With the exorbitant amount of content that Netflix is cranking out – reportedly upping their budget to $8 billion USD on original material in 2018 – its easy to forget that House of Cards was not only its first, but also its flagship show which established them as a major challenge to conventional purveyors of entertainment.
In the wake of the ever evolving case involving sexual allegations made against its star, Kevin Spacey – which resulted in him being fired from the show – Netflix is being forced to consider whether or not season 6 of the political drama will even happen after they shuttered production.
Prior to the scandal, producers of the show had indicated that the upcoming sixth season was going to be its last.
However, there have been rumors swirling that they want to remain in the House of Cards universe and explore other various backchannels that ran before, during or after the Underwoods reign of terror – something that HBO has committed to with Game of Thrones coming to an end.
Here are five concepts that we think could save House of Cards.
Stay the Course with Claire Underwood
This is the most logical choice – not simply because it utilizes a character we already feel so strongly about – but also because the events of season 5 suggest that Claire has already surpassed Frank and left him out to dry with her final, fourth-wall-breaking admission, “my turn.”
Producers/writers would of course have to explain Frank’s sudden departure, but once that is established, there is fertile ground to explore what the first female presidency would look like in a House of Cards framework.
As fellow actress, Jessica Chastain so aptly put it, “Can #RobinWright just be the lead of @HouseofCards now? We’re ready for it.”
Not only would the storytelling be just as dynamic – and there’s already enough evidence which suggests Frank Underwood’s declining health after a failed assassination attempt – but it also would send a strong message – in the wake of sexual assault claims against Spacey and Harvey Weinstein – that a show doesn’t simply die out when faced with the prospect of having to rely on a female protagonist.
“Claire Underwood is the best of both sexes,” Robin Wright said of her character.
The ‘Fargo’ method
If there’s anything that Fargo has taught us during its masterful three season run, it’s that it’s possible to continually reboot a show whilst never losing the spirit and tone which remains the hallmark of the Noah Hawley-created drama.
When it was first announced that Hawley would be adapting the Coen Brothers film for the small screen, many questioned what could be gained from a verbatim re-telling of a grim kidnapping in Minnesota.
Thus, Hawley merely used the world itself – inhabited by shady, gullible and sadistic individuals – as as a point of entry to explore what drives people to make certain choices that often have deadly consequences.
Although a similar format was less successful for the second season of True Detective, that seems to be more of a byproduct of a muddled storyline as opposed to venturing from the Louisiana bayou to the streets of Los Angeles and introducing new characters.
In the House of Cards world, treachery amongst politicians isn’t reserved to Super PAC handouts and unfulfilled promises. We understand that power comes with a price; and although the Underwoods may be the most Machiavellian, they’ve been forced to act that way because the people around them are also conniving.
Bring back Mahershala Ali
As Remy Danton in House of Cards – the suave, level-headed and morally conflicted power behind many of the Washington D.C. elite – Mahershala Ali became one of the biggest breakout stars on the series after earning an Oscar for Moonlight.
Rumors suggest that he is planning a return to television – and will perhaps be a major part of season 3 of True Detective.
Although Ali has given ample reasoning behind his departure from the series following season 4, we can’t help but pine to see where his character has ended up – or perhaps even, how he came to be involved with the Underwoods in the first place?
There has already been speculation that Netflix has been interested in a spin-off series following chief of staff, Doug Stamper. But from where we sit, Stamper feels like someone who has always followed the Underwood’s doctrine, while Remy Danton actually broke away and has moved on with his life.
Simply put, Danton has enough emotional baggage and backstory to forge a completely new series.
All of the pieces are in place to focus on the men and women who will ultimately put the pieces together and uncover everything that Frank and Claire Underwood did to reach the White House.
Journalist, Tom Hammerschmidt, already has done much of the heavy lifting; uncovering Frank’s plan to impeach Garrett Walker (with corroboration From Remy Danton and Jackie Sharp) which led to much of the maneuvering during season 5.
Like with a physical “house of cards,” part of the joy is not only constructing it, but also knocking it down.
In Hammerschmidt, we have a character who is not only up to the task as a journalist, but also personally invested given his connections to editorial collateral damage, Zoe Barnes and Lucas Goodwin.
When asked about what he wanted out of a sixth season, actor Boris McIver commented, “I hope that I get to bring the Underwoods to justice. Even if they are ultimately going to get pardoned anyway, which happens to most presidents. Even if it came down to them being publicly accused for their crimes and arrested. With Stamper being under house arrest for what he is being accused of, that is crazy! It would be nice if I were able to make it happen.”
- Featured/Main Image: Netflix