Latest The Crown season 5 casting news reveals intriguing plot twist

With a fifth season of Netflix’s The Crown now on the cards, it’s safe to say we’re as hooked on the behind-the-scenes gossip as we are on the storylines, especially as the TV show begins to delve into the royal family’s very recent history.

The fifth series has not been without controversy. Princess Diana’s close friend, Jemima Khan, has quit working on the new series. Jemima was working as a script advisor for the TV show, but has now left due to being unhappy with how The Crown season 5 plans to portray Diana. Jemima commented that Diana’s story is not being dealt with ‘as respectfully or compassionately’ as she had hoped and has ‘requested that all [her] contributions be removed from the series and [she] declined a [writing] credit.’

Princess Diana and Jemima Khan
Getty Images

It’s been reported that Jemima assisted The Crown team with story outlines and scripts, which are said to include Princess Diana’s alleged relationship with Hasnat Khan, as well as Dodi Fayed, and the final two years of her life.

Another controversial decision surrounding the new series surrounds that Panorama interview between Martin Bashir and Princess Diana in 1995. Speaking to The Sun, a source said: ‘The Crown’s creators see the interview as the keystone moment in series five… To the writers, the stormy marriage between Charles and Di led up to her outpouring on Panorama, and the aftermath of that decision defined her final months.’

They added: ‘They are making a huge investment in that. The Crown has a track record of delving into areas of the Royal Family’s history they’d rather be left alone.’

Andrew Morton, the author of Princess Diana’s 1992 biography and a consultant on the Netflix series, also revealed he believes the royal’s bombshell interview will feature in The Crown and show the ‘the drama behind the making of my book’.

This controversial decision comes after Prince William criticised the BBC for how the interview was conducted, and called for it to never be aired again.

Everything we know about The Crown season 5

The latest casting update for The Crown season 5 has inadvertently revealed a surprising plot twist. With the upcoming season expected to focus heavily on Princess Diana’s dissolving relationship with Prince Charles and her unfortunate death, The Kite Runner‘s Khalid Abdalla has been signed on to play Dodi, the late Princess’ lover who died alongside her in the Paris car crash in 1997.

But even more interesting is the casting of The Night Manager‘s Amir El-Masry to play a young version of Mohamed Al-Fayed, Dodi’s Egyptian billionaire father. The casting, reported by Variety and confirmed by Netflix, heavily suggests that season 5 will delve into the backstory of Mohamed Al-Fayed at some point, with an older version being portrayed by Oslo‘s Salim Daw.

Imelda Staunton the crown
Netflix

Meanwhile, Imelda Staunton gave us a taste of what we can expect when she takes the reins of playing Queen Elizabeth II in the fifth series of The Crown late last year. The actress gave a short video message in what looked like a mock-up of the Queen’s desk and study.

‘I’m currently on the set of The Crown where we have just begun filming season five, she said.

‘I’m delighted to be here, inheriting the role of Queen Elizabeth from two outstanding actresses, most recently, the wonderful Olivia Colman and who could forget the actress who originated the part, Claire Foy? I will do my utmost to maintain the very high standard that they set.’

Photos of both Olivia Colman and Claire Foy as the Queen were positioned behind Imelda, who is known for roles in Downton Abbey, Vera Drake and Harry Potter. ‘Hopefully, I look calm, collected and capable. My stomach, meanwhile, is doing somersaults,’ she added.

Imelda also revealed that the fifth series’ release date would be November 2022.

As has been customary with previous seasons, season 5 will see a complete cast change to reflect the passing of time. So far we know that joining Imelda Staunton as the Queen is Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana, Olivia Williams as Camilla Parker Bowles and Dominic West will play Prince Charles. It has also been announced that Dominic West’s son, Senan West, has been cast as Prince William, the 13-year-old actor’s on-screen debut.

Lucky for us, we’ve seen sneak peeks at Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana, Dominic West as Prince Charles and Imelda Staunton as the Queen, and we can’t quite believe the uncanny resemblance of all of them.

