The Crown has had a roller coaster of news since Season 3's debut. After a year off between the Claire Foy-led original cast and the Olivia Colman-led current cast, Imelda Staunton was selected as Queen Elizabeth for Seasons 5 and 6. Then, writer Peter Morgan canceled Season 6, apparently because he didn't want to get into the 21st-century royal family drama. Season 6 was recently reinstated, but with Seasons 5 and 6 covering five years of the 1990s instead of two separate decades. With so much now riding on these last two seasons, fans wonder, when will The Crown Season 5 be on Netflix? Unfortunately, there's going to be another year off between casts.
The good news is that, so far, The Crown Season 4 is on track to arrive at the end of 2020 as planned. Producers apparently learned a great deal during the first massive cast change-over between Seasons 2 and 3 — specifically, how hard it is to recast an entire show from the ground up while maintaining fidelity to what came before. The series cleared that hurdle, but it meant taking a full year off to get the casting right.
The show made up for the lost time by filming Seasons 3 and 4 back to back. That meant nearly all of Season 4 was completed before Season 3's debut. It was also a lucky break, because the ongoing filming shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic will not affect Season 4.
The bad news is that, despite the extra time, filming will not start until mid-2021. At this point, two out of three primary roles for the final two seasons are filled, with Staunton as Elizabeth and Lesley Manville as Margaret. But there's still quite a few casting announcements to go, including Phillip, Charles, Diana, The Queen Mum, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward. And that's not counting all their children, including teenaged William and Harry, or Prime Ministers like John Major and Tony Blair.
According to Deadline, the production studio Left Bank Pictures, which produces The Crown, knew this would take a while, and therefore plotted in extra time. The final two seasons are not slated to start primary filming until June of 2021.
Once again, this is extraordinarily lucky. Left Bank conceived of this plan, continuing the year-off-between-casts tradition before the pandemic shut down productions. It also means Netflix has known it will not have a season of The Crown for 2021 and was planning accordingly. But for fans, it means there will be a long wait once Olivia Colman's Queen Elizabeth says goodbye and Staunton's finally debuts.
The Crown Season 4 is currently expected to arrive on Netflix in late 2020. Season 5 is planned to follow in 2022.