House of Cards is in production limbo, and by our reckoning, Netflix has four options for what to do next.
This week, actor Anthony Rapp came forward with allegations that star Kevin Spacey made a sexual advance toward Rapp when the Star Trek actor was 14 (Spacey, at the time, was 26). Then, numerous members of the House of Cards crew made their own sexual misconduct claims against Spacey (who has denied some of the allegations and is currently seeking treatment). The latest round of allegations, first published by CNN, adds further uncertainty to the future of House of Cards, a landmark Netflix hit that helped turn the streaming service into the content giant it is today.
On Tuesday, Netflix and production company MRC announced the show has suspended production and noted, “We will continue to work with MRC during this hiatus time to evaluate our path forward as it relates to the production.”
So here’s how things currently stand: House of Cards recently started filming its sixth season, but only shot a couple weeks of material. After the first allegation against Spacey surfaced, Netflix announced this would be the show’s final season (this decision by Netflix was actually made prior to the start of filming, we’re told, it just hadn’t been announced yet). So what to do?
- Just cancel it entirely. Few insiders expect House of Cards to continue at this point. This option ends the immediate problem in the fastest possible way (and when you’re a company with a $200 stock price, ending problems in the fastest way is always tempting).
- Resume production with Spacey and have him finish the season. While this might be a satisfying outcome for fans who only care about watching the show, nobody expects this to happen given the seriousness of the allegations — especially now that Cards crew members are saying they’ve been harassed too.
- Shoot the rest of the season without Spacey. Frank Underwood gets killed off camera. The rest of the season focuses on Claire (Robin Wright). She became president of the United States at the end of last season and has been a breakout fan favorite (with Wright being nominated for an Emmy five times for the role). There are plenty of avenues for drama there. And Underwood has so many enemies that making his death a mystery to be solved might work.
- Have Spacey briefly shoot something to finish his arc, then finish the rest of the season without him. Though having the actor back on the set at all would probably be a controversial move.
Of all these, No. 3 is arguably the best. Not only does finishing the season without Spacey give fans at least some creative resolution to the show’s storylines, but it prevents a cast and crew of nearly 300 people from losing their jobs. It would be a shame for the rest of the House of Cards team — who already allegedly had to endure Spacey’s behavior in silence for five years — to be further punished for his apparent actions.
Or as one famous fan noted:
UPDATE: After this story was posted, Variety wrote up a scoop noting that, indeed, producers are considering killing off Frank Underwood. So … it could happen!