Netflix is reportedly considering killing off Kevin Spacey's Frank Underwood character from its hit political drama House of Cards. Many fans have been suggesting that Netflix go this route since last Sunday, when Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp kicked off what has become an ongoing series of sexual harassment and assault allegations levied against Spacey by various accusers.
On Monday, Netflix announced that House of Cards would be ending with a sixth and final season, a decision that had reportedly been made long before Spacey came under fire for his alleged behavior. However, production on season 6 was suspended the very next day, with Netflix and producer Media Rights Capital deciding to stop and regroup before moving forward with House of Cards. Some have suspected that the show will now just never resume production, forever tainted by the disgusting acts that are being attributed to its star.
That said, it seems that House of Cards may not be quite dead yet, as Variety reports that Netflix is considering killing off Spacey's Frank Underwood, and shifting the focus of the series to his wife Claire Underwood (Robin Wright). While House of Cards began with a fairly clear focus on Frank as the main character, Claire has since become just as integral to the series as her husband, even eventually taking on Frank's habit of addressing the audience directly. Wright has earned widespread acclaim for her portrayal of Claire, and there's no reason to doubt her ability to carry the story going forward.
While the report doesn't detail exactly how Netflix is considering killing off Frank, one assumes that they would prefer to do so off-screen, as it's unlikely that the rest of the cast and crew would be comfortable with Spacey returning to set at this point. Filming on season 6 only recently began, so there is said to be a feeling that writing him out wouldn't be too logistically difficult.
Just because Netflix might want to kill off Frank and film the rest of season 6 without him though, doesn't mean that they legally can. Cards producers are said to be currently looking over Spacey's contract in an effort to determine if they can legally continue the series without him, or if his presence in each episode would be contractually required. If it's the latter, it seems likely that season 6 might not happen, as it's doubtful Netflix would be willing to endure the public backlash that would surely follow news of Spacey being involved with House of Cards again.
House of Cards season 6 production currently remains suspended.