The Crown Prequel Could Be Coming To Netflix

Nearly two years have passed since "The Crown" last graced our screens with the trials and tribulations of the British monarchy. The royalists among us are likely entering a withdrawal period (myself included) and though the series is set to return this fall, the reunion is bittersweet: Peter Morgan's historical drama will soon come to an end. With only two seasons to go, where will we get our fill of lavish manors, outdated practices, and sharp looks of disapproval? This very same question must be keeping Netflix up at night because the streamer is now considering a prequel series to fill the void.

Ahead of the penultimate season of "The Crown," Netflix and Left Bank Pictures have been in talks about a prequel series to the royal drama (per Variety), though this project is not officially greenlit or in development. This proposed prequel series would begin in the late Victorian era, starting with the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, and catching up to where "The Crown" first began (the wedding of Queen Elizabeth II). Peter Morgan, the series creator who has penned each episode of the drama, would return to write the prequel and the series would run for three to five seasons.

What would a prequel series look like?

"The Crown" chronicles the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, putting the royal family front and center as it explores grand themes of British society and politics. The first season focused on the early years of Queen Elizabeth's reign, including her 1947 wedding and the changes sparked by the 1952 death of her father, King George VI. Subsequent seasons have approximately covered a 10-year period, with the main cast swapping out every other season as the characters age up. The forthcoming fifth installment is set to focus on the early-to-mid 1990s, while the sixth season will end the series around the early 2000s. Even without the worry of another grand prop heist, "The Crown" is one of Netflix's most expensive shows, costing around $130 million (£100 million) to produce. But the ambition and cost have certainly paid off, because it's also one of the streamer's crown jewels — critically revered, with a dedicated following. Over the course of its four seasons, "The Crown" has won 21 Emmys, with a whopping 63 nominations total.

It's not hard to envision all that this prequel would share with its flagship series: another grand opportunity for stellar performances and grand spectacle, it would trace the complexities of the royals, including both the political and personal struggles of the reigning monarch. But it wouldn't quite be the same character study that "The Crown" offers. Centering on a single monarch in Queen Elizabeth II, "The Crown" has been able to trace her journey from beginning to end, paying special attention to the complexities of her role as a female monarch. Even as Elizabeth has shifted out of focus, major attention has been paid to another massive female figure in the British monarchy, Princess Diana. Beginning with Victoria's death and continuing forward means that the prequel series would jump between monarchs and cover the reigns of four kings: Edward VII (1901-10), George V (1910-36), Edward VIII (1936), and George VI (1936-52). Should this series take a similar approach to "The Crown," (which tells its story in episodes that essentially stand alone as vignettes), then five-season sounds about right for the fifty-year time period.

Season 5 of "The Crown" is set to stream in November 2022, with a new cast taking over to portray the royal family through the 1990s. Season 6 is expected to follow in 2023, with plans to shoot this August. The star-studded cast for the final two seasons includes Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth, Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Dominic West as Prince Charles, Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana, and Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker Bowles. The final season will also include two new performers as teenage versions of Prince William and Prince Harry.