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The Crown is pausing production of its sixth season, obviously

With the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Netflix's prestige drama about her life is reportedly recalibrating

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Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II in the upcoming fifth season of The Crown
Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II in the upcoming fifth season of The Crown
Photo: Alex Bailey/Netflix

With Queen Elizabeth II of England’s death today, focus has, naturally, found itself falling on those most closely affected by her passing: Family, long-time associates, and, of course, the producers of Netflix’s The Crown, the TV show that has spent its last 4 seasons charting the very prestige-y course of her very prestigious life.

And while Netflix has made no formal statement as of yet about how the show will handle this sudden real-life addition to its plot, Variety reports that production on the show’s sixth season is expected to at least pause while creator Peter Morgan absorbs the news. (The fifth season, meanwhile—the first in which Imelda Staunton will take over the role of Elizabeth, previously played by Claire Foy and then Olivia Colman—has already been completed, and is set to premiere on Netflix in November.)

Although Netflix hasn’t released any statements as of yet about which eras of the queen’s life that either of the show’s two remaining seasons will tackle, we can glean a decent amount out of casting news; the fifth season, for instance, features 58-year-old Dominick West and 32-year-old Elizabeth Debicki as Prince Charles and Princess Di, respectively, which will likely place it somewhere in the mid-’80s, while the sixth season has cast 16-year-old Rufus Kampa and  21-year-old Ed McVey as the pair’s kids, Henry and William.

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The Crown has always operated in an odd space as a biographical project; Queen Elizabeth never acknowledged the series, which has often delved—admittedly, with a general “We’d like to get that Emmy, please” degree of tact and tastefulness—into the less pristine aspects of her personal life and reign. The series will now, presumably, be under even more scrutiny than before, as it wrestles with depicting the latter days and legacy of the now-dead monarch.