'House of Cards' season 6: All you need to know about the latest cast additions, Netflix release date, trailer and more
'House of Cards' will return for its sixth and final season on November 2nd on Netflix, with Robin Wright's Claire Underwood all set to take center stage.
Since its first season released in February 2013, Netflix's 'House of Cards' has been one of the network's flagship shows. An adaptation of the 1990 BBC miniseries of the same name and based on the novel by Michael Dobbs, the drama put the streaming platform on the map as a genuine competitor when it came to original programming. So, when the announcement that its sixth season would be its last surely came as a bittersweet moment to the executives and thousands of cast and crew members who have been involved in its conception and production for the past five years.
Of course, it was a decision that was forced because of the numerous allegations of sexual assault that emerged against lead actor Kevin Spacey in light of the #MeToo movement that took the country, and the world, by storm last October. That in combination with rumors that the 59-year-old actor had other workplace behavioral issues saw Netflix cut all ties. The sixth season of 'House of Cards,' which at that point was still just another season, all of a sudden took on much more significance.
Production came to a standstill and was suspended indefinitely pending further notice. It would be Robin Wright, who portrayed Spacey's on-screen wife Claire Underwood, who came to the rescue, petitioning executives relentlessly to ensure that the 2,500-odd people who worked on the show were not left without employment so suddenly. Her pleas were heard, with Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, announcing that the popular series would resume production in 2018, though he also revealed that its sixth season would be its last. Furthermore, the length of the season would be cut down from the usual 13 episodes to just eight episodes.
These developments would further affect the production detrimentally. Spacey's termination meant that showrunners Frank Pugliese and Melissa Gibson had to rethink the storyline for the final season while also keeping in mind that the cast and crew had other contractual obligations that they needed to honor. They delivered, and production kicked off once again on January 31 earlier this year. Since then, there's been a slow trickle of teasers, posters, and information from Netflix that have helped expectant audiences to piece together how this final season will pan out.
When is season 6 releasing on Netflix?
The sixth and final season of 'House of Cards' is slated to release on the streaming platform on November 2 next week. The announcement came after the release of several promotions that confirmed that Claire Underwood would be the new face of the show. The first came in the form of a teaser that premiered at the 90th Academy Awards ceremony that showed Claire sitting in the Oval Office and declaring "We're just getting started,' followed by an intertitle "Hail to the Chief," the official presidential anthem of the United States.
Then, on June 10, Netflix released first-look images from the final season. The first shows Wright listening to director Alik Sakharov and the second shows her staring straight at the camera, almost as if ready to engage in the show's signature fourth-wall breaks. July 4, the 242nd anniversary of the country's adoption of the Declaration of independence, saw the 'House of Cards' Twitter account post a video message for the masses from their new commander-in-chief where she states, "Happy Independence Day... to me." Finally, on August 7, Netflix unveiled key art and ended fans' misery when they announced the premiere date as November 2.
What can audiences expect from this final season?
Spacey's firing from the show left some big shoes to fill in, and audiences were certainly apprehensive about Wright being the sole lead for its final and highly-awaited season. And while it's true that Frank Underwood's Nixonian presidency, as well as his Machiavelian scheming, were the highlights of the show, Claire's support act, like all great works of art, was underappreciated during its time. Her evolution from silent guardian and provider of moral support to willing accomplice and then chief perpetrator herself is not something that has been rushed and is five seasons in the making. Now, she gets her opportunity to take center stage.
By coincidence or design, the end of the previous season saw the writers instate Claire as, first the acting president, and then full-time president in lieu of Frank who wanted to explore the power trappings of the private sector. Frank's goal was to receive a presidential pardon, though a twist saw Claire ignoring his calls and looking to consolidate power on her newfound throne. This means the start of this upcoming season will have a sort of continuity to it, though Frank will no longer be on the sidelines but written out altogether.
Wright is quite the budding director. The 52-year-old star has been honing her skills behind the camera for quite some time now, and it's clear that executives at Netflix have immense faith in her skills, which is why she will be helming the series finale. It has been confirmed that Wright will be directing the eighth and final episode on this upcoming season, and if she's to be believed, it is going to "shock you beyond belief."
Those that may feel a little apprehensive after reading that needn't worry because as we said, it's been a craft that she's been practicing for a while. Wright previously directed 14 other episodes in the series, most notably the season finale of last season that saw her iconically break the fourth-wall and announce to viewers, "My turn."
Who are the new faces this season?
A number of returning cast members have been confirmed to reprise their roles from previous seasons, including Michael Kelly (Doug Stamper), Jayne Atkinson (Cathy Durant), Patricia Clarkson (Jane Davis), Constance Zimmer (Janine Skorsky), Derek Cecil (Seth Grayson), Campbell Scott (Mark Usher), Boris McGiver (Tom Hammerschmidt), Sakina Jaffrey (Linda Vasquez), and Lars Mikkelsen (Viktor Petrov). Alik Sakharov, who helmed three episodes in season 5, will be directing for this final season as well.
The new additions to the cast are Diane Lane and Greg Kinnear, who play brother-sister duo Annette and Bill Shepherd, the inheritors of an industrial conglomerate who wield considerable influence on American politics. Joining them will be Australian actor Cody Fern, who will be portraying Annette's ambitious son Duncan Shepherd.