the final two seasons of The Crown (Seasons 5 and 6), alongside Imelda Staunton and Lesley Manville. pic.twitter.com/zI7NotOfc4August 13, 2020
We'll miss Helena Bonham Carter's boozy turn as Princess Margaret, but look forward to Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread) as the much-put-upon younger sister of the queen.
Lesley Manville will play Princess Margaret in the fifth season of The Crown. pic.twitter.com/R5aZEBOW0tJuly 2, 2020
Sadly, we only got one season of the fabulous Emma Corrin as Princess Diana, but the casting of Elizabeth Debicki (Tenet, Widows) is truly genius.
Elizabeth Debicki will play Princess Diana in the final two seasons of The Crown (Seasons 5 and 6). pic.twitter.com/Z3CjHuJ56BAugust 16, 2020
As for Prince Charles, Josh O'Connor will reportedly be replaced by Dominic West (The Wire, The Affair).
No word yet on the casting of other major characters, including Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Prince Edward, Camilla Parker Bowles, Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew (more on him below).
Another big role that will have to be cast is that of Prime Minister John Major, who served from 1990 to 1997. And depending on season 5's time period — see more on that below — we may also meet Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Other key figures likely to appear in season 5 include the young Prince William and Prince Harry, Timothy Laurence (Princess Anne's second husband) and Sophie Rhys-Jones (Prince Edward's eventual wife).
The Crown season 5: Prince Andrew casting problems
Is The Crown having trouble casting Prince Andrew?
Tom Byrne played the younger prince in season 4, but with the entire cast changing for the final two seasons, the show will have to find a new actor. A report in the British tabloid The Sun claimed that producers were struggling to get someone for the role, in light of Prince Andrew’s links to the deceased convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
A source told The Sun, "Stars aren’t exactly queuing up to play him." The article noted that an ad was placed on the website Spotlight, seeking an actor in his mid-30s to early 40s for "a very good role."
But Netflix is denying that report. In a statement, a spokesperson said, "“There is absolutely no struggle to cast any role for season 5 of The Crown and it is normal practice for productions to advertise in Spotlight.”
While Prince Andrew only appeared briefly in season 4, he is expected to be a much bigger figure in season 5, which is likely to cover his marriage and divorce to Sarah Ferguson.
The Crown season 5 time period and plot
The Crown season 5 is likely to take place in the 1990s, picking up where season 4 left off — with Charles and Diana's marriage on the rocks.
The couple formally separated in 1992, which Queen Elizabeth II has called the "annus horribilis" (horrible year). That year also saw the separation of Prince Andrew and the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, as well as the official divorce of Princess Anne from Mark Phillips.
Charles and Diana's split was already prime tabloid fodder, but it became even more of a circus after the publication of Andrew Morton's book Diana: Her True Story. Diana herself taped revealing interviews for the tell-all tome.
That year also brought a devastating fire at Windsor Castle, one of the Queen's primary residences.
As far as political and world events, John Major became Prime Minister, succeeding Margaret Thatcher. The UK faced a recession and a currency crisis dubbed "Black Wednesday." They also joined U.S.-led forces to liberate Kuwait in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. The Northern Ireland peace process saw a ceasefire and, later, the Good Friday Agreement.
Major was PM until 1997, when Tony Blair took over, which would take The Crown up to Princess Diana's tragic death in a car crash in Paris. That would give room for season 6 to cover the aftermath, the royal family's much-criticized initial response and how they moved forward from Di's death.
Since Morgan has said the show will not cover recent events, it's unlikely that fans will get a fictionalized portrayal of the relationships between Prince William and Kate Middle or Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
We're guessing that The Crown may end in 2002, which saw the Queen Mother's and Princess Margaret's deaths. It was also the year of the Queen's Golden Jubilee, which would bring the show full circle from season 1's coronation.
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