'The Crown': Netflix Addresses Report Imelda Staunton Will Play Queen Elizabeth in Season 5

Despite reports suggesting that Imelda Staunton is poised to replace Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II in future seasons of The Crown, Netflix says that “any news on casting remains pure speculation.” After reports surfaced on Thursday of the alleged casting for Seasons 5 and 6 of the popular Netflix original series, which chronicles the Queen’s reign over the decades, Netflix, in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, downplayed the reports.

“We are currently filming season 4 of The Crown but have not commissioned any further seasons as yet, therefore any news on casting remains pure speculation," the spokesperson’s statement read.

The statement came just hours after the Daily Mail published a report suggesting that Staunton had been approached by producers and casting directors and was said to be in talks to portray the Queen in Seasons 5 and 6. According to the report, which was quickly picked up by other outlets, Staunton would portray the Queen from her mid-60s on, taking over the role from Colman, who likewise took over the role from Claire Foy.

At this time, there have been no further comments on the report, which Staunton has also not addressed.

Premiering on the streaming platform in November of 2016, The Crown is set to tell the story of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign over the course of six seasons, all containing 10 hour-long episodes. With each season spanning a decade, the cast is recast every two seasons to make the timeline look as authentic as possible, meaning that Colman is set to star in Seasons 3 and 4 before her reign will end and another actress’ will begin.

Season 3 of the series, Colman’s first, debuted on Netflix on Nov. 17 and spans 1964 to 1977, a pivotal period for the Royal Family that included the birth of Prince Edward as well as Charles' coronation as the Prince of Wales.

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According to the Daily Mail’s report, planning for Season 5, which would be Staunton’s first should she be cast, is already underway, with creator Peter Morgan and his team researching possible events for the season to cover. Some events currently being looked at include the Queen’s “annus horribilis,” Princess Diana’s death, as well as the deaths of Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother, Nelson Mandela’s visit to London in 1996, and he Queen’s historic visit to Russia in 1994, according to the report.

Seasons 1 – 3 of The Crown are available on Netflix. Season 4, filmed concurrently with Season 3, does not yet have a release date.