While you might assume the series’ writers were rushed off their feet to finish the modified scripts, it turns out that Claire’s grab for power was already part of their master plan.
Claire’s turn to camera at the end of series five — “My turn” — “immediately created something of a threat” for Frank, said showrunner Melissa James Gibson.
“That immediately created something of a threat for the character of Francis, who had always owned that device,” Gibson said in an interview with IndieWire. “So what was set in motion was a battle for the narrative.”
Co-showrunner Frank Pugliese agreed: “Where we wanted to go for season six — no matter what happened, no matter what the circumstances, we knew we had that.”
Pugliese revealed that the last series was always going to centre around Frank versus Claire and “who owns the White House”.
“The other thing that we had in play, that we had planned out in season five, was that season six would be about who owns the White House,” he said. “Essentially at the end of season five there’s a promise Francis makes, that he’s going to own the White House by owning Claire.”
“[In] season six we knew that all these forces were trying to control her and own her,” Pugliese added. “That seemed like something we wanted to explore and dramatise. That was always something we wanted as well.”
The two showrunners also addressed Frank’s absence from the show, stating that they knew early on that they didn’t want to “erase” him.
“It seems a little disingenuous to erase him,” Pugliese said. “[He was] such a big part of the first five seasons”.
“I think it’s even disingenuous for Claire to try to erase him,” he added. “She may try to close the door on him and move past him because that was where the story was going anyway, but that can’t be easy.
“If that had been easy, I think it would have sold out the first five years, somehow.”
House of Cards series six will air on Netflix on Friday 2nd November 2018