At the height of the sexual assault controversy involving Kevin Spacey, Netflix announced that they have fired him from the Emmy-winning show House of Cards, in which the actor plays the lead character, Frank Underwood.
House of Cards, which debuted in 2013 and immediately became Netflix’s first breakout hit, has collapsed after its lead star was hit by a series of allegations of sexual harassment, which included accounts from employees working on the show. According to a report by CNN, a former production assistant claimed that Spacey sexually assaulted him during the early seasons of the show. Eight other employees described the award-winning actor’s behavior as “predatory” and that he made the set a “toxic” environment to work in. He added that the actor typically target young male workers.
In response to the scandal, Netflix announced that they had severed ties with Spacey, firing him from House of Cards and pulling the plug from his upcoming movie about writer Gore Vidal. Producers are now looking at several options to resume operations on House of Cards without Spacey, Variety reported. At the time the allegations came out, the show was already in the midst of filming for its sixth season and has been suspended since.
The fact that production for House of Cards Season 6 has already begun presents a problem in itself. While bringing Spacey back is no longer an option, producers are also aware that around 300 cast and crew members will be affected if production on the show is shut down entirely because of the scandal. Producers felt that it would be unfair to penalize others for the accusations Spacey now faces.
According to insiders, one of the options being considered is to simply kill of Spacey’s character and have his wife Claire Underwood, portrayed by Robin Wright, command the show’s sixth and final season. Claire has already been established as a key player in House of Cards, who is manipulative and powerful enough to match Frank. Since the first season, Frank was the only character on the show to break the fourth wall. In the fourth season finale, Claire managed to do this as well.
Netflix and Media Rights Capital, the production company that owns the show, are also exploring spinoff ideas. They are reportedly developing several ideas for a new series that would take place in the same universe as House of Cards but would focus on Frank’s loyal aide Doug Stamper, played by Michael Kelly.
While some fans contend that Frank Underwood is the face of House of Cards, the writer of the original novels from which the show is based claimed that a House of Cards without Frank is possible. Michael Dobbs, who wrote the original books and is also an executive producer on the Netflix series, told Express that every show “comes to a natural end“, but it is always possible to continue the story in some way or form such as through a sister series. He cited as examples Breaking Bad, which was followed up by Better Call Saul, and 24, which also spawned multiple spinoffs.
Producers are currently going over Spacey’s contract to confirm if they can legally write him off the show or if they are obliged to stick with him through the end.
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