When a giant streaming service can’t get Paul Bettany for the role of Prince Philip in season 3 of The Crown, it makes the sensible decision to cast Tobias Menzies. After months of searching and a scheduling issue, Netflix and the show’s producers have finally found the right man for the job, as the critically acclaimed series will move forward several years, replacing the cast from seasons 1 and 2 with entirely new actors to play Queen Elizabeth II and the rest of the royal family. And while that means no more of the fantastic Claire Foy in the role of the queen, it does mean Olivia Colman will be stepping in to don… uh, the crown.
The casting of Menzies as Philip is a great choice for the series. For the past few years, he’s been one of the hardest working actors in television, with a list of screen credits about a mile long. Since 2013, he’s made appearances in Black Mirror, Doctor Who, The Honourable Woman, The Night Manager, Game of Thrones, Catastrophe, Star Wars: Rebels (voice, obviously), and, of course, in a dual role as Jack and Frank Randall in Starz’ steamy epic, Outlander. If you tuned in to AMC recently, you saw him as Captain James Fitzjames on the network’s adaptation of The Terror.
As reported by Variety, Menzies will be trading in the bitter cold of the arctic for the modest and totally reasonable trappings of Buckingham Palace and more. He will take on the role of Prince Philip for the third and fourth seasons of the series, replacing Matt Smith, who occupied the part since the series premiered in 2016. Menzies will be joined by the aforementioned Colman, as well as Helena Bonham Carter, who is replacing Vanessa Kirby, in the role of Princess Margaret. Now that the show has overcome the challenge of finding a new Prince Philip, it’s presumed the rest of the casting needed to bring the characters forward in time will be completed as the cameras are reportedly set to begin rolling this summer.
Of course, bringing Menzies on board will also give the series’ producers a chance to avoid the issue of the pay gap the occurred between the series’ ostensible star, Claire Foy, and her co-star Matt Smith. Since news broke of the disparity in the actors’ salaries, Smith was hit with a campaign encouraging him to donate the difference to charity, and the producers issued a public apology, stating that, moving forward “No one gets paid more than the Queen.” Whether or not the series aims to be transparent in disclosing the actors’ salaries in the future remains to be seen.
At any rate, with the addition of Menzies, the series has locked in three of its most important characters, and fans can now speculate on who else will be joining The Crown in season 3.
The Crown season 3 is expected at the end of 2018 or early 2019.