Elizabeth Debicki the crown
Netflix
Dominic West the crown
Keith Bernstein/Netflix

In September, some more snaps of Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana were released, as she stood alongside the actors portraying Prince William, Prince Harry and Prince Charles on set.

Not only were we taken aback by her resemblance to Princess Diana, but that of the young princes, too!

More secret snaps from the set of The Crown were released in October and people were well and truly taken aback by how similar Elizabeth Debicki looks to Princess Diana.

‘Literally thought the first photo was her [Diana],’ commented one person on the Instagram post by Vogue.

‘I thought that was Diana until I read the caption,’ another said.

One outfit that fans have been eagerly awaiting to see is Princess Diana’s ‘revenge dress’, which she wore on the same night as Princes Charles’ tell-all documentary premiered on TV, in which he reportedly confirmed he hadn’t been ‘faithful and honourable’ in their marriage.

While it was previously rumoured that Fleabag‘s Andrew Scott (aka the ‘Hot Priest’) was approached to play none of than former prime minister Tony Blair, the MailOnline has confirmed that Bertie Carvel will take up those particular reigns, with Lydia Leonard set to portray Blair’s wife, Cherie.

Netflix shared the news that Jonny Lee Miller will be joining The Crown cast to play former Prime Minister John Major. The actor, who was previously married to Angelina Jolie, is known for his roles in TrainspottingElementary and Dexter.

Netflix previously announced season 6 of The Crown would be the last, but let’s be honest, we were hoping it would continue and include the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s relationship, as well as the beginnings of Prince Harry and Meghan’s romance. However, executive producer Suzanne Mackie has confirmed the show wouldn’t ever go beyond six seasons.

Speaking in an interview with Broadcast Now, she said: ‘Peter [Morgan, the show’s creator] has said it very articulately, that he simply can’t write something unless there has been time to gain a proper perspective.

‘And I think he’s always felt 10 years is the minimum amount of time that he can see something in a historical context, to allow him to really understand it. I don’t think he’ll deviate from that.’

Suzanne continued: ‘We all know these stories, but what Peter does so brilliantly is get underneath that, and understand the landscape in a more nuanced, complex, surprising way. The minute he starts trying to do that sooner, it will inevitably feel contrived or artificial. So, although this has been an absolute career highlight for me, it will absolutely be time to move on.’

Peter Morgan has also spoken on the topic himself. ‘I just think you get so much more interesting [with time],’ he told The Hollywood Reporter. ‘[20 years] is enough time and enough distance to really understand something, to understand its role, to understand its position, to understand its relevance.’

Earlier this year, The Crown‘s production designer, Martin Childs, revealed how he researched the interiors of Buckingham Palace to recreate the sets. After being denied special access by the firm to research the palace ahead of filming, Martin went ‘undercover’ as a tourist and joined a public tour of Buckingham Palace’s State Rooms to glean all the information he needed to create his spectacular sets.

The Crown
Netflix/Ollie Upton

‘All I could think about was how we could turn these rooms into spaces where action could happen, where people could have conversations, where we could maintain an interest,’ Martin told the Royal Television Society this week. ‘Whenever I was in a room I was looking through doorways into the next room, to see what interesting frames it would make on the screen.’

He explained: ‘The one thing I knew was that the upstairs apartments were built in an enfilade, which meant four rooms in a row connected by doors rather than by a corridor.’

‘As soon as I knew that about the private apartments, the Queen’s bedroom and dressing room, and Philip’s bedroom, then I had an architectural metaphor for an extraordinary marriage. It meant they could close doors on one another, there’d be distance between them, there would be closeness when they wanted it.’

All in all, 15 different locations are used to film The Crown, including four sets at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire and 11 stately homes and historic buildings, including Wilton House in Wiltshire, Lancaster House in London (both for interiors scenes) and the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London which poses as Buckingham Palace’s exterior.

The Crown
Des Willie/Netflix

With season 5 of The Crown officially filming, we can’t wait to hear more juicy gossip from on and offset.