James Gibson: We definitely considered it. — kiran (@banditqueen_) February 28, 2015 Frank Underwood’s death. What was the decision behind erasing him in that way? Pugliese: We made an active choice to leave the ending where it is so that anything after plays out in a way where it’s up for the audience to decide or figure out for themselves what happened. im only on episode 4 and frank underwood has already pissed on his fathers grave and spit on jesus. Directed by Carl Franklin. With Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Sakina Jaffrey. In the era of the reboot craze, is keeping Claire alive more appealing? Frank Underwood's Cause Of Death On 'House Of Cards' Just Keeps Getting More Complicated . And that may be something that potentially reveals Doug to himself that’s very hard for him to handle. It’s much more complicated. Visually and cinematically, finally using that and filling the Oval Office with that red was a break. Jackie faces obstacles as she plans to run for new whip. AdChoices THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER is a registered trademark of The Hollywood Reporter, LLC. Are any of those projects moving forward and if they do, would you want to be involved? After three seasons of swaying, manipulating, and coercing, I can confidently say that those words aren't even a fair way to describe his character. Desperate to avenge the death of his lover Zoe Barnes, and expose Francis Underwood as the murderer we know he is, Goodwin is willing to put both his job and life on the line. Kevin Spacey's character is dead. Sometimes there’s a pressure or want for Claire’s character to be representative somehow of a female president or some aspect of a representative beyond the rules of the show. ... Death Francis Underwood in House of Cards, Season 1 Episode 12. She is having an imprint to the same degree and making her own mark. He also speaks about his father's cowardice, weak personality and drunken behavior. Though Frank isn’t in the newest episodes, and though Claire is a … James Gibson: Season three started with Frank at his father’s grave and peeing on it. But the Gaffney burial is also a huge clue to Doug, because he knows that Claire is not honoring Francis’ wishes in the least. It’s more complicated for Claire. Francis Joseph “Frank” Underwood was an American politician who served as the 46th President of the United States from 2014 to his resignation in 2017, when he became the third president to resign from office. He couldn’t allow him to kill Claire because it would further tarnish his reputation, he "couldn’t let him destroy everything we’d built", and in the end did use his meds to kill him. It complicates things for her in a way that made it exciting. And what became an amazing opportunity for us in that last episode was the fact that the color red is never used on our show. There was a scene released ahead of the season's launch that showed Claire visiting Frank's grave in Gaffney, and giving a speech about how she will have a burial much more fit for a president. Small Things Francis Underwood in House of Cards, Season 5 Episode 5. Frank Pugliese: We knew we wanted the ending to be cathartic and for it to be some sort of release; the complicated reveal of many aspects of Claire’s character. How literal that got was part of the discovery. However, all of the news surrounding his off-camera misconduct forced his exit from the show and Frank Underwood was killed off-camera. In addition to cutting that scene, Frank’s — and by extension, Spacey's — likeness is gone from the season. He threatens Claire with a letter opener, superficially cutting her and sending blood down her neck. James Gibson: I agree. Her equivalent from the original series is Mattie Storin. The character of Francis is more so haunting the show and casting a shadow over it, and trying to insist on a place within it. DashDividers_1_500x100_2 Doug’s story about the evening of Frank’s murder also clarifies a few things. What was Claire conveying with her final look to the camera? All the latest gaming news, game reviews and trailers. In the end, Claire is, to some degree, freeing Doug Stamper and looking at us in a full-circle way. In what other ways does this series finale bring House of Cards full-circle? Thirty-seven minutes into the first episode, she confronts Frank in the station, and hints that she suspects he was involved in Peter Russo's murder. It wasn't until the final face-off between the two people closest to the former President Underwood that Doug confessed to Claire (who relinquished her Underwood name) that he killed Frank to protect "the legacy from the man." But, we now know that account is likely totally true — and what led to Frank’s death. James Gibson: In a funny sense, that was the most threatening thing to her and the thing she feared most, because his voice was a powerful and destructive force. I think he’d get smaller. Raised in impoverished circ… James Gibson: There’s a full-circle element to all of this. 1. WARNING: Major spoilers for House of Cards season 6. We really did explore every possibility, but just in