getty images (2) Elizabeth Debicki and Imelda Staunton
Get ready for more royal drama! The newest season of The Crown will begin filming this summer.
Season 5 of the hit Netflix show will begin production in July, reports Variety. The upcoming season will feature a brand new cast, including Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth, Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana, Dominic West as Prince Charles, Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip and Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret.
The U.K. is due to ease COVID-19 restrictions on April 12 following the latest national lockdown. The fourth season wrapped early in March 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. While other shows were starting to shut down early due to the virus, The Crown, which largely films in London, was already nearing the end of filming for its fourth season. As a result, the production pushed to finish and did so a few days earlier than anticipated.
Although Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's exit from royal life has dominated headlines in recent months, the storyline will not make it to The Crown — and it was never the intention to cover the royal family up to the modern era. The show is only expected to cover up until the early 2000s — long before Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle joined the royal family.
Season 5 will see the royal family tackle the early 1990s — a tumultuous time for the royals, which saw the dissolution of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's marriage.
Earlier this year, Imelda Staunton opened up about the difficulties of playing the final Queen Elizabeth, following in the footsteps of Claire Foy and Olivia Coleman.
Daniele Venturelli/WireImage; Buckingham Palace via Getty Imelda Staunton and Queen Elizabeth
"I think my sort of extra challenge, as if I needed it, is that I'm now doing the Queen that we're a little more familiar with," the actress explained on BBC radio's Woman's Hour.
"With Claire Foy, it was almost history and now I'm playing one that people could say 'she doesn't do that,' 'she's not like that,' and that's my personal bête noire," said Staunton, who is most popularly known for playing Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films and also recently starred as Lady Bagshaw in the Downton Abbey movie.
The role of Princess Diana, which was beautifully played by Emma Corrin in the fourth season, will now go to Australian actress Elizabeth Debicki, whose credits include roles in The Night Manager and Christopher Nolan's Tenet.
Daniele Venturelli/WireImage; Georges De Keerle/Getty Images Elizabeth Debicki and Princess Diana
"Princess Diana's spirit, her words and her actions live in the hearts of so many. It is my true privilege and honour to be joining this masterful series, which has had me absolutely hooked from episode one," the actress said in a statement.
After previously announcing that The Crown would end after the fifth season, show creator Peter Morgan announced last July that he had changed his mind and decided to end the hit series after season 6.
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"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," Morgan said. "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."