How 'The Crown' Brought Olivia Colman and Claire Foy Back for the Finale

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For The crown's Emotional conclusion, the creators made sure to honor the actresses who contributed to the iconic series and brought the show's version of Queen Elizabeth II to the screen.

He sixth and final season of the hit Netflix drama concludes the long biographical arc of Queen Elizabeth, told over the last seven years. The final episode is set in 2005, almost 17 years earlier. Death of Isabel in September 2022.

However, the show's creator, Peter Morgan, wanted to acknowledge the world's collective shared experience of losing Queen Elizabeth in the show's finale. This led to the creation of the show's emotional sequence in which 80-year-old Elizabeth, played by Imelda Staunton — reflects on her life and legacy while in St. George's Chapel, where she would ultimately be buried.

The scene allowed Staunton's Elizabeth to reflect and imagine moments from her past, thus facilitating cameos by Claire Foy and Olivia Colmanwho previously played the queen at different times in her life in seasons 1 to 2 and 3 to 4 respectively.

“We had all been through the funeral experience,” Morgan said. Variety in an interview about the final season earlier this year. “Because of how deeply everyone will have felt that, I had to try to find a way for the final episode to deal with the character's death, even though she hadn't died yet (on the show).”

For the scenes with Foy and Colman, the show saw the return of director Stephen Daldry, who directed the first two episodes of The crown back in 2016.

Director of photography Adriano Goldman recalled the challenges that came with assembling the three actresses for the scene, while speaking with the publication.

“Everyone was there in person for the final scene,” Goldman shared. “That was a struggle in itself in terms of the schedules of the three queens, who is available, who is not, what is the best day to have them all together, how much time are we going to have with the three of them together. It's not much, so we have to simplify the way they appear.”

“So they were there physically,” he added. “But the choir nave where the scene takes place is narrow. To light them properly, to make them look beautiful, attractive and real, was a very specific challenge for me, because I didn't have enough space on the sides for lighting sources.”

According to Goldman, the scene, which also featured Staunton's Queen Elizabeth envisioning her own coffin, was “very, very emotional.”

“Age is a theme throughout the episode, right? Now we know he's 80. At the beginning, Prince Philip (played by Jonathan Pryce) says to his face, 'You're 80.' Then you know he's about arrive,” Goldman recalled. “It's funny how they're effectively discussing life and death. It's such a beautiful episode, it was very emotional.”

Goldman also reflected on the impact of the Queen's death on the cast and crew, recalling: “I was very touched when she died.”

“We were in Barcelona and we were supposed to shoot the next day; that was going to be our first day of principal photography, and they just told us that wasn't going to happen. As a sign of respect, we're not going to Shoot.”

“And then when you finish the season, you feel somehow attached and connected to the story,” he added. “I think that's part of the reason why Imelda felt it when she saw the coffin on stage.”

While The crown has come to an end, rumors have circulated about a possible prequel series. However, Morgan was clear when he recently spoke to ET on the red carpet at the premiere of The crownIn the final episodes, she'll be happy to spend some time away from the fictional lives of royals for a while.

“In the short term, I won't be writing anything set in a palace anywhere,” he said with a laugh, though he highlighted the epic franchise, “I hope to miss it.”

There's certainly no shortage of drama that can be mined for story ideas, even sticking to just the most “recent” true story. There's the abdication of King Edward VIII, the historic reign of Queen Victoria, the tension between Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots, and the end of the Tudor dynasty, just for starters.

“Maybe later, at some point in my life, I'll miss it enough to pick up the pen again,” Morgan admitted. “But really, at the moment, there is no plan… Nothing is ever ruled out, but in the short term, absolutely not.”

The last season of The crown is streaming now on Netflix.

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