It’s an admittedly disappointing, cursory end to what is perhaps one of the quickest casting ‘sagas’ in recent memory. Alas, though he would have made an excellent addition to Netflix’s Royal Family, and a fine replacement for the outgoing Matt Smith (Doctor Who), Bettany didn’t specify his reason for pulling out of the talks, simply that he’s decided to pass on the project.
Indeed, The Crown now joins an exclusive list of close calls for Paul Bettany, who has previously turned down roles in Masters of Sex and The King’s Speech, the latter of which earned Colin Firth an Oscar.
As for The Crown, Netflix has wasted no time in casting its replacements for Claire Foy and Vanessa Kirby. The former actress has handed the baton over to Olivia Colman, who will now assume the role of Elizabeth from season 3 onwards – ditto for Helena Bonham Carter, after the former Harry Potter actress clinched the role of Princess Margaret just after Christmas.
It’s all part of Netflix’s plan to create a generation-spanning account of the Royal Family, and though season 4 is yet to receive the go-ahead from the online streamer, we fully expect The Crown to continue into 2019 – and possibly 2020, providing the stars align.
Filming on the show’s third season is due to commence later this year, by which point we ought to know the identity of Matt Smith’s successor. Meanwhile, Paul Bettany has two Avengers movies in the can, beginning with Infinity War on May 4th.