After cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron, variant continues to rise in the UK, Netflix has halted production on The Crown season 5 a day early.
The Crown season 5 has been canceled ahead of schedule by Netflix. The latest season of the highly anticipated historical drama will depict a new chapter in the British royal family, with Imelda Staunton succeeding Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth. The fifth season began filming in July.
Jonathan Pryce takes over the role of Prince Philip, Lesley Manville takes over the role of Princess Margaret, Elizabeth Debicki takes over the role of Princess Diana, and Dominic West takes over the role of Prince Charles, joining Staunton in The Crown. Season 5 of The Crown will reportedly focus on the events of the 1990s, with speculation that it will include Diana’s tragic death in 1997. Another event that will be depicted is the 1997 general election and the Labour Party’s landslide victory. Bertie Carvel, who plays former Labour leader Tony Blair, was photographed on set in Kent earlier this week with Lydia Leonard, who plays his on-screen wife.
Netflix has wrapped production on season 5 early, according to Variety’s latest update on the project. The decision comes as COVID cases in the UK are on the rise, with reports of up to eight crew members on The Crown contracting the virus. Production was supposed to end only a day later, but a Netflix spokesperson said the decision was made to “ensure people’s safety” so that the company’s employees could “enjoy a festive break with their loved ones.” The exact date when filming will resume is unknown, but it is expected to be in January.
As the Omicron variant spreads around the world, the UK has seen a significant increase in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. On December 16, over 88,000 new positive cases were reported across the country, the largest increase since the pandemic began. The surge is expected to have a negative impact on the entertainment industry as a whole, with films like Spider-Man: No Way Home and The Matrix Resurrections’ box office success expected to suffer. The Omicron variant has also struck Broadway, with performances of Hamilton and Moulin Rouge! recently being canceled.
Season 5 of The Crown is perhaps the most eagerly anticipated to date, focusing on what are widely regarded as Queen Elizabeth’s most turbulent years. With much of the new cast being billed as the series’ final ensemble, Netflix may be under pressure to ensure that its latest season doesn’t disappoint, especially after a close friend of Princess Diana stepped down as an advisor for the show, raising concerns that it might have missed the mark. With The Crown season 5 rumored to be released in November 2022 and delays from COVID still wreaking havoc, Netflix may have plenty of time to iron out any kinks and make the new season a success.