Fans of “The Crown” have likely come to appreciate the Netflix drama for different reasons. Some are drawn to the illicit romance contained within the confines of royal life. Others might tune in for the relationship drama, of the marital ups and downs behind two of the most famous people alive. The impeccable period details and costumes might be enough to snag some viewers.
Even though details are still scarce about what “The Crown” Season 3 will offer when it returns to Netflix at some point in the near future, it’s also not hard to believe that all of those components will still be there. Some notable changes are coming to this most prestige-y of prestige dramas, but the core of the show will most likely persist.
As Anglophiles, history buffs, and fans of soapy biodrama await the return of “The Crown,” we’ve assembled some of the key details to keep in mind as Season 3 approaches. With casting changes and a time jump, there’s plenty to keep track of as the weeks and months count down.
Coco Van Oppens Photo
A Royal Jump through the ’60s
“The Crown” has always been a bit of a “Forrest Gump” story, watching the UK and the world’s chaos and evolution through the eyes of the British monarchy. It only makes sense that, with two seasons of 1947-1963 under its belt, the show would try to keep up that pace and see life for Queen Elizabeth II through to a different decade.
Still, according to the show’s producers, Season 3 will follow in the close wake of the birth of Prince Edward. Beginning with 1964, the plan is for the next season to extend all the way until 1976.
Long Live the (New) Queen
Olivia Colman has long been one of the most versatile actresses alive. Whether she’s been a comic force in any of the Mitchell & Webb shows, a dramatic anchor in something like “Broadchurch,” or some unclassifiable mixture of the two (“Fleabag” forever), she never plays the same role twice.
So it makes sense that she’ll be taking over for Claire Foy as the show speeds up Elizabeth’s journey through the 20th century. It’ll be the second queen she’ll have played within a calendar year, after she stars in Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite,” expected to premiere at a 2018 festival.
Philip’s Coming, Too
Regardless of how you felt about his increased presence in Season 2, no continuation of this story would be complete without Elizabeth’s husband. Naturally, “The Crown” brought in an actor no stranger to British stories that take liberties with timelines. Before Tobias Menzies starred in the excellent “The Terror,” he was a regular on the Starz time-travel drama “Outlander.”
(Paul Bettany was briefly considered as the frontrunner replacement for the role before the show looked elsewhere.)
Margaret and Tony
With a child of her own, Margaret still figures to be a key focus of the show, especially with Bonham-Carter on board. As of now, the closest to an official word on the casting came from Vanessa Kirby herself, aside from Peter Morgan telling IndieWire at this year’s AFI Awards luncheon that with Bonham-Carter, “We’re returning to the size Margaret really is!”
Presumably this change also means a different Tony Armstrong-Jones, played by Matthew Goode in a criminally short Season 2 stint.
Update: May 3 — Netflix has confirmed that Helena Bonham Carter is officially on board as Season 3’s Margaret.
Don’t Expect Household Names for the Rest of the New Cast
In an interview with the series’ casting chief Nina Gold, Vanity Fair was able to hint that as an older Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles may start to pop up on the periphery of this story, they won’t be played by names as recognizable as Colman and Menzies.
The Season 2 Pay Gap is Gone
After a salary disparity between Foy and Matt Smith became known earlier this year, producer Suzanne Mackie publicly resolved that a similar gap would not happen in Season 3.
But what about the release date?
The biggest question is when audiences can expect the show to return. With the switch in casts throwing off the show’s regular production schedule, it’s safer to expect a 2019 release. It would break the annual tradition of a new season arriving later in the year, but as an Emmys staple, Season 3 is all but guaranteed to be in front of viewers before May 2019.
“The Crown” Seasons 1-2 are currently available to stream on Netflix.