Photo: David Giesbrecht/Netflix
It appears House of Cards' sixth season may move forward without Kevin Spacey's character Frank Underwood—if it continues at all.
Citing sources familiar with the current production suspension, The Hollywood Reporter on Friday night reported the writing staff is "actively reworking" the upcoming final season, which may see Spacey's role eliminated.
Following allegations of sexual misconduct against Spacey on Sunday, Netflix earlier this week suspended production on the hit series, which had began filming in early October. In fact, the first two episodes had already been shot and a table read for the third episode was in the works.
Anthony Rapp on Sunday (Oct. 29) accused Spacey of making unwanted sexual advances toward him back in 1986, when the former was only 14. Since making his allegations public, others have also accused Spacey of sexual harassment and assault. Several House of Cards employees have also alleged inappropriate behavior.
Just hours after Rapp's allegations surfaced, Netflix quickly announced the next season of House of Cards would be its last. The streaming platform also noted executives would be meeting with the cast and crew to "ensure that they continue to feel safe and supported."
Multiple reports this week suggest producers and the network decided over the summer the sixth season would be the last. But a source with knowledge of the show's current plans said, "They shut [production] down to figure out how to write [Spacey] out."
Prior to Friday, some had speculated the show might not return to production at all, given the increasing scandal surrounding Spacey, whose delightfully evil Frank Underwood was arguably the show's main draw.
But many others, including actress Jessica Chastain, quickly lobbied for Robin Wright's Claire Underwood to finally take the lead, as she more or less did at the end of the latest season.
Deadline has subsequently reported a possible roadblock for a potential Spacey-less season 6, noting the actor is also one of the show's executive producers and has a complex contract, meaning he could potentially take legal action if he's forced out.
Interestingly, season 5 ended with Claire rising from Vice President to President after Frank resigned as the walls began closing in on him, ironically. "Don’t you see? I’ve designed this. I wanted you to be the president," Frank tells his wife. "I’ve made you the president."
But proving perhaps she's the one holding all the cards, the last scene of season 5 wraps with Claire alone in the Oval Office, rejecting Frank's phone call and then turning to the camera. "My turn," she says, informing viewers she is finally in charge. And that may prove to be even truer than originally intended.
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Update (10 p.m. EST): Netflix has released a statement confirming it has severed ties with Spacey.
"Netflix will not be involved with any further production of House of Cards that includes Kevin Spacey. We will continue to work with MRC during this hiatus time to evaluate our path forward as it relates to the show. We have also decided we will not be moving forward with the release of the film Gore, which was in post-production, starring and produced by Kevin Spacey."