Kevin Spacey's sexual misconduct has finally gone public, thanks to actor Anthony Rapp, who alleges Spacey assaulted him when the Stark Trek: Discovery actor was just 14. Since then, Netflix and everyone working on House of Cards had done the good thing and cut ties with the sexual assaulter. But what does this mean for the show, in which for five successful seasons Spacey has played a central role?
Five seasons in, the House of Cards storyline had shown no signs of stopping: the series had already begun filming the sixth season when Rapp's allegations were announced. Spacey's character, Frank Underwood, was the one around which most of the entire show centered; he was the American president (though not anymore, as of the season five finale), he was the man that built the titular House of Cards, he was the one that delivered monologues to camera and broke all the fourth walls. So what does this villain's departure mean for Netflix's flagship of original content, and how can the show possibly go on?
It turns out there are a lot of ways House of Cards could write out Kevin Spacey. Fans across the Internet have come together to theorize about the future of the show. And here's the consensus: a House of Cards without Kevin Spacey, is not about to come tumbling down.
After Claire turns to the camera and delivers that exhilarating line, "My turn" at the end of Season 5, you've got to start wondering if this is foreshadowing for the entirety of Season 6 being all about Claire's term as America's first female president. House of Cards is already an intriguing show; just imagine how much more politically intriguing it could become if it elected a female president before America did. Even before the Spacey debacle, most fans thought Claire was a far more interesting character than Frank anyway. As it turns out, Netflix chief Ted Sarandos thinks so too, as he recently confirmed that Season 6 will be all about Claire. Now it's just speculation as to how she's going to conveniently ditch her husband without showing him at all.
One Redditor, S_fan, thinks that Claire should kill Frank much in the same way that Frank killed a dog in the very first episode of House of Cards:
"In the opening scene of the pilot a dog gets hit by a car in front of Frank's house and is suffering and unlikely to survive. Frank comes out and says something to the effect of 'something you need to put a maimed poor animal out of its misery' and ends the dogs suffering. Technically Frank's political career and even freedom is in as bad of shape as that dog life was. Maybe Claire decides to 'put him down'."
It makes a certain kind of sense and would serve as a nice bookend to Frank's tenure on the show.
One Redditor pointed out that the show may have already been foreshadowing Frank's death long before Spacey's sexual misconduct came to light, referring to the poor health of Frank's liver, following him getting shot. Redditor kakallak pointed out:
"They already floated it in the last season. Frank Underwood is relying on number of medications pursuant to his liver replacement after being shot. Easy fix really, quite convenient."
Makes sense, actually.
Spacey doesn't necessarily need to be on the scene for the house of cards he's built up to come crashing down. Could the show shift its focus from the Underwood presidency to the journalists uncovering the corruption within that could cause the whole thing to fall in on itself? Tom Hammerschmidt, one of the journalists in the show, has done a lot of deep diving into Frank's scheme to impeach former president Garrett Walker, so who's to say he won't publish an article that lands Frank in prison?
The actor behind Hammerschmidt's character also thinks this might be the case. Boris McIver has said that he wants to bring Frank down in Season 6:
"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."
Who's to say that the show will even address Frank's death in depth? One Reddit user certainly thinks this will be the case. As boxjellyblues speculates:
"Does it have to be justified? Just cold-open to Frank Underwood's casket draped in a flag and move on. This is a weird situation - everybody will know the real reason for Spacey not being in the show, so any extensive explanations are just going to come across as pointless filler."
This could definitely be the easiest, cleanest and most efficient way for the show to carry on without focusing on Spacey's sexual assault-related absence.