As “The Crown” gears up to introduce its next queen, Academy Award winner Olivia Colman, its creator is already eyeing her replacement. In an interview with EW, Peter Morgan let slip that while he has not yet discussed the possibility with Helen Mirren, the actress is a fan of the show.
Of course, Mirren is well-versed in the complexities of portraying the reigning Monarch of Great Britain, having already worked with Morgan on his lauded 2006 historical drama “The Queen.” That film, which was directed by Stephen Frears from a script by Morgan, earned Mirren her first and only Oscar (she’s been nominated four times). (Mirren has also played Queen Charlotte, Queen Elizabeth I, and will soon star as Catherine the Great in an upcoming HBO miniseries.)
“She loves the show,” said Morgan, who also serves as showrunner on the hit royal drama. “She thought there was nothing left to say, and I think she’s really surprised.”
The possibility of closing out the series with Mirren is not too far off, especially seeing as when it came time to age up the show’s stars, Morgan got his first choice in Colman. “Olivia Colman was a list of one,” he said. “I think I wanted to know [she would play the part] even before negotiations were done for seasons 3 and 4.”
First, she had to go and win an Oscar for playing Queen Anne in “The Favourite,” a fact Morgan doesn’t hold against her. “Obviously I’d have preferred her not to be playing another queen before. But it’s so different — such a different tone.”
Arriving nearly two years after the second season premiered, the Season 3 of “The Crown” spans the years 1964-77, ending just before Margaret Thatcher’s election as prime minister in 1979. As has long been the plan for the series, every two seasons, it will jump ahead in time and fully recast its roles.
“Outlander” star Tobias Menzies is stepping into the role of Prince Philip (previously played by Matt Smith), while Helena Bonham Carter will play the Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret (played by Vanessa Kirby in the first two seasons). Both Smith and Kirby picked up Emmy nominations for their roles in Season 2.
Other cast members for Seasons 3 and 4 include Ben Daniels as Tony Armstrong-Jones, Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles, Erin Doherty as Princess Anne, Marion Bailey as the Queen Mother, and Jason Watkins as Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
Colman is currently up for an Emmy for her role as the cloying stepmother to Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s character in “Fleabag.”
“The Crown” comes back for its third season on Netflix on November 17.