Netflix’s “House Of Cards” has had an up and down narrative. Created by showrunner Beau Willimon, season one, exec-produced and visually styled by David Fincher (who also directed two episodes), was solid and set up a fascinating look at the conniving Washington, D.C. political spectrum. The show placed Netflix on the map as a content-creator worth watching, and it instantly became their flagship show. Things got a little tricky in season two. Fincher didn’t direct, and while he still retained his EP credit, it felt like he was a little out the door, and things slightly lost their way.
But Willimon really brought the series back strong in season three. And maybe while it didn’t earn the same amount of critical accolades, the quality actually rose, and the show wasn’t afraid to raise the stakes (**spoiler** season three ended with the First Lady leaving the President in the middle of his re-election campaign **end spoiler**).
Season four is on the way, but THR reports it just got renewed for a fifth season. However, there’s a downside, creator Beau Willimon, won’t be rejoining the fold, and it’s unclear who next guide the show.
“Prior to its fourth season premiere, Netflix and [producers] Media Rights Capital are thrilled to announce that House of Cards will return for a fifth season in 2017. Concurrent with the renewal, creator and showrunner Beau Willimon is departing the critically acclaimed series,” Netlfix said in a statement. “Netflix and MRC owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Beau Willimon for his strong narrative vision for House of Cards over the show’s first four seasons. As an Academy Award-nominated writer, he made his first foray into television and built a riveting and critically acclaimed series, establishing his place in TV history. The producers, cast and crew join us in wishing Beau the best in his next creative adventure.”
Would it be possible for this move to set up the departure of Kevin Spacey? He is about to co-run Relativity Media after all. It sounds like a nice guess, but “House Of Cards” is built around the the partnership of Frank and Claire Underwood, and it doesn’t seem like the show could sustain the loss. That said, they did break up last season, so who knows what’s in store.
Willimon attracted attention in Hollywood through “Farragut North,” the play that was eventually adapted into George Clooney‘s political drama, “The Ides of March.” Presumably he’ll be seeking film opportunities after this, but as a playwright first and foremost, don’t be surprised if he feels like he needs a breather and returns to the stage first.
Update: Willmon’s reps have delivered his statement. “I’m grateful to Netflix and MRC, my fellow executive producers, our two incandescent stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, our talented writers, as well as the incredible cast and crew with whom I’ve had the privilege to work,” Willimon said. “After five years and four seasons, it’s time for me to move on to new endeavors, but I’m supremely proud of what we’ve built together, wish the show much continued success, and leave it in the hands of a very capable team.”