House of Cards (season 6)
|House of Cards (season 6)|
|Country of origin||United States|
The sixth and final season of the American political drama web television series House of Cards was confirmed by Netflix on December 4, 2017, and is scheduled to be released on November 2, 2018. Unlike previous seasons that consisted of thirteen episodes each, the sixth season will consist of only eight. The season will not include former lead actor Kevin Spacey, who was fired from the show due to sexual misconduct allegations.
On October 11, 2017, The Baltimore Sun reported that House of Cards had been renewed for a sixth season and that filming would begin by the end of October 2017. On October 18, 2017, production of the sixth season of House of Cards appeared to be already in progress, without an official renewal announcement by Netflix, when a gunman opened fire near a House of Cards set outside Baltimore. Production company Media Rights Capital and Netflix stated that production on the show was not impacted by the shooting.
Production on the series was shut down on October 30, 2017, following the sexual assault allegations towards Kevin Spacey by actor Anthony Rapp, who publicly stated that Spacey had made a sexual advance on him in 1986, when he was 14 years old. Furthermore, Netflix announced its decision to cancel the series after the upcoming season, though multiple sources stated that the decision to end the series was made prior to Rapp's accusation. The following day, Netflix and MRC announced that production on the season would be suspended indefinitely, in order to review the current situation and to address any concerns of the cast and crew. On November 3, 2017, Netflix announced that they will no longer be associated with Spacey in any capacity whatsoever.
In those days, Robin Wright strongly opposed Netflix executives who wanted to cancel the series, as she was concerned about the 2,500 people that had been involved in the production at that time, and were at risk of losing their jobs. On December 4, 2017, Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, announced that production would restart in 2018 with Wright in the lead, without Spacey's involvement, and revealed that the sixth and final season of the show would consist of eight episodes. The latest developments significantly affected the production process, as showrunners Frank Pugliese and Melissa Gibson had to rethink the show and come up with a conclusion for the series in a finite amount of time, taking into consideration other contractual obligations of the cast and crew, who were forced to scrap plans and start working on a new script.
On January 31, 2018, House of Cards resumed production, with new cast members including Diane Lane and Greg Kinnear, who were joined by Australian actor Cody Fern a few days later. A number of returning cast members have been confirmed to reprise their roles from previous seasons, while Alik Sakharov, who had helmed three episodes in season five, directed for the final season as well. Filming was completed on May 25, 2018.
Cast and characters
In the wake of Kevin Spacey's firing, Robin Wright will lead the sixth season of House of Cards, with her character, Claire Underwood, having assumed the presidency at the end of the previous season. New additions to the cast include Diane Lane and Greg Kinnear, who will play siblings Annette Shepherd and Bill Shepherd, the inheritors of an industrial conglomerate and members of a family with the power to influence American politics. Joining them, Australian actor Cody Fern will play Annette's ambitious son Duncan Shepherd. Meanwhile, the following cast members have been confirmed to reprise their roles in the final season, alongside Wright:
- Michael Kelly as Douglas "Doug" Stamper
- Jayne Atkinson as Catherine "Cathy" Durant
- Patricia Clarkson as Jane Davis
- Constance Zimmer as Janine Skorsky
- Derek Cecil as Seth Grayson
- Campbell Scott as Mark Usher
- Boris McGiver as Tom Hammerschmidt
- Sakina Jaffrey as Linda Vasquez
- Lars Mikkelsen as Viktor Petrov
- Jeremy Holm as Nathan Green
From March to October 2018, Netflix released various promotional material for the sixth and final season of House of Cards. On March 4, the first teaser premiered during the 90th Academy Awards ceremony. The teaser shows Robin Wright in the Oval Office as President Claire Underwood, declaring "We're just getting started," followed by an intertitle reading "Hail to the Chief". On June 10, Netflix released two first-look images from the final season. The first photo shows Wright listening to director Alik Sakharov, and the second shows her looking straight at the camera. On July 4, the 242nd anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, a video message was posted on House of Cards' official Twitter account, with President Claire Underwood saying, "Happy Independence Day... to me." The message is followed by the hashtag #MyTurn.
On August 7, Netflix announced that the season would be released on November 2, 2018, and unveiled key art. The poster pays homage to the promotional image for the first season of the series, as Wright strikes the Lincoln Memorial pose, like Kevin Spacey had done before her. On August 27, four images were published via a press release, which depict new cast members Diane Lane, Greg Kinnear and Cody Fern in their roles as members of the Shepherd family. A teaser trailer released on September 5, revealed the fate of Frank Underwood, portrayed by Spacey who was fired from the show, months after the conclusion of the fifth season. It is shown that Frank died in 2017, and has been buried next to his father in South Carolina. Claire visits her husband's grave and says, "I'll tell you this though, Francis. When they bury me, it won't be in my backyard. And when they pay their respects, they'll have to wait in line." This speech mirrors the one Frank gives in the third season of the series, when he visits his father's grave. On September 27, Netflix released a new teaser trailer that presents several new and returning characters. Claire is shown dealing with the aftermath of her husband's death, and declaring that "the reign of the middle-aged white man is over." On October 8, Netflix released the official trailer for the season, which revolves around Claire's power struggle, as she clashes with the American oligarchs and tries to forge her own path as President of the United States. On October 23, critics began publishing reviews on the season, based on advance copies of the first five episodes that they had received from Netflix, after they had signed a letter of agreement.
The first five episodes of the season were sent to critics prior to the official release, to serve as advance screeners. Kevin Lever of FilmEra wrote that "with Wright at the forefront of the show now, House of Cards shines as it did in its early years." Lever described the production as "stellar" and the writing as "reinvigorated". He noted that the show still has the feel of previous years, but it works best when it focuses on Claire, instead of dealing with holdover pieces. David Zurawik of The Baltimore Sun wrote, "I love TV drama that speaks to the cultural moment the way this series does. And, as I have said over and over, #MeToo is a landmark moment." Zurawik revealed that the season primarily focuses on gender issues; the evil of patriarchy and the stench of misogyny. He stated that the episodes exceeded his expectations, and praised the performances of Wright, Lane and Kinnear. Christopher Hooton of The Independent described the episodes as "slightly banal". He expressed his dissapointment at the new characters that were introduced this season, and commented that "Frank Underwood has left behind not only a power vacuum but an entertainment one." Hooton noted that ever since Frank became president at the end of season two, the series has drifted directionless, and after watching the first five episodes of the final season, it still remains unclear what the show is actually about.
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Though the decision to end the series was announced on Monday, the decision to end the series was made several months ago, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the decision.
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