The reign of the middle-aged white man is over, at least in “House of Cards”

It’s her turn.
It’s her turn.
Image: David Giesbrecht/Netflix
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Netflix wants you to know that Kevin Spacey’s House of Cards character is dead. Unquestionably, extremely deceased.

Spacey’s deadness is the basis of Netflix’s marketing campaign for the sixth and final season of the political thriller series. At the end of the previous season, Spacey’s character, Frank Underwood, was still alive, but had just ceded the US presidency to his wife, Claire Underwood, played by Robin Wright. After the season aired, Spacey was accused of sexual harassment or assault by several men, and Netflix fired him. A teaser for the new season released this month showed Claire performing a boastful soliloquy at Frank’s grave (video), leaving no doubt as to the fate of the character.

But just in case that wasn’t clear enough, the latest trailer (released today) doubles and triples down on Frank’s death, almost as if Netflix is trolling the actor it employed for five years. Claire is heard saying things like:

  • “I lost my husband.”
  • “My husband is dead.”
  • “Whatever Francis told you the last five years, don’t believe a word of it.” (Followed by a wry glance at the camera.)
  • “This is my house.”
  • “I’m not going to be told what to do anymore.”

The most glaring line, however, is Claire saying this: “The reign of the middle-aged white man is over,” which can be interpreted both literally (Frank is super dead and his reign as president is over) and as a wink to the audience, referring to Spacey’s firing:

If the middle-aged white man’s reign is not quite over, Kevin Spacey’s probably is. After Netflix fired him from House of Cards (the streaming service also canceled production on a Gore Vidal film starring the actor), Spacey appeared in a movie he filmed prior to the allegations—Billionaire Boys Club, which made an unfathomable $126 on opening day on its way to becoming a total box-office bomb.

Since the October 2017 allegations against Spacey, Wright has been forced to answer questions about her former co-star. She repeatedly said that they were simply co-workers, not friends, who rarely socialized outside of work on the Netflix series. Earlier this month, she did say that she believes generally in second chances and that “every human being has the ability to reform.”

Whether Spacey gets an opportunity to work as an actor again remains to be seen. An opportunity he won’t receive, however, is a return to House of Cards, in which his character is six feet under while his wife is just beginning her rule.