Olivia Colman says she's begged showrunner Peter Morgan to let her come back to the show in some way.

Such is the way of the opulent Netflix drama, which chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II from the 1940s to modern times, and swaps out its cast every few seasons to accommodate the changes in age of its principal characters. During a Q&A following the virtual premiere of season 4 on Thursday, the outgoing cast gushed about their work on the new season and shared some words of wisdom for the actors taking their place.

Emma Corrin, who originates the role of Princess Diana in the new season but is set to be replaced by Elizabeth Debicki in season 5, said, "I think it's your portrayal, it's not meant to be mimicry on any level… It should be your own interpretation, and if that changes, it means it changes."

For his part, Tobias Menzies, who plays Prince Philip and is passing the torch to Jonathan Pryce, doesn't think he should be giving any pointers. "It's a bit rich if I give Oscar-nominated Jonathan Pryce any tips on trying to [play Philip]," he said.

Season 4 covers the time period between 1977 and 1990, and introduces both Lady Diana Spencer and new Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Gillian Anderson, who joins as the latter, and Olivia Colman, who has played the Queen since season 3, both said the new cast is "so lucky."

The Crown
Credit: Mark Mainz/Netflix

Of the new season, showrunner Peter Morgan says it's the "first of the modern series" and "feels more current and vivid and alive." Colman agreed, saying, "I think we all loved it."

Helena Bonham Carter, who tackled the role of Princess Margaret for seasons 3 and 4, said it was nice this time around to "actually play our age." And, the star says this time, the events unfolding on screen are a lot more familiar to her. "This was a lot more in my memory than other seasons," she said. "I was gobsmacked [to see Corrin play Princess Diana] because I am playing her aunt-to-be and in my real life, she was older than me, and [in the show] she is so young and innocent and such a disaster waiting to happen."

Now that the time has come for her to hand over the reins (or is it reign?), Colman doesn't want to leave the show at all. During the premiere, the Oscar winner pleaded with Morgan to let her come back in some way. "Maybe there'd be some kind of dream sequence," she begged, before saying how much she would love to share the screen with her successor, Imelda Staunton. Morgan agreed that would be an intriguing idea, saying, "I don't want to say anything yet, but I'm toying with a couple of ideas… I'll see what I can do."

All 10 episodes of The Crown season 4 drop on Netflix this Sunday.

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