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Claire Foy parted ways with Netflix drama The Crown in royal fashion, taking home a SAG Award for her final season as the young Queen Elizabeth. The actress is among the stars who have already put in their two seasons and are leaving the series as showrunner Peter Morgan ages up his central characters for the previously announced seasons three and four as he looks to chronicle Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the present day.
What follows is a primer for season three of The Crown, and THR will update this page as more news becomes available about the new faces joining the franchise (set to return Nov. 17).
Netflix confirmed to THR that The Crown, produced by Sony Pictures Television Studios, has indeed already been renewed for seasons three and four. Netflix content chief Ted Sarandos said the plan is for the series to run for six seasons total and cover the Queen’s entire life.
“This is going to take Queen Elizabeth from age 29 to, presumably, the current day. We’ll see it lay out over decades,” he said in 2016. “The idea is to do this over six decades in six seasons presumably, and make the whole show [run] over eight to 10 years.”
The New Stars
The Golden Globe winner — for her turn in the AMC mini The Night Manager — will take over for Foy as Britain’s monarch for season three. Foy told THR that she was “philosophical” about the fact that her days of playing Her Royal Highness were numbered. “The amazing thing about the show is the fact that it will go on and that it hasn’t ended badly. It’ll go on and have another life,” she said. “I can’t wait to watch it, and I just think whoever they get to play that part, they’ll be extraordinary. I will never watch it with any sense of bitterness or regret. I will feel what I will feel now, which is so happy and lucky for the experience.”
After being near a deal to take over the role, Paul Bettany as Prince Philip had a scheduling conflict and a deal fell through for him to take over the role from Doctor Who grad Matt Smith. Instead, Game of Thrones and Outlander grad Menzies will take on the part.
When Vanessa Kirby, who played the rebellious sister of Queen Elizabeth for the first two seasons, spoke with THR in 2017, she said she was jealous of whomever would follow in her footsteps as Princess Margaret — especially since the next actress will play Margaret during some particularly tumultuous years, as her marriage to Antony Armstrong-Jones, the Earl of Snowdon (first played by Matthew Goode), begins to crumble. “I’m just so excited about whoever gets to do it because they’ve definitely got the coolest stuff coming up. Bring on the drama! I would have loved to have done it. I absolutely love to do all the blazing rows and getting drunk and just all of it. But I suppose I was lucky enough to have two seasons, so I could be more grateful, really.”
Watkins will reunite with The Crown showrunner Morgan and play the two-time prime minister.
Ben Daniels as Antony Armstrong-Jones
The Exorcist alum will take on the role of Lord Snowdon, taking over the part originally played by Matthew Goode.
The Call the Midwife alum will play the daughter of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Grace and Amelia Gilmour played the role in the first two seasons.
O’Connor (Florence Foster Jenkins) will play the adult Prince Charles, taking over the role from Julian Baring. O’Connor jokes that he’s “reliably informed I have the ears for the part and will fit right in.”
Marion Bailey as the Queen Mother
The Allied actress takes over as the Queen Mum from Victoria Hamilton. “We have a tough act to follow,” she said, “but what a gift to be playing the fascinating and greatly loved Queen Mother.”
Emerald Fennell as Camilla Parker Bowles
“I’m absolutely over the moon, and completely terrified, to be joining so many hugely talented people on The Crown,” said the Call the Midwife veteran. “I absolutely love Camilla, and am very grateful that my teenage years have well prepared me for playing a chain-smoking serial snogger with a pudding bowl haircut.”
The role of Lady Diana, the future Princess of Wales, will — in a change — now be introduced in season four instead of the upcoming third cycle. Newcomer Corrin (Epix’s Pennyworth, feature Misbehaviour) will take on the role. Diana will be featured heavily in seasons four and five of the Netflix awards darling. “Emma is a brilliant talent who immediately captivated us when she came in for the part of Diana Spencer. As well as having the innocence and beauty of a young Diana, she also has, in abundance, the range and complexity to portray an extraordinary woman who went from anonymous teenager to becoming the most iconic woman of her generation,” Morgan said.
The star of Netflix’s Sex Education will take on the role of the British prime minister in season three of the drama.
The second season of The Crown ended with the birth of Elizabeth and Philip’s fourth child, Prince Edward, in 1964. That season began shortly after where the first left off, and showrunner Morgan confirmed that the plan remains the same for the third.
The U.K.’s Sunday Times reported that the third season will focus on “the Wilson era,” aka the 1964-1970 and 1974-1976 terms of Prime Minister Harold Wilson, and the fourth will focus on Margaret Thatcher and Princess Diana.
Season one aired in November 2016 with the sophomore run dropping in December 2017. With new actors and costumes, the show will be off the air for more than a year before it returns Nov. 17.
Bookmark this page as THR will continue to update it as more information, including a return date, becomes available.
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