The First Look at Imelda Staunton in 'The Crown' Is Royally Good

Claire Foy, Imelda Staunton, and Olivia Colman's First Photos as Queen Elizabeth II
Claire Foy, Imelda Staunton, and Olivia Colman's First Photos as Queen Elizabeth II (Credit: Netflix)

Though the schedules for Netflix's fall and winter shows have not yet arrived, viewers are already aware of which major series are expected to debut later this year. One title that won't be among them: The Crown. One of Netflix's oldest series still airing, the show is deliberately sitting 2021 out as it works its way through recasting the show nose-to-tail for the final two seasons of its run and then filming those seasons back-to-back.

This fictionalized retelling of the history of the current Windsor rule, starting with Elizabeth II's ascent to the throne and ending with the year 2000, has not been without controversy. However, with both critical and audience acclaim, it looks like this enormous undertaking will be heralded success. 

With Season 4 one of Netflix's big draws of 2020, the series is looking forward to hitting those high notes again with the final seasons. The bulk of the cast has been set, and filming has begun in London, with Imelda Staunton (Downton Abbey) in the leading role of Queen Elizabeth II. Netflix recently released the first image of her in costume, and, much like both Claire Foy and Olivia Colman, who played the role before her, it's perfect.

Staunton is not the only prominent name as part of the recast. Netflix's The Crown has become a bit of a who's who of British talent. The central trio will also include Jonathan Pryce (Game of Thrones) as the late Prince Philip; and Lesley Manville (World on Fire) as the final Margaret. The new Diana will be played by Elizabeth Debicki (The Night Manager). Though there was no formal announcement, Variety confirmed Dominic West (The Pursuit of Love) is set to take over Charles' role. Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting) will take the part of the new Prime Minister, John Major.

Though The Crown still has two seasons to go, it only has one more decade to cover. With the 2010s not being so kind to the royal family's reputation, series creator Peter Morgan altered the original plan to go up to Elizabeth's 2012 jubilee. The final two seasons will now both cover the 1990s, ending with the turn of the Millenium. 

The Crown Season 4 is currently is sitting with 24 Emmy nominations, tied for the most nominations of any show in 2021. These include one for Outstanding Drama Series, one for Outstanding Writing, and two for Outstanding Directing. Cast nominations include Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for both Colman and the one-season Diana, Emma Corrin, and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Josh O'Connor, who just finished as Prince Charles. The series also got three Outstanding Supporting Actress nods for Helena Bonham Carter (Princess Margaret), Emerald Fennell (Camilla Parker-Bowles), and Gillian Anderson (Margaret Thatcher), and an Outstanding Supporting Actor for outgoing Prince Philip, Tobias Menzies.

Filming for The Crown Season 5 is underway in the U.K., with plans for Season 5 to arrive in 2022 and the series finale in 2023. The Crown Seasons 1-4 are streaming on Netflix.