Netflix had to confront what to do with its hit political drama House of Cards in October last year, after numerous allegations of sexual assault against star Kevin Spacey emerged.
A day after actor Anthony Rapp allegation against Spacey emerged, Netflix confirmed that the sixth season of the political drama – which had already begun filming – would be the last. Soon after, the streaming giants cut all ties with Spacey and confirmed that the final season would not feature his character Frank Underwood.
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After an extended production delay and weeks of backroom discussions with producers and writers, it was announced in December that the show would resume production in 2018 with Robin Wright in the lead role.
But how will they write around the absence of Spacey’s Frank Underwood? And what direction will the series take in its final season? Find out everything we know so far about House of Cards season 6.
When is House of Cards season 6 released on Netflix?
While previous seasons of House of Cards have dropped in the spring (season five arrived on 30th May 2017), season six will be released on Friday 2nd November 2018.
How many episodes will there be?
Netflix has confirmed that the final season will only be eight episodes long – the shortest in its six-year run. The previous five seasons comprised of 13 episodes.
Who is in the cast of House of Cards’ final season?
The big casting news for season six is that veterans Greg Kinnear and Diane Lane have signed on to star in the final episodes.
It has also been announced that Australian actor Cody Fern (American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace) will join the cast.
The trio will join returning actors Robin Wright (Claire Underwood), Michael Kelly (Doug Stamper), Jayne Atkinson (Catherine Durant) and Patricia Clarkson (Jane Davis), Constance Zimmer (Janine Skorsky), Derek Cecil (Seth Grayson), Campbell Scott (Mark Usher) and Boris McGiver (Tom Hammerschmidt).
Joel Kinnaman, who played Underwood’s political rival Will Conway, confirmed to RadioTimes.com that he will not be returning for the new season.
When is House of Cards season six filming?
Production resumed on the delayed series on 31st January 2018 in Baltimore, the main location for House of Cards filming. The series was set to continue filming until late spring.
Is there a trailer?
UPDATE: Netflix has now released the official trailer for House of Cards season six. Following the clips and teasers (detailed below), this is the full preview for the sixth and final season.
The action begins with news footage and discussion of President Claire Underwood, with one commentator declaring, “I think she might be the worst thing that has ever happened to this country.”
Meanwhile, former White House Chief of Staff Doug Stamper is apparently considering turning against the family he has grimly served for so long.
With death hanging in the air, this last run of episodes could be a brutal final act. Watch the video below.
Netflix gave us our first glimpse of House of Cards sans Spacey during the Oscars on Sunday 4th March.
Claire Underwood had another message for fans in an Independence Day teaser on 4th July – taking her rightful(?) place on top of a chair in the style of the Lincoln Memorial.
A message from the President of the United States. pic.twitter.com/yx0P3qyHfW
— House of Cards (@HouseofCards) July 4, 2018
A further teaser arrived on Thursday 27th September. It directly addressed the question of what happens to President Frank Underwood (Spacey’s character) in the new season.
What is going to happen?
*Spoilers for House of Cards season 5 to follow*
Rather fortuitously, Claire Underwood (Wright) had emerged as the show’s frontrunner in recent seasons – culminating with her rise to the presidency at the end of season five. This is perhaps the lifeline which has allowed the showrunners to continue the series without turning the plot on its head.
Back in June, long before the allegations against Spacey emerged, exec producers Melissa James Gibson and Frank Pugliese confirmed that Claire’s presidency would form a major story arc for the new season. We imagine that nothing has changed there.
“I think it’s inevitable that that will need to be explored further [in season 6],” Gibson told TV Line.
“The question is going to be how,” added Pugliese. “I don’t think she’s going to do it the way Frank did it. How she does it could be really exciting.”
Of course, the situation has changed since then, with the writers having to undergo significant rewrites to oust Frank Underwood from the plot.
Is Frank Underwood dead in House of Cards season six?
The clip sees Claire delivering a cutting monologue in front of her husband Frank’s grave, and while it could be one big misdirection, the video certainly appears to confirm that Spacey’s character will be killed off in some way before the events of season six open.
You should have known. pic.twitter.com/UFGplyDSY1
— House of Cards (@HouseofCards) September 5, 2018
The teaser trailer for the new episodes was even more explicit, with Claire in charge and Francis dead. However, she appears not entirely to have escaped their past crimes just yet…
The future of the final series appears to have been confirmed therefore, although there are still plenty more questions to answer as the Netflix series gears up for its final run.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme in December 2017, Michael Dobbs, the author of the original House of Cards novels, said, “The poor [writers] have been sweating over their candles and pens.”
“It’s been really, truly difficult, but what Media Rights Capital, Netflix and the writers have done is superb,” he added. “They have set some standards and they have come back with some fine, fresh new creative stuff.”
House of Cards season 6 will be released on Friday 2nd November 2018
This article was originally published on 15 February 2018