'The Crown': COVID-19 Strikes Season 5 Production

COVID-19 numbers continue to rise because of the omicron variant, and production on The Crown has been affected as a result. Per Variety, eight crew members tested positive for coronavirus recently, so 2021 production on The Crown Season 5 ended one day sooner than intended. Production is expected to begin again in Jan. 2022.

"The Crown finished filming one day earlier than planned for the Christmas break following a few positive cases within the team, thus ensuring others' safety and so that everyone on production can enjoy a festive break with their loved ones," a Netflix spokesperson told Variety.

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(Photo: Netflix)

In September, nearly a year after Season 4 of the hit historical drama premiered, the new Queen ElizabethImelda Staunton, took fans behind-the-scenes and onto the set of The Crown Season 5, which is set to premiere in November 2022, and teased the upcoming season during Netflix's first-ever online global event, TUDUM. Staunton told fans that The Crown Season 5 is expected to premiere in November of 2022, and that it is filming now.

Prior to the Saturday event, Netflix had only given fans glimpses of the upcoming season by way of the release of select images showing the Season 5 cast in character. The first of those images came in July when the streamer released a photo of Staunton, dressed as the Queen, in the Palace. That image was followed by August-released images of Elizabeth Debicki and Dominic West as Princess Diana and Prince Charles, with Debicki's Diana photographed lounging on a sofa with a letter on her lap as West's Charles was photographed in a suit outside on what appeared to be one of the royals' country estates.

Staunton, Debicki, and West are taking over their respective roles from Olivia Colman, Josh O'Connor, and Emma Corrin, who portrayed the characters in the third and fourth seasons. Since The Crown covers a decade of the Queen's reign per season, the upcoming Season 5 marks the typical 2-season point in which the series recasts the characters, with Season 5 also set to star Jonathan Pryce as Prince Philip, Lesley Manville as Princess Margaret, Elizabeth Debicki as Diana, and Dominic West as Prince Charles. Johnny Lee Miller, meanwhile, will portray John Major, who served as prime minister and leader of the UK's Conservative party from 1990 to 1997.

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Thankfully for fans, while Season 5 was initially announced to be The Crown's last, the decision was reversed and the series has already been renewed for a sixth and final season. As fans await the Season 5 premiere in November 2022, they can catch up on the first four seasons on Netflix.