Even as a scandal engulfs the British royal family in real time, producers of The Crown – the screen meshing of the Windsors’ world with the real one – have their sights firmly set on the upcoming season four set in the 1980s.
The third season of the gorgeous, acclaimed Netflix drama saw (spoiler alert, although it is based in history) a waspish Princess Anne steal the show and the Queen rise above family divorces, mid-life crises and an assassination.
Oh, and Prince Charles meet his dream woman, then marry a different one.
Viewers already yearning for the next royal soap opera instalment can raise a glass of Dubonnet to the news that when season three premiered on November 17, the next series was already in production in the UK.
The latest 10 episodes of The Crown carried the monarchy through until the late 1970s, and season four will pick up in an era when two women dominated Britain’s political and cultural landscape: Princess Diana and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
While Netflix has not officially renewed The Crown for seasons five or six, the streamer is “interested”, said creator Peter Morgan.
Adding more heft to the notion that seasons five and six will happen is buzz Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter, Nanny McPhee) is in discussions to take over from Olivia Colman – whose predecessor was Claire Foy – as the Queen.
Still, Netflix has “not commissioned any further seasons as yet, therefore any news on casting remains pure speculation,” read a statement from a Netflix spokesperson on November 25.
When planning each season, Morgan maps out the timeline then finesses that until he knows which events to cover, he told The Hollywood Reporter.
“I try and find both a handful of [well-known events] … and then hopefully a whole lot of things that have been forgotten by history,” he said.
Morgan told THR he thinks he already knows where the final episode of the final season will take viewers, but “things change”, he said.
“I have an idea, but it’s only an idea.”
Colman, Helena Bonham Carter (Princess Margaret) and Tobias Menzies (Prince Philip) will be back in season four, as will Erin Doherty (Anne) and Josh O’Connor (Charles).
The season covers the time when a shy kindergarten assistant upstaged and nearly derailed the monarchy, a boisterous redhead nicknamed Fergie wore a wench’s outfit on a TV show called It’s a Royal Knockout and Britain’s first female leader matched it with the Queen.
The X-Files’ leading lady Gillian Anderson will step into the iron will and wig of formidable PM Thatcher.
“I’m so excited … to have the opportunity to portray such a complicated and controversial woman,” Anderson said when her casting was announced.
“I am relishing exploring beneath the surface and, dare I say, falling in love with the icon who, whether loved or despised, defined an era,” said Anderson, who has been dating creator Morgan for three years.
Emma Corrin, whose scanty credits include Batman prequel Pennyworth, will play the attention-grabbing role of Lady Diana Spencer.
The 23-year-old Brit has said she more often gets mistaken for Jodie Foster than Diana, but “immediately captivated” showrunners at her audition, Morgan said.
“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.”