House of Cards season 6: original plot was always about Claire

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House of Cards showrunners Melissa James Gibson and Frank Pugliese have been talking about the original outline for the show’s last season – and it’s not that much different from the final result…

As we saw in season 5, Claire Underwood’s (Robin Wright) ascent to the Oval Office was alway in motion, and the focus would have shifted from Kevin Spacey’s Frank to her anyway. Spacey, of course, was fired after sexual assault allegations from his past emerged.

Claire’s climactic addressing of the camera – the fourth wall breaking Frank has used since the start – saw the narration start to change. “That immediately created something of a threat for the character of Francis, who had always owned that device,” Gibson said to IndieWire. “So what was set in motion was a battle for the narrative.”

“Where we wanted to go for season 6 — no matter what happened, no matter what the circumstances, we knew we had that,” Pugliese added.

“The other thing that we had in play, that we had planned out in season 5, was that season 6 would be about who owns the White House. Essentially at the end of season 5 there’s a promise Francis makes, that he’s going to own the White House by owning Claire.

“[In] season 6 we knew that all these forces were trying to control her and own her. That seemed like something we wanted to explore and dramatise. That was always something we wanted as well.”

Though Frank has officially been killed off House of Cards won’t forget about its original narrator. “It seems a little disingenuous to erase him,” Pugliese said, saying how Frank was “such a big part of the first five seasons”.

“I think it’s even disingenuous for Claire to try to erase him,” he continued. “She may try to close the door on him and move past him because that was where the story was going anyway, but that can’t be easy. If that had been easy, I think it would have sold out the first five years, somehow.”

House of Cards season 6 premieres on Friday.