The beginning of the end is here.
Season 4 of The Crown was the biggest hit of the series so far, even before the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Since Elizabeth’s death, the show has shot to the top of Netflix’s streaming charts, with viewers catching up on the seasons covering the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s. It’s also made The Crown Season 5 one of the most anticipated releases for Netflix, and there’s a good amount of info about it — including the cast and plot details — already out there.
The Crown is quite possibly the most ambitious show in Netflix history. Conceived as a six-season, 60-year historical dramatization of the UK’s current ruling monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, the original plan was to go from 1948 to 2012. In the last year or so, that plan has been altered slightly to cover from 1948 to the turn of the millennium. But the ambition remains the same: Telling the story of the Second Elizabethan Age before it draws to an end.
With two more seasons, fans still have much more of The Crown to look forward to. Here’s everything we currently know about the next season:
Queen Elizabeth (Imelda Staunton) and Prince Phillip (Jonathan Pryce) don tartan for a royal event.
Camilla Parker Bowles (Olivia Williams) and Prince Charles (Dominic West) share a joyful moment together.
The queen’s sister Princess Margaret (Lesley Manville) lounges with her pup.
Prime Minister John Major (Johnny Lee Miller) takes a meeting.
Prince Charles (Dominic West), Prince Harry (Teddy Hawley), Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki), and Prince William (Timothee Sambor) spend some time together as a family.
The Crown Season 5 Cast
The Crown is an unusual series for one that covers five decades. In most shows that span such a drastic length of time, the series has one cast and ages them up via makeup (or digital CGI). But in this case, the show recasts the series, nose to tail, every two years. Seasons 1 to 2 had Elizabeth, Philip, and Margaret in the 20s and 30s. Season 3 and 4 then had the same characters recast for their 40s and 50s, also adding in Charles, Anne, Camilla, and Diana in their 20s and 30s. The final two seasons will have Elizabeth, Philip, and Margaret in their 60s; Charles, Anne, Camilla, and Diana in their 40s; and the next generation as teens.
Season 5, therefore, is the beginning of a whole new cast. Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter) will take over the role of Queen Elizabeth II; Jonathan Pryce (Game of Thrones) steps into the part of the late Prince Philip; and Lesley Manville (The Phantom Thread) is the final Margaret.
As for Diana, who took on such a prominent role in Season 4, she will be played by Elizabeth Debicki (Tenet). Producers confirmed to Variety that Dominic West (The Wire) was set to take over Charles’ role in the spring of 2021. However, a formal confirmation did not come until an in-character photo was released in August. Moreover, the series is keeping the royal family in the family with Prince William, by casting West’s real-life son, Senan, as his first born and heir. As for Camilla, she’ll be played by Olivia Williams, who fans will recognize from The Sixth Sense.
The Crown has also cast Diana’s post-divorce love life, with Khalid Abdalla (The Kite Runner) as Dodi Fayed, and Salim Daw (Oslo) as Dodi’s father, billionaire and former Harrods owner Mohamed Al-Fayed. Also, in case anyone thought the show would somehow sidestep Diana’s final days in Paris before her untimely death, Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu (best known as Sylvie from Emily In Paris) revealed in March 2022 that she has been cast in the series. Reports say she’ll play Monique Ritz, former owner of the Ritz Hotel where Diana and Dodi were staying when the crash occurred.
In August, People confirmed Claudia Harrison (The IT Crowd) will take over the part of Princess Anne for Seasons 5 and 6. And in January 2022, The Independent confirmed James Murray (Primeval) would play Prince Andrew. There is still no word on who will play Elizabeth’s youngest son, Prince Edward, Andrew’s wife Fergie, or young Harry, despite filming having commenced. Fans will hopefully learn who is filling these roles soon.
On the political side, after a decade of Thatcher, Elizabeth will get a new Prime Minister this season, the man who succeeded the Iron lady, John Major. He’ll be played by Jonny Lee Miller, best known on this side of the pond for his leading roles in the film Trainspotting and the Sherlock Holmes TV series Elementary.
The Crown Season 5 Plot Details
Things will change from the way the show has conducted itself over the first four seasons. Up until now, every season has covered about 10 years of Elizabeth's reign. Season 1 took viewers through the 50s, Season 2 through the 60s, Season 3 through the 70s, and Season 4 through the 80s.
But Season 5 and 6 will slow things down. Despite there being quite a bit of drama for the royal family in the 21st century, Morgan has decided these events are still too recent. So instead, the final two seasons will both cover the 1990s, with Season 5 chronicling Charles and Diana's divorce and Season 6 retelling the story of Diana's passing and the fallout experienced by the royal family in her wake.
The Crown Season 5 Theories
Though history is an excellent guide for what fans can expect in the next season, there's still a lot from which Morgan can pick and choose. The show zagged before when viewers thought it would zig. For example, fans assumed Season 3 would cover Anne's wedding and her Olympic competitions; instead, it chose to dramatize Edward VIII's passing.
Morgan has already said he will not touch "Tampongate" in Season 5, even though it was a famous incident during Charles and Diana's divorce proceedings. That makes it an open question of what parts of the 1990s will make it into the series. Will he bring back Townsend, who passed in 1995, and Margaret's final trip to see him? Will he cover Elizabeth II's address to the U.S. Congress in the early 1990s? Will he show the egg-throwing incident during Elizabeth's visit to Germany?
Or, will The Crown Season 5 be all divorce all the time? Both Princess Anne and Prince Andrew divorced their spouses in the early 1990s as well, so there's plenty to go around.
The Crown Season 5 Renewal & Filming Updates
Unlike almost every other show on TV (or Netflix), it's already known how long The Crown will last. The series was greenlit for all six seasons, 60 episodes, sight unseen, back in 2014, when Netflix first announced the series.
The Crown was the first show in history given a full six-season order out of the gate. (Other shows may plan to run six or seven seasons but aren't guaranteed them.) The Crown's creator, Peter Morgan, considered not using all six seasons at one point and ending with Season 5. But in the end, he went ahead with using all the episodes allotted.
Principal photography began in July 2021, with plans for Seasons 5 and 6 filming back to back, much like Seasons 3 and 4 were. In mid-August, the first photos of the new Charles and Diana were released from the early episodes of Season 5. Not everyone will agree with the image of Charles — Josh O’Connor was a better look-alike for the Prince’s early years than Dominic West is of his middle age. But Elizabeth Debicki as Diana nails it so hard that fans will probably let go any quibbles over West.
The Crown Season 5 Premiere Date
The Crown accidentally took a year off between Seasons 2 and 3 due to the difficulties of recasting such a large ensemble. After airing Seasons 1-2 in back-to-back years in 2016 and 2017, it skipped airing altogether in 2018. The series filmed Seasons 3 and 4 together and aired them in 2019 and 2020.
This time, the series was prepared, having done an entire recasting once already, and built a gap year into its plans for the final two seasons. On Sept. 24, 2022, Netflix revealed the new season will drop on Nov. 9. Season 6 will follow in 2023.
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