terms of Claire’s psychology — and actually Doug Stamper’s as well — until that was what became clear as the right thing to do. The mystery surrounding Frank's death, however, cast an intended shadow over the entire season. One of the themes hanging over this season, as we talked about, is complicity and I think it raises questions on every side about this journey that we’ve been on for six seasons. The previous episode posited that the Underwood administration was on its last legs, or rather, that Frank’s time as leader was done. In fact, Cashew may be the only totally innocent character on the show. Terms of Use | What were her motivations in that moment as to why she had to kill him? She poisoned him (h/t Jane), and as the drugs set in, she had sex with him one last time so he could die while he was still inside her (!). But that’s left up to the audience and their imagination. As Doug was dying in her arms, Claire said, "There. That Doug Stamper would murder Frank and that Claire Hale would end up killing Doug? In the final season of Netflix Inc's "House of Cards," Frank Underwood is physically gone, having died unexpectedly in his sleep. At what point in the process of plotting and restructuring the season after Kevin Spacey's exit did you decide that this is how the show would end? The confession explains the story Claire had crafted: after finding Frank dead, Claire told the public Frank died by her side in bed from an accidental overdose; she told the audience, however, that he was murdered. Pugliese: There was a rigor that [creator] Beau Willimon and David Fincher put in place with the show as far as storytelling and even visually. To the very end, Doug did everything he could, no matter the cost, to protect and serve Francis Underwood. Whatever the audience imagines after is all part of the end of the show. They were equal — she even said that. Frank is announced as Vice President. Claire plays the grieving widow, with shots of her at his funeral, looking into his casket (his face is, of course, never seen) but privately she suggests foul play, and that her husband was quite possibly poisoned. And there are questions. Gibson: There was nothing calculated about that. And it was an opportunity found from the rules of this show from the previous six years. © 2021 The Hollywood Reporter, LLC. Cashew may be just a guinea pig, but he doesn’t deserve to be crushed underfoot. It seemed right for Claire and for the Claire-Francis story. Quite literally in the first episode of this season, Claire is attempting to declare independence on the Fourth of July. If you’re too human as you pursue power, you usually pay a price on our show. Exactly how that was going to happen and if somebody was going to die, or pay the price, for all that, we didn’t know until we got close to the ending. Frank Underwood’s fate cast a shadow over the entire season and wasn't resolved until the final scene. I imagine she’ll start with her list of enemies sitting on the Resolute Desk. James Gibson: One of the great discoveries of the season for us with the character and through Robin’s performance as well is that, here’s Claire essentially weaponizing motherhood in a rather ruthless way. The character had the need to believe everything she was saying and as much as she was convincing us, she was convincing herself and really believing that she could control this. Because I think the second you start thinking about possible stories that would spin out of it, it dilutes the integrity. There’s an isolation that comes with that. Kevin Spacey's image is mostly wiped from "House of Cards" in the final season, which turns Frank Underwood's death into a major mystery and shocking conclusion. When she — to borrow Robin [Wright’s] words — fucked Tom Yates to death, she went to Francis' level. As she says early in the season: “, Various suspects are brought in along the way, from suggestions Claire herself did it to her new rivals Bill and Annette Shepherd (, As Claire Underwood, who by this stage is pregnant (the child may be Frank’s, it may be Tom Yates' - Claire herself doesn’t seem sure), and, Doug dies, Francis’ reputation is in tatters, and Claire remains in the White House, still pregnant, as the, Cobra Kai Season 4’s Best Possible Cameo Isn’t From Karate Kid, How Frank Underwood Died In House of Cards Season 6, How Kevin Spacey's Firing Changed House of Cards' Final Season, House of Cards' Ending Was BETTER Without Kevin Spacey, House of Cards Season 6's Ending Explained, WandaVision's Beekeeper Explained (Why Scarlet Witch Hides His Identity), WandaVision: Scarlet Witch's Pregnancy (& Young Avengers Setup) Explained, Stranger Things 4 Theory: The Upside Down Can Save Hopper From Russia, WandaVision Introduces One Of Eternals' Most Important Powers, Korra Trends As Fans Defend The Avatar’s Character, The Mandalorian May Remove His Helmet More In Season 3 Teases Pedro Pascal, The Flash Season 7 Premiere Delayed To March, Star Wars: Andor Season 1 Doesn't Include K-2SO, Says Alan Tudyk, WandaVision Shows MCU’s Post-Endgame Future Better Than Far From Home, Malcolm in the Middle Almost