'The Crown' Renewed for Sixth and Final Season in Surprise Move by Netflix

Netflix is changing course when it comes to the cancellation of one of its most popular series. On Thursday, the streamer announced that The Crown had been renewed for a sixth and final season. The announcement came just months after Netflix had confirmed that the series, which documents the reign of Queen Elizabeth the II, would be ending after Season 5.

In a statement shared by the official Twitter account for Netflix UK & Ireland, series creator Peter Morgan said that the decision to extend the series by an additional season was made as they "started to discuss the storylines for Series 5." Morgan said that as those discussions were in progress, "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 seasons."

First debuting on the streamer in November of 2016, the historical drama had initially been planned to span a total of six seasons. In January of this year, however, Netflix had announced that it would be ending after Season 5. At the time, Morgan had said that "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 had added that he was "grateful to Netflix and Sony for supporting me in this decision."

At this time, details of the fifth and sixth seasons remain unclear and premiere dates have not yet been announced. Falling in line with past seasons, Season 5 will see Olivia Colman passing the literal crown to Imelda Staunton, who will take on the role of Queen Elizabeth. That role had been played by Claire Foy in Seasons 1 and 2, but due to the nature of series, which covers a full decade of the queen’s reign per season, actors are switched out every two seasons. Staunton will be joined by Oscar-nominated actress Lesley Manville, who has been cast as Princess Margaret, who was portrayed by Vanessa Kirby in the first two seasons and then by Helena Bonham Carter in the following seasons.

The first three seasons of The Crown are available for streaming on Netflix. Season 4 does not yet have a release date, though it is expected to air sometime in 2020. Stay tuned to PopCulture.com for the latest information.