House of Cards will be cancelled after Season 6, which is already in production, a decision that was revealed the day after star Kevin Spacey apologized to actor Anthony Rapp, who accused Spacey of making a sexual advance toward him when Rapp was only 14-years-old.
The news, which broke on October 30, 2017, surprised a lot of fans because Netflix hadn’t even announced that HoC would return for Season 6, although it was widely anticipated due to comments made by the showrunners and stars. According to TVLine, sources claim the cancellation was decided before Spacey’s controversy erupted. Season 6 premieres some time in 2018, according to Daily Variety (a specific streaming date has not been announced.) Warning: Plot spoilers are ahead for Season 5.
However, on October 31, a statement from Netflix cast even Season 6 in new doubt.
“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.
According to Daily Variety, Netflix and producer Media Rights Capital released a statement on Kevin Spacey that read: “Media Rights Capital and Netflix are deeply troubled by last night’s news concerning Kevin Spacey. In response to last night’s revelations, executives from both of our companies arrived in Baltimore this afternoon to meet with our cast and crew to ensure that they continue to feel safe and supported. As previously scheduled, Kevin Spacey is not working on set at this time.” Deadline Hollywood reported that “key cast and creatives were only alerted this morning (October 30, 2017) in a series of calls.”
Rapp lodged his accusations against Spacey in a detailed interview that ran on Buzzfeed October 29; the Star Trek: Discovery actor described how Spacey allegedly climbed on top of him when he was only 14. Spacey then released a statement in which he said he couldn’t remember the encounter but apologized to Rapp.
“I have a lot of respect and admiration for Anthony Rapp as an actor,” Spacey wrote in a statement posted on his Twitter page. “I’m beyond horrified to hear his story. I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago. But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.”
The Spacey statement continued: “This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life. I know that there are stories out there about me and that some have been fueled by the fact that I have been so protective of my privacy. As those closest to me know, in my life I have had relationships with both men and women. I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man. I want to deal with this honestly and openly and that starts with examining my own behavior.”
HoC creator Beau Willimon addressed the Spacey accusations on Twitter, calling Rapp’s story “deeply troubling.” Willimon “stepped away from the series at the end of Season 4,” according to TVLine.
Season 5 ended with a number of cliffhangers. Robin Wright’s Claire Underwood uttered 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.)
The show’s future was always hanging in the balance as the showrunners Frank Pugliese and Melissa James Gibson told UK Express previously that the ending of Season 5 was designed to be ambiguous enough that it could have been a “potential season finale” if necessary. The show’s creators, before the Spacey controversy, had spoken openly about storylines for the future. “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.”