As always planned in the event of the Queen’s death, Netflix’s The Crown will pause filming as a mark of respect. The lavish drama introduced a new generation of viewers to the life and reign of Britain’s longest-serving monarch. Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday at the age of 96.
She was Queen of the United Kingdom from 1952 until her death. She will be succeeded by her son, King Carlos III, 73. The crownwhich debuted on Netflix in 2016, has remained one of streamers’ most beloved original series, though it saw a significant drop in interest around its third season.
The show’s creator, Peter Morgan, told Deadline that production on the sixth and final season will likely be halted. “The Crown is a love letter to her and I have nothing to add for now, just silence and respect. I hope we also stop filming out of respect,” he said. Each season of the show chronicles a decade in the Queen’s reign. The fifth season is expected to premiere later this year.
Claire Foy became an overnight star after playing the Queen in seasons one and two. She was replaced, according to plan, by Olivia Colman in seasons three and four. The show will conclude its six-season run with Imelda Staunton in the title role. Dominic West will play the now King Charles III, and Elizabeth Debicki will play Diana.
Earlier this year, it was reported that Netflix always had a plan in place for the eventuality of the Queen’s death midway through production. “We have our own version of Operation London Bridge,” an insider on the series told The New York Post, referring to the speculated code name for the protocol to follow after the monarch’s death. “This is particularly pertinent if we are filming. Filming will stop immediately if we are in production, for at least a week. There would also be a lot of discussion about when to restart,” the source continued.
While the show was originally scheduled to end in the year 2002, it was recently reported that Morgan is now looking to extend the drama into the year 2005, when Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles. “Charles and Camilla’s marriage is being treated as the end of a turbulent period in the Windsors’ history and the beginning of an entirely new one,” The Sun quoted a source as saying.
Director Stephen Daldry, who helmed some of the early episodes of the first season, had spoken out about the Queen dying during the show’s run. “None of us know when that time will come, but it would be right to show respect to the Queen,” Daldry told Deadline in 2016. “It would be a simple tribute and a show of respect. She is a global figure and she is what we must do. She is an extraordinary woman and people will be upset.”
While the queen’s death likely won’t be included in the show, there will likely be a change in marketing plans for the upcoming fifth season, which is expected to arrive in two months.
Staunton, Colman and Foy aren’t the only actors to have played the Queen on screen, of course. Morgan previously wrote the acclaimed film The Queen, which won an Oscar for actress Helen Mirren. Following the queen’s death, Mirren wrote in an Instagram post: “I am proud to be Elizabethan. We mourn a woman who, crown or no crown, was the epitome of nobility.” Most recently, the Queen was played by Stella Gonet in Spencer, starring Kristen Stewart as Diana.