The Oscar-nominated Imelda Staunton is best known by Harry Potter fans as the cruel, manipulative, and vile Dolores Umbridge. Predominantly, Umbridge is featured in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when she becomes the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor and, for a short time, headmistress of Hogwarts.
Staunton’s next role is definitely an important and challenging one. She will replace Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II for Netflix’s acclaimed fantasy genre, The Crown. Earlier today, Netflix released the very first image of Staunton as the Queen on its social media accounts, which you can see for yourself below!
An early glimpse of our new Queen Elizabeth II, Imelda Staunton. pic.twitter.com/ZeMSA1hDnv
— The Crown (@TheCrownNetflix) July 30, 2021
Staunton will play the Queen for seasons five and six of The Crown, which will be the show’s final two seasons. According to Deadline, shooting for these seasons of The Crown began earlier this month. The fifth season is expected to debut in late 2022, according to Harper’s Bazaar.
Staunton is not the only one who is replacing an actor/actress for the show. All major characters will be played by someone new. As of now, we know Jonathon Pryce is replacing Tobias Menziez as Prince Philip, Dominic West will replace Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles, and Elizabeth Debicki will play Princess Diana, taking over from Emma Corrin. Finally, Lesley Manville is taking over as Princess Margaret from Helena Bonham Carter.
According to Deadline, when Staunton spoke with the BBC about playing Queen Elizabeth II, she stated that playing the Queen for seasons five and six brings on additional challenges since those seasons cover more recent events in British history:
“I think my sort of extra challenge, as if I needed it, is that I’m now doing the Queen that we’re a little more familiar with. With Claire Foy, it was almost history and now I’m playing one that people could say ‘she doesn’t do that,’ ‘she’s not like that,’ and that’s my personal bête noire,” she explained.