'The Crown' Season 5 Starts Filming In July With Its All-New Cast

Netflix is rolling out the red carpet for The Crown again. Production on The Crown season 5 is set to start this summer, with an all-new cast of actors set to replace the previous ensemble led by Olivia Colman. The filming begins as the U.K. begins to ease COVID-19 restrictions this spring following a third national lockdown that's been in place since January.

Heavy is the head that wears the crown, and long is the wait for The Crown season 5. But filming on Netflix's Emmy-winning royal drama will officially begin this July, Variety reports, with Imelda Staunton taking over for Colman as Queen Elizabeth.

The planned production start date will come two months after the U.K. begins to ease restrictions on April 12, following its third national lockdown in the wake of a new surge in COVID-19 cases. Variety notes that it's hoped that by July, the country will be on its way to recovering from the devastating effects of the pandemic. The crew is already starting to move back to Elstree Studios, just north of London, where the majority of the royal drama is filmed. Filming will take place under strict COVID-19 protocols. But filming for both TV and film productions has been pretty steady in the U.K., thanks to efforts by the British Film Institute and producers' trade body Pact.

Joining Staunton in The Crown season 5 is Tenet star Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana, Dominic West (The Affair) as Prince Charles, Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread) as Princess Margaret, and Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip. It's also recently been rumored that The Crown has found its Tony Blair, with Fleabag star Andrew Scott reportedly circling the role of the Prime Minister. Though Scott's casting is far from confirmed, it would certainly put this final cast of the show in the running for most attractive versions of the royal family and their allies.

The Crown will end with its sixth season, taking the series into the early 2000s (the fifth season should roughly cover the '90s). The Crown creator and showrunner Peter Morgan had earlier stated that the show would only run for five seasons, but changed his mind and pushed the run back to the original target of six seasons.

"As we started to discuss the storylines for series five, it soon became clear that in order to do justice to the richness and complexity of the story we should go back to the original plan and do six," Morgan said at the time.