After three seasons spotlighting Queen Elizabeth II and her cohort, Season 4 of The Crown did a screeching left turn as the next generation of royals burst upon the worldwide stage with the marriage of Charles and Diana. While Elizabeth remains the series' main focus, the center of the family around whom they all revolve, no one can deny her firstborn son's car crash of a marriage will be the driver of the final two seasons. As if in acknowledgment of that reality, The Crown has released two new photos from the new season featuring the royal couple.
These being the final two seasons of the show, the cast has turned over once more. Since the show's early years, Charles has been a character, with Billy Jenkins playing him as a child and then Josh O'Connor in his 20s and 30s. For The Crown's final two seasons, Dominic West (The Pursuit of Love) will take over as the Prince of Wales. Diana only just blew in at the top of Season 4, but Emma Corrin stole the show out from under everyone as the fragile creature who suddenly found herself the center of a fairytale romance gone wrong. For her final two seasons — the second of which will almost certainly focus on her passing in 1997 — Elizabeth Debicki (Widows) will take on the character.
The dramatization of Charles and Diana's relationship turned The Crown, which had been a critically lauded but modestly watched hit in its first three years, into a viral sensation. Though the recasting means the series will be off the air this year — Seasons 5 and 6 are currently filming back to back with plans to release in 2022 and 2023 — Netflix wants to keep that momentum going. These two new photos, especially the one of Diana, are sure to do that.
While Debicki's first image nails the character to an almost unnature degree, West's is not quite so stellar. The slouch, the hangdog look, and the hair are on point, but West is missing that long facial structure and sallow complexion that made Josh O'Connor's characterization so exemplary.
The Crown already released the first picture of the new Queen Elizabeth II, Imelda Staunton, who inherits the role originated by Claire Foy and most recently played by Olivia Colman, in late July after filming for the final two seasons first commenced. She'll be joined by Jonathan Pryce (Game of Thrones) as the last iteration of her husband, the late Prince Philip taking over from Tobias Menzies, who took over from Matt Smith. Lesley Manville (World on Fire) plays her sister Margaret in her final years after Vanessa Kirby and Helena Bonham Carter already portrayed the character.
Fans should note that these are the only announced cast members portraying the royal family for Season 5 thus far. There is still no word on who will play Anne, Camilla, Andrew, Fergie, or Edward — nor has there been an announcement of who will play young Will and Harry. That's notable because the series has announced Jonny Lee Miller (Elementary) will play the new Prime Minister, John Major, who followed Thatcher into Number 10.
The Crown Seasons 1-4 are streaming on Netflix. Season 5 is expected to debut in late 2022.