So, move over Olivia Colman, there’s a new queen in town. The Crown is heading into its fifth season and introducing another actor to play Queen Elizabeth once more. Netflix shared an “early glimpse” of Imelda Staunton as the Queen of England, with her signature coiffed gray hair and pearls.
Staunton’s casting was announced at the beginning of the year, with the actor expressing her excitement to join the show. “I have loved watching The Crown from the very start,” she said to The Hollywood Reporter in January. “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.”
Production for the upcoming season began in the UK this month, and Staunton isn’t the only new cast member arriving for the final two seasons of the Netflix series. Lesley Manville is stepping in to play Princess Margaret, Jonathan Pryce will be Prince Philip, and Elizabeth Debicki will be Princess Diana (an odd move, considering Emma Corrin could’ve realistically played Diana up until the show gets to her death). And the forthcoming season will also introduce a new character: Prime Minister John Major, played by Jonny Lee Miller.
The series was initially set to end with the fifth season, but creator Peter Morgan changed his mind, expanding it to a sixth season—though he notes that we won’t get to see the drama of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry leaving the royal family. “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. 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 to Deadline earlier this month.