'The Crown's Final Queen Elizabeth Is Another Familiar 'Harry Potter' Face

by Ani Bundel
Eric CATARINA/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

Ever since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle first announced their engagement, fans of Netflix's The Crown have joked about what season it will play out in. Most assume the answer is Season 7 or Season 8. But series creator Peter Morgan has emphatically insisted the show will never get that far. Now, fans have learned the show will barely reach the 21st century on screen. But there's good news with the show coming to its ultimate end: Harry Potter and Downton Abbey actress Imelda Staunton will play The Crown's final Queen Elizabeth.

American viewers will undoubtedly recognize Staunton from her role as the evil Dolores Umbridge in Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and both parts of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. She was also more recently seen matching wits with Maggie Smith in the Downton Abbey movie. According to The Hollywood Reporter, she will be taking over the role of Queen Elizabeth II from Olivia Colman, leading an all-new cast for The Crown Season 5.

As a lineup of actresses playing the longest-reigning monarch in British history goes, the run of Claire Foy to Colman and now to Staunton is about as A-list as one could ask for. Moreover, even though Helen Mirren is known for her portrayal of Elizabeth in this era, both on the big screen and on stage, Staunton has more of the queen's actual stance, one that's necessary for playing her for ten episodes.

But unfortunately, unlike Foy and Colman, who both got two seasons to take a crack at the Queen, Staunton will only get one. Despite the original vision of The Crown as running for six seasons, with an estimated ending around 2007 or so, it turns out Morgan has decided to pull the plug early. Even so, he is "thrilled" Staunton will take the show up to it's endpoint at the dawn of the 21st century.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Morgan said in a statement:

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. I’m grateful to Netflix and Sony for supporting me in this decision.

The Crown Season 4 is currently filming and is expected to arrive on Netflix towards the end of 2020.