Netflix has given fans of The Crown their first look at Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth II. Imelda Staunton, who many may know from her role as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films, will be taking over as the Queen for seasons 5 and 6. This role was previously held by Claire Foy for seasons 1 & 2 and Olivia Colman for seasons 3 & 4.
Both Foy and Claire received universal acclaim so Imelda Staunton is facing high expectations for her performance in this role. In an interview with BBC, Staunton said that there is an extra challenge as this chronicles more recent periods in British history, which could lead to more direct comparisons.
"I think my sort of extra challenge, as if I needed it, is that I'm now doing the Queen that we're a little more familiar with," Staunton said. "With Claire Foy, it was almost history and now I'm playing one that people could say 'she doesn't do that,' 'she's not like that,' and that's my personal bête noire."
Imelda Staunton is not the only newcomer as The Crown shakes up its cast every two seasons to keep up with the aging characters. The late Prince Philip will be played by Jonathan Pryce, who was previously played by Matt Wilson and Tobias Menzies. Lesley Manville is taking on the role of Princess Margaret, the Queen's sister, previously played by Vanessa Kirby and Helena Bonham Carter.
While Gillian Anderson played a pivotal role in season 4 as Margaret Thatcher, she will not be returning as that era of British history is over. The new Prime Minister is Sir John Major who will be played by Jonny Lee Miller.
However, one key storyline in season 4 is the disastrous relationship between Prince Charles and Princess Diana. This will be continuing with some new faces. Diana will be played by Elizabeth Debicki and Charles will be played by Dominic West. Some roles that have yet to be cast include Prince Andrew, Princess Anne, Prince Edward and the Queen Mother.
Season 5 will cover the events surrounding Britain and the royal family during the 1990's. According to Digital Spy, the Queen called 1992 a "annus horribilis (horrible year)." 1992 was the year when Princess Anne divorced Captain Mark Phillips, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson announced they were splitting, and a horrible fire broke out at Windsor Castle. In addition, Prince Charles and Princess Diana announced they were getting divorced even though it wasn't finalized until 1996.
If you have been keeping up with The Crown, then you know that Queen Elizabeth is not a big fan of people in her family getting divorced. Three divorces in one year is sure to ruffle up some feathers. It's not clear how far into the 1990's we are going to get, but we may also be seeing the tragic death of Princess Diana this season, which will be a tough episode to watch.
Imelda Staunton will be playing The Queen for the final two seasons of the Netflix series. We don't know if The Crown will catch up to the present day, but Staunton's version of The Queen will have plenty of things on her plate to deal with.