Talk about palace intrigue. Two major details were just confirmed about the future of Netflix's celebrated historical drama show The Crown. Not only will there be a new actress taking the throne soon, but the show will be coming to an end sooner than anyone might've expected.
As it turns out, those initial reports of Imelda Staunton being cast as Queen Elizabeth II weren't just "pure speculation," as Netflix previously indicated. That news was completely accurate because the actress will indeed be taking over the role of Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown Season 5.
"I'm absolutely thrilled to confirm Imelda Staunton as Her Majesty the The Queen for the fifth and final season, taking The Crown into the 21st century," Peter Morgan said in a statement provided to TV Guide. "Imelda is an astonishing talent and will be a fantastic successor to Claire Foy and Olivia Colman."
Staunton also talked about her newest role, saying, "I have loved watching The Crown from the very start." Staunton is an Academy Award nominee for Vera Drake who's perhaps best known for her role as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter movies. "As an actor it was a joy to see how both Claire Foy and Olivia Colman brought something special and unique to Peter Morgan's scripts. I am genuinely honoured to be joining such an exceptional creative team and to be taking The Crown to its conclusion," she added.
Meanwhile, those producer remarks about the show not reaching the Meghan and Harry era were also on-point because the series will be ending with Season 5. The original plan was for the series to run for six seasons, but creator Peter Morgan has made the decision to wrap it up one season early. Claire Foy and Olivia Colman each got two seasons as Queen Elizabeth, but Staunton will only get one.
"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," Morgan explained. "I'm grateful to Netflix and Sony for supporting me in this decision."
A release date for The Crown's fourth season has not been set yet, but it's expected in late 2020. The first three seasons are available to stream on Netflix.