Netflix has renewed The Crown for a sixth season, scrapping previous plans to conclude the series with Season 5.
"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," creator Peter Morgan said in a statement, per Deadline.
Though Season 5 has only just dropped, production has already begun work on Season 6, and they've given some updates of how the upcoming storylines. Here's what we've gathered so far.
Production was paused following the news of the Queen's death.
The show's creator Peter Morgan announced September 9 that out of respect for the Queen, the series will take a production break. Netflix reportedly has had plans in place for the series in the case of the monarch's passing for years now.
“The Crown is a love letter to her and I’ve nothing to add for now, just silence and respect. I expect we will stop filming out of respect too," said Morgan per Deadline.
Filming has resumed following Queen Elizabeth's funeral.
Entertainment Weekly reports that production has resumed on The Crown, following a brief hiatus out of respect for the Queen. In pics taken on Thursday, September 22, Elizabeth Debicki is seen filming a scene on a boat in Palma, Spain, alongside Rufus Kampa, who was recently cast as Prince William, age 15. The scene also included another young actor, who was reportedly portraying Prince Harry, though Netflix has not yet announced casting for the royal.
In the photos, Debicki appears to recreate another iconic Princess Diana look, as her red dress seems to be inspired by a look the late royal wore in July 1997 for one of her final official appearances, at Northwick Park & St. Mark's Hospital in Harrow, Middlesex.
Debicki was also photographed filming scenes with Khalid Abdalla, who will portray department store heir Dodi Fayed, on the Spanish island of Majorca. They appeared to be recreating Princess Diana and Fayed's July 1997 holiday in Saint-Tropez, where the couple vacationed with William and Harry aboard a super-yacht owned by Dodi’s father Mohamed Al Fayed.
In the photos, Debicki wears black-and-white striped trousers, a navy tank top, and white boat shoes as she films with the actors on a boat and on a rocky hill.
Season 6 will cover the final days of Princess Diana's life.
The forthcoming season will pick up where Season 5 ends, covering the Princess of Wales' final days before her death, in a car crash which also claimed the lives of her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, and the car's driver, Henri Paul. Per IndieWire, Netflix has confirmed that series will only show events before and after the fatal car crash, with a spokesperson saying that "the exact moment of the crash impact will not be shown."
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Debicki and Dominic West both insisted that The Crown aims to handle the tragic incident and aftermath with sensitivity. The actress told the outlet, "I'll say that Peter and the entire crew of this job do their utmost to really handle everything with such sensitivity and truth and complexity, as do actors."
The sixth season won't include present-day royal moments.
Morgan explained that the extra season wouldn't extend the timeline of The Crown but would instead dive deeper into the planned story. "To be clear, Series 6 will not bring us any closer to present-day—it will simply enable us to cover the same period in greater detail," he said. So don't expect to see storylines pertaining to Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, on your screen.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the final two seasons of The Crown will follow the royal family into the 2000s, but that doesn't mean we'll get as far as the latest royal weddings or royal babies. (Sorry, Archie!)
Imelda Staunton will continue as the queen.
Staunton will assume the crown in Season 5 as Queen Elizabeth II. With another confirmed season playing the queen, the Harry Potter alum will follow in the footsteps of Crown stars Olivia Colman and Claire Foy of portraying the sovereign over two seasons each. We can also expect Lesley Manville, who takes over as Princess Margaret for Helena Bonham Carter in Season 5, to get more time as the queen's younger sister in the sixth and final season.
Dominic West will continue as Prince Charles.
In October 2020, Variety reported that The Affair's Dominic West was "in late-stage discussions for the role" of Prince Charles. Netflix officially announced that West secured the role for Seasons 5 and 6 in August 2021, with the actor joining the cast opposite Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki, who took over for Emma Corrin as Princess Diana.
The adult versions of Prince William and Kate Middleton will be introduced in Season 6.
Deadline reported that production has cast three actors to play the teenage and young adult versions of Prince William and Kate Middleton for the show's sixth season. Two actors have been chosen to play William at different ages, while one actress will play Princess Kate as a young adult.
The Crown will be the debut television role for all three actors. Rufus Kampa will play William at age 15, in episodes that will depict the period following the tragic death of his mother, Princess Diana. Ed McVey will step in to play the prince in his late teen and young adult years, including his courtship of Princess Kate, who will be played by Meg Bellamy.
Season 6 has begun filming William and Kate's romance.
We have our first look at the future Prince and Princess of Wales. Newcomers Ed McVey and Meg Bellamy were photographed on set in costume as a young Prince William and Princess Kate, while filming a chance encounter between the couple. In the new images, taken near the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, Bellamy wears a light-blue zip-up, matching leggings, and headphones while McVey is dressed in a hoodie and sweatpants.
Per E! News, the scene involved William, accompanied by a bodyguard, passing Kate during a run by the coast, and looking back over his shoulder for another glance. More photos have since been released of the two actors portraying the royals while at university as well.
Season 6 was part of the original plan.
Fans of The Crown were banking on six seasons from the start, given that Netflix's head of content, Ted Sarandos, said in 2016, "The idea is to do this over six decades, in six seasons presumably, and make the whole show over eight to 10 years." However, things changed when the streamer announced this past January that The Crown would bow out after five seasons instead. Morgan even said at the time that it felt like "this is the perfect time and place to stop." Six months later, though, they were back to the original plan.
The sixth season probably won't hit Netflix until 2023.
Deadline recently reported that Season 5 of The Crown won't start filming until summer 2021, meaning that we'll have to wait until 2022 for those episodes to hit Netflix. Per Deadline, "With Season 5 filming in June 2021, the sixth and final season will shoot in 2022." As a result, Season 6 probably isn't coming until 2023. Just remember: Patience is apparently a virtue.