tv & movies

House of Cards writing Kevin Spacey's character out was "significant pivot" for the show

House of Cards has already teased what the series will look like following Kevin Spacey’s departure, and it’s safe to say things don’t end well for Frank Underwood.

The actor was written out of the final season of the hit Netflix show amid allegations of sexual misconduct against him last year and a recent teaser revealed his character’s fate, as it confirmed that he’d been killed off.

It’s a decision that showrunners Frank Pugliese and Melissa James Gibson have described as a “significant pivot” from the original season 6 plans, which had to undergo extreme rewrites after the allegations against Spacey came to light and he was fired from the series.

“Look, it was a significant pivot, obviously. We had to rethink to a profound degree,” Gibson told Entertainment Weekly of the rewrites. “However, I would say thematically and what it felt like the show needed to grapple with, at the end of the day didn’t change so much. It was just the elements changed.”

Pugliese added: “We had an idea how to finish this story, and maybe the specifics of it had to change, but it would be disingenuous to change that so we had to complete it where it felt true to the story we were telling.”

That story now centres on Robin Wright’s character Claire Underwood, who ended season 5 as the new President of the United States after her husband Frank resigned.

By the end of the most recent season the show’s storyline looked set to shift its focus more towards Claire anyway, and the showrunners added that, even though the show came very close to being cancelled, it seemed “impossible” not to tell her story.

“That probably was a thought,” Pugliese replied when asked is the series should have just ended.

“The truth is, there was a story that was initiated — a story about a marriage and what was happening to the partnership. Even where season 5 ended, with Claire saying, ‘My turn’, it seemed impossible not to tell her story.

“So whatever the conditions, however it broke, we had to tell her story.”

Gibson also added that one of their “driving narrative forces” for season 6 has been about who owns the White House.

“It also became a season of reckoning for Claire to face herself in a way that maybe she’s never had to, to this degree,” she continued. “A reckoning with her own ambition and herself and the definition of power.”

House of Cards returns to Netflix on Friday, November 2.

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