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The third season of Netflix's hit royal bio-drama The Crown (opens in new tab) premiered just under a year ago, and new intel about Season 4 continues to roll on in. Praise the TV spoiler gods, am I right? Here's everything we know so far about The Crown Season 4 from its release date, to what you'll most likely see, to who's playing the People's Princess, Lady D.
On August 20, after months and months of uncertainty among fans, Netflix finally revealed that Season 4 of The Crown will drop on November 15. "The monarchy. Above all else. @GillianA and Emma Corrin join Olivia Colman in Season Four of The Crown, arriving 15th November," Netflix wrote in the announcement. In addition to revealing the release date, the tweet also contained the first teaser for the new season, which showed Princess Diana in her wedding dress (!!!). Check it out below:
The monarchy. Above all else. @GillianA and Emma Corrin join Olivia Colman in Season Four of The Crown, arriving 15th November. pic.twitter.com/Z4RPvzb32RAugust 20, 2020
Do we have a trailer?
Yes! Netflix finally gave us the trailer showing Anderson, Colman, and Corrin in all their glory. We didn't know a two minutes and 41-second clip could give us goosebumps until now.
The banter between Anderson and Colman's characters in the trailer reeks of Golden Globes, BAFTAs, Emmys praise. From the trailer, it looks like it'll be the Queen vs. Thatcher vs. Diana, and we're not ones for a brawl, but in the name of history, we'll happily sit down and take it all in.
Could November 15 get here any faster? We. Can. Not. Wait.
What do we know about season four?
The Crown's creator, Peter Morgan, revealed in early 2018 that Seasons 3 and 4 were filmed back-to-back. "We’re doing them back-to-back. I’m writing them all at the moment," he said (opens in new tab). "We’ve got Olivia, which is fantastic, and now we’re just embarking on the process of casting."
We also got some behind-the scene photos of Diana and Charles that look incredible and very true to life, so fans are already deeply excited about the coming season. (It also confused people a little bit about exactly when Diana would show up, but now we know that it is indeed season 4.)
The very tail end of season 3 feels like a bit of a placeholder for epic and important events in the Royal Family, so season 4 is going to be hotly anticipated. But season 3 already laid the groundwork for Charles' initial relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles and their ultimate breakup, so that season 4 doesn't have to rush through events.
Who's in the cast?
In keeping with the trend set with the series' first two seasons, the principal cast are playing their characters for at least two seasons (opens in new tab), meaning we can expect to see Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham Carter (opens in new tab), and the rest of the key players return as their characters in Season 4. Season 4 ended with the divorce between Princess Margaret and Tony Snowdon, so we may not see Ben Higgins again in the latter role.
The fourth season will also add some new cast members. Notably, Emma Corrin is set to play Lady Diana Spencer. Netflix has also confirmed that Gillian Anderson will join The Crown in Season 4 as Margaret Thatcher, Great Britain's first female prime minister.
"I am so excited to be joining the cast and crew of 'The Crown' and to have the opportunity to portray such a complicated and controversial woman," Gillian said in a tweet (opens in new tab). "Thatcher was undoubtedly formidable but 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."
Gillian Anderson will play Margaret Thatcher in The Crown Season Four, now in production. pic.twitter.com/OVCO8o2bVkSeptember 7, 2019
There's already news about who will play Elizabeth in seasons 5 and 6: Imelda Staunton has announced she's taking on the role. "I have loved watching The Crown from the very start," said Staunton on her casting, per the Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab).
"As an actor it was a joy to see how both Claire Foy and Olivia Colman brought something special and unique to Peter Morgan's scripts," she said. "I am genuinely honored to be joining such an exceptional creative team and to be taking The Crown to its conclusion."
If you're wondering, Where do I know Imelda Staunton from? it's because she was in Harry Potter as the hated Dolores Umbridge. This would be a very different role if she does end up being the choice, although the two have a certain poshness in common.
While we're on the subject of seasons 5 and 6, we can't forget to mention that the show's creators have already selected who will play Princess Margaret and Princess Diana. In the show's two final seasons, Phantom Thread's Lesley Manville will take over Helena Bonham Carter (opens in new tab)'s post as Princess Margaret.
The announcement became known to fans on Twitter in July, and personally, I'm thrilled. "I could not be happier to be playing Princess Margaret," the Harlots actress said in a statement." The baton is being passed on from two formidable actresses and I really don't want to let the side down. Furthermore to play siblings with my dear friend Imelda Staunton will be nothing short of a complete joy."
Lesley Manville will play Princess Margaret in the fifth season of The Crown. pic.twitter.com/R5aZEBOW0tJuly 2, 2020
As for Princess Diana, Elizabeth Debicki will play the famous figure taking over from Emma Corrin. The Tenet and The Great Gatsby actress said in a statement (opens in new tab) on the once in a lifetime opportunity, "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."
What will be covered about Princess Diana?
While details about the plot of The Crown Season 4 haven't been explicitly revealed, we can guess at key plot points by looking to history. According to Variety (opens in new tab), Season 3 will cover 1964-1976. Going by this amount of time, season 4 will cover, potentially, the late 1970s into the early 1990s. This includes what fans are dying to see: Charles and Diana (despite early reports that we might see Diana at the very tail end of season 3).
On the other hand, Seasons 1 and 2 covered Queen Elizabeth's life from 1947 until 1964—a 17-year period. If Seasons 3 and 4 continued that exact trend, Season 4 would end in 1981. Although this would leave Season 4 covering a relatively short period of time, 1981 does offer a few significant royal moments.
Not only was it the year Charles and Diana tied the knot (opens in new tab), the 1981 Trooping the Colour also marked a scary incident for Elizabeth. During that year's celebration, someone fired six shots (which were later discovered to be blanks) at Elizabeth while she rode on horseback during the procession.
We know that the show covers the royal wedding for sure. I mean, after all, the iconic wedding gown was seen for a moment in the trailer.
"The Emanuels, who designed the original, gave us the patterns, and then it was made for me," said Corrin to British Vogue (opens in new tab). "We were filming the scene when you first see her in the wedding dress—I think it was Lancaster House in London—and I had a team of about 10 people helping me put it on, because it's massive. I walked out and everyone went completely silent."
Again: We. Can. Not. Wait.
It's also possible that Season 4 will lean on other significant moments in Charles and Diana's lives as cutoff points, with the birth of Prince William and Diana's tragic and untimely death in 1997 likely to be highlighted.
The creative team behind The Crown have gone on record saying the show is intended to last for six seasons (opens in new tab), which means that, wherever Season 4 ends, that will leave Seasons 5 and 6 (and the actors cast for them) to cover the remainder of Elizabeth's reign up until present day. So the 1990s and 2000s may be covered in these seasons.
We'll update when we know more.
Kayleigh Roberts is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional experience. Her byline has appeared in Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, The Atlantic, Allure, Entertainment Weekly, MTV, Bustle, Refinery29, Girls’ Life Magazine, Just Jared, and Tiger Beat, among other publications. She's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
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