Prevented Cranston Starring In Breaking Bad, The Office: How Old Is Creed At The Beginning & End Of The Show, Seth Rogen Still Wants You To Watch Freaks & Geeks 22 Years Later, The Boys' Herogasm Means Season 3 Can Finally Mock Avengers: Endgame, WandaVision's Sitcom Parodies Get More Cynical In Later Episodes, WandaVision: Glamor And Illusion Marvel Easter Egg Explained, Disenchantment: The Biggest Unanswered Questions After Season 3's Ending, Where The Sopranos Was Filmed: Main Locations. Francis Joseph Underwood is a fictional character and the protagonist of the American adaptation of House of Cards, portrayed by Kevin Spacey.He is depicted as a ruthless politician who rises from House Majority Whip to President of the United States through treachery, deception and murder. | Do Not Sell My Personal Information Now that she’s done with this last piece, will she really move on? She’s fulfilling his fate that he has helped author. During the final showdown in the Oval Office, Doug wants Claire — who is pregnant with Frank's unborn child — to admit that Frank made her who she is, and she refuses. After three seasons of swaying, manipulating, and coercing, I can confidently say that those words aren't even a fair way to describe his character. And sort of expressing the consequences that come for all the stories that have been in place for the year and maybe for a few years before as well. James Gibson: The audience, especially in the world of this show because of its vocabulary from the get-go, are really active participants. Doug, for his part, doesn’t even try to resist, but seems accepting of his fate, with Claire saying "There, no more pain.". So it’s a feeling that she’s both free and there’s a relief, but ultimately alone because of it. James Gibson: And Claire exerting herself and taking a stand in that final way. Directed by Robin Wright. Essentially, the approach — and this is the approach to writing the show since coming on for season three — was to let the story that we were telling tell itself as we told it. He assumed office after the resignation of Garrett Walker on October 30, 2014. Doug became the next character to break the fourth wall and speak to the audience in the final two episodes. That quote (borrowed from Frank in the House of Cards pilot) was also how Claire opened this season. In this world, word means nothing. All rights reserved. James Gibson: And the characters. James Gibson: If anyone could do it, she could. Pugliese: We made a decision that the most powerful place Francis Underwood could live at this point is in the imagination of the viewer. Frank Underwood may be dead and buried, but his spectral presence lives on. A lot of stories are being written or re-written to have #MeToo-inspired endings. When it comes to sealing her fate, how did you approach that predicament of giving her the ending she deserves? 5:45am PT Does this mean she was telling the truth in her direct addresses? Knows all the most influential terrorists. Thirty-seven minutes into the first episode, she confronts Frank in the station, and hints that she … It also plays off an earlier season. It seemed like the showdown was the inevitable showdown. Below, in a chat with THR, the executive producers unpack the motivations behind the main characters in the final season — from Doug's fourth-wall break to Claire "weaponizing motherhood" — and explain why Frank's (and by extension, Spacey's) likeness was erased entirely from the final eight-episode story. Frank's father was a peach farmer in Gaffney, South Carolina, who died of a heart attack at the age of 43. We sort of played with his voice and his direct address. James Gibson: But she’s also setting Doug free in a way. Related: House of Cards' Ending Was BETTER Without Kevin Spacey. How did that signify a change for his final arc? Frank Underwood pushed her in front of a moving train at the fictional Cathedral Heights metro station and now she is dead! The final season of House Of Cards drops hints about how Frank Underwood died between Season 5 and Season 6, and it seems that the official narrative is that Frank simply died in … Comment . Pugliese: To your point about the sometimes contradictory feelings of that ending, is that Claire has been negotiating the whole season around who is going to partner with her. Also, during the course of working on the season, you start to realize that the two characters who had the most invested in each other, either by potentially being allies or actually by being the existential threat to the other, were Doug and Claire now that Francis was off the screen. But this partnership [between Claire and Frank] was no longer tenable and I think that got exposed and became clear by the end of season five. Directing all her charm, sexuality, youthful energy, and social skills towards securing journalistic sources in the D.C. political establishment, she had been hopi… Didn ’ t think ever a plan sealing her fate, how did signify. — it ’ s where he ’ s something to that after an assassination attempt on his fathers grave spit! 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