When The Crown was announced at Netflix in 2014, it was — if you'll pardon the pun — the crown jewel in the budding streamer's tiara. It was not just expensive, but also wildly ambitious: a planned drama around the current British royal family covering from the 1940s to the 2010s, with two full-cast turnovers as the royal family aged up. So it wasn't that surprising when writer Peter Morgan decided recently that perhaps he'd rather end with the year 2000 and five rounds. But apparently, minds have changed, and The Crown is extended for Season 6 at Netflix.
When Netflix let it be known in 2016 that it had provisionally greenlit six seasons of The Crown, sight unseen, it was a jaw-dropper — proof, as it were, that Netflix was playing by new and different rules in an industry that rarely approved shows without pilots, let alone multiple seasons. It was also the pinnacle of the streamer's hubris in that department. Even though The Crown has paid handsome dividends as an awards season player and A-List actor magnet, Netflix has never done anything so extravagant since.
Fans were disappointed when, in early 2020, Morgan announced he was planning to end the show with five installments, but it seemed like a lesson in writing history as it was still unfolding. After all, in 2014, Meghan Markle was still a relatively unknown actor, and Jeffrey Epstein was just an obscure, wealthy New Yorker to many. No one could have foreseen how the royal family would be upended by the time Season 3 was streaming. Morgan's presumed reticence to get too close to the present was understandable, even if it meant the final cast would only get one season to act in, rather than two like the previous two casts did.
But now it seems Morgan has changed his mind, and Netflix has announced it will run six seasons after all.
In a statement published on TVLine, Morgan explained he realized going through to six seasons was necessary to tell the story he wanted. But there's one catch:
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.
Based on that statement, it sounds like The Crown will still end with the year 2000. Apparently, Seasons 5 and 6 will now both cover the 1990s, allowing the series to dive deeper into the end of Charles and Diana's marriage, leading to Diana's death.
The good news is Netflix will get all six of its planned seasons, and Morgan will not have to go anywhere near the adult versions of Will, Kate, and Harry, or any of the other ongoing royal scandals. And fans get Imelda Staunton and Lesley Manville for two seasons after all, as The Crown intended.