Season 3 of Netflix’s royal family drama, The Crown, will bring a former exorcist into the mix with the casting of Ben Daniels as the new Lord Snowden. The role of Tony Armstrong-Jones was played by Matthew Goode in season 2 of the series. It was part of a significant subplot that saw Armstrong-Jones, a photographer, bring a whirlwind romance to fruition by marrying Princess Margaret (Vanessa Kirby), only to watch as the union quickly became fraught with difficulties, the impact of which will surely be explored when the series returns with a new cast following a lengthy time jump in season 3.
The idea of a time jump has been baked into the series from the beginning, with the plan being for the series to explore many decades in the lives of Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family, beginning with her coronation in season 1 to what will presumably be very near to present day when the series reaches its conclusion. That structure has allowed the series to bring in a number of new actors to fill roles previously played by the likes of Claire Foy and Matt Smith, as well as the aforementioned Kirby and Goode.
So far, The Crown season 3 has brought on Broadchurch star Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II and Outlander’s Tobias Menzies as her husband, Prince Philip. Meanwhile, Ocean’s 8 star Helena Bonham Carter will take over for Kirby as Princess Margaret, and now we know she’ll be joined by Daniels as Armstrong-Jones. In all, despite the uncertainty that comes from casting shake-ups (deliberate or otherwise), this is, on the face of it at least, an incredibly strong and likable new cast.
How these new actors and interpretations of real-life characters will be received by audiences is really the million dollar question being asked by The Crown. While sidestepping the rarely successful process of aging actors through layers of prosthetics and makeup is almost certainly the right choice, it’s still something of a risk to replace a well-liked, critically praised cast, even when called for by the narrative’s efforts to move forward in time.
For his part, Daniels is coming off two seasons of the well-liked but low-rated The Exorcist on FOX. While shifting gears from a supernatural genre series to a big-budget period drama spanning decades of fictionalized real-life events is a big move, Daniels’ resume suggest he’s more than capable of adjusting to the change. In recent years he’s been seen in Starz’ Flesh and Bone, The Hollow Crown, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and even Netflix’s House of Cards. So, Daniels’ casting in The Crown is a homecoming of sorts, and one that will make the series’ big casting change all the more interesting to watch.
The Crown season 3 is expected on Netflix in late 2018 or early 2019.