The Real Reason Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ Is Ending Early

The Crown has captivated viewers since it premiered on Netflix in 2016. The drama, which chronicles the lives of Queen Elizabeth II and Britain’s royal family, was thought to end after season 6 but in late January it was announced that it will conclude after season 5.

Many fans of the series weren’t happy about the news, and since the announcement was made there have been questions about why the drama is ending earlier than expected. Read on to find out more about that and if The Crown could return in the future on another streaming service.

Event for Netflix's 'The Crown'
Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ | Rich Fury/Getty Images

Show creator reveals why it was ‘time to stop’

Following the surprising news The Crown’s creator, Peter Morgan, released a statement about the series being cut short.

“At the outset I had imagined The Crown running for six seasons but now that we have begun work on the stories for season five it has become clear to me that this is the perfect time and place to stop,” he explained.

Morgan previously revealed to Entertainment Weekly that he didn’t want to write too close to the current time as he felt that would become “journalistic.”

There’s also been plenty of speculation that the decision to end the drama sooner rather than later wasn’t strictly a creative one but had to do with costs.

The Crown is a pricey show to produce, therefore, Netflix may have decided to reallocate a portion of Morgan’s budget to a new series that could attract more subscribers. Netflix has already kept The Crown around longer than most shows. As Vanity Fair noted, the streaming service reportedly has an “unofficial policy of ending even its less costly original series after just two to three seasons.” 

When will the final two seasons of ‘The Crown’ be released

Filming for the fourth season of the hit drama was halted when lockdowns were ordered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While Netflix hasn’t yet announced the official release date for the upcoming season, several publications predict it will be in November or December 2020 with season 5 starting in late 2021. According to Tobias Menzies, who currently plays Prince Philip, the stoppage likely won’t affect the new season’s release date since they were so close to wrapping when production was shut down.

“The show was about two or three weeks shy of finishing, though I have a feeling that the vast majority had been shot,” he told Deadline, adding, “It’s quite possible that they will manage with what they have got and not have to go back into the shoot.”

Newcomers to the cast next season include Gillian Anderson, who will play Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and Emma Corrin who will take on the role of Princess Diana when she is introduced.

“I have been glued to the show and to think I’m now joining this incredibly talented acting family is surreal. Princess Diana was an icon and her effect on the world remains profound and inspiring. To explore her through Peter Morgan’s writing is the most exceptional opportunity and I will strive to do her justice,” Corrin said about portraying the late princess.

As for the show’s final season, Imelda Staunton will star as Queen Elizabeth.

Producer hints that the series could continue

Olivia Colman
Olivia Colman | David M. Benett/Dave Benett/WireImage

You Won’t Believe How Much Queen Elizabeth II’s Crown is Actually Worth

In March, rumors swirled that the show could continue beyond season 5 on another network or streaming platform after producer Andy Harries left the door open to that possibility.

“It’s quite well known that Left Bank retained the rights to The Crown. The plan is ongoing,” he said. “It’s still exclusively on Netflix and it stays there for the moment.”

However, sources later clarified that it will not move to another network following season 5.

Seasons 1-3 of The Crown are currently available to stream on Netflix.