Will House of Cards return for a Season 6, and, if so, when will the show be available to stream on Netflix?
Warning: Plot spoilers from Season 5 are ahead.
The answer was, yes, the show was supposedly coming back for Season 6, but that will be the last season. After S6, House of Cards is being cancelled. That was the word initially after allegations broke against star Kevin Spacey, but, on October 31, it was announced that production had halted on Season 6. “MRC and Netflix have decided to suspend production on ‘House of Cards’ season six, until further notice, to give us time to review the current situation and to address any concerns of our cast and crew,” reported ABC News.
That announcement from Netflix on October 31 came the day after star Kevin Spacey apologized in the wake of actor Anthony Rapp’s accusations that Spacey made a sexual advance on him when Rapp was only 14. Spacey said he couldn’t remember the encounter if it occurred. According to TVLine, the cancellation was already planned before the Spacey controversy.
Season 5 ended with a series of cliffhangers, setting up the obvious potential for a Season 6, which looks almost certain to happen based on comments made by the show’s creators and star Robin Wright. Following past patterns, the show would most likely drop in June 2018, although this has not yet been confirmed.
Unresolved story lines abound. As show fans know, Season 5 ended with Wright’s Claire Underwood uttering two words: “My turn.” Other questions viewers want answered include the fate of LeeAnn (without seeing a body, anything is possible), how Frank will survive, build power, and operate outside the White House, and what Claire would do with the power of the presidency (HOC hasn’t had a female president before, just like the United States.)
Because Season 6 was not renewed by the time they made Season 5, the show’s creators developed an ending that would work as a season finale or as a set up to another season.
According to UK Express, showrunners Frank Pugliese and Melissa James Gibson “say that they wanted to end the season on an ambiguous note, and planned the ending as a potential series finale.”
Netflix still had not announced Season 6 when the cancellation was revealed, but Season 6 had already started production as of October 30, 2017; its website is still focused on Season 5, which premiered on May 30, 2017. The last Netflix press release on HOC was on May 23.
It was an odd development to say the least to reveal that there will be a Season 6 while announcing that there won’t be a Season 7, but that’s what happened. Signs had pointed to a Season 6 all along. In fact, Pugliese and Gibson have spoken openly about how interesting it will be to explore a Claire Underwood presidency.
UK Express predicts Season 6 could drop in June 2018, writing, “So far, each season has arrived between 12 and 14 months after the previous one. Seasons one, two and three were released in February, season four in March and season five in May.”
The show’s creators have spoken about their ideas for where the series could head after Season 5.
“Now that she’s become more ambitious, or actually just more pronounced with her ambitions openly about what she wants, her complicity is going to be different than Francis’ complicity,” Pugliese told The Hollywood Reporter about where Claire’s character will head after Season 5. “How does she manifest her ambitions in that complicity that she’s looking for in the audience and eventually the voter?” Gibson told THR: “Fasten your seatbelts.”
Of Claire speaking directly to the camera, Gibson told TVLine, “We were trying, in a disciplined way, to navigate that shift at the end of last season [when Claire first talked to the camera] and not overplay it [this season]. But I think it’s inevitable that that will need to be explored further [in Season 6].”
Pugliese added, “The question is going to be how. I don’t think she’s going to do it the way Francis did it. How she does it could be really exciting.”
Wright also made it clear to The Hollywood Reporter that she expected the series to return for Season 6 with a focus on President Claire Underwood. There’s a lot of fresh ground to explore with her character due to the poisoning death of her lover, which excavated new depths to her cunning persona.
Wright, reported THR, “envisions Claire being the ‘greatest president’ that House of Cards has ever had,” saying, “How she gets there and achieves that is a whole other thing regarding the opera of the show.”
In June, she told THR: “All I can tell you is after season five, things are complicated and interesting for Frank. And things are going to become very interesting for Claire.”
In May, Wright joked in Cannes: “He’s [Trump] stolen all of our ideas for season six.” She added of Claire Underwood in the Deadline interview: “She’s his Lady Macbeth to his Richard III.”
The show’s creators also told THR that they want to explore how power works outside the White House, now that Frank has engineered a way to resign so he won’t be charged with the Zoe Barnes murder.
It’s less clear what will happen to the Underwood marriage with the power balance shifted in Claire’s favor. Expect to see a lot more Patricia Clarkson as Jane Davis, though.
Pugliese told TV Line that House of Cards “is a show about a unique marriage,” prompting Gibson to add, “…until one, or both, of them is dead, you [still] have a show.” But that was before the Spacey controversy broke.