Casting News: 'The Crown' May Have Found Its New Prince Philip

We've loved the first two seasons of The Crown so we were delighted to learn that another two are in the works — but with the leads recast to reflect the royal characters' advancing age.

We already know Olivia Colman is lined up to replace Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II, and now it's emerged that Netflix has an actor in mind to take over for the baby-faced Matt Smith as Prince Philip, who'll be around 50 in the third season.

Late last year, Smith let slip that he may have an inkling as to who his "incredibly handsome" replacement will be. Naturally, we were on tenterhooks. Some had predicted David Tennant, and while it would be lovely to see this Doctor Who regeneration happen (in reverse), it seemed a little... obvious. We were desperate to know more and, finally, we do.

Now, multiple media outlets, including Deadline and Hollywood Reporter, are reporting that Paul Bettany is in talks to become the next Duke of Edinburgh.

You may know Bettany from earlier roles like the 2004 romantic comedy Wimbledon, which saw him star opposite Kirsten Dunst. He also played Lord Melbourne in 2009's Young Victoria, so he does have some experience playing an aristocrat.

And, of course, fans are responding to the news, like with this GIF of a woman bursting into tears:

The comment below calls into question the age difference between actor and subject, but Bettany is actually 46, so it's not a huge stretch:

Here's a look at Queen Elizabeth II, 46, and Prince Philip, 51, in 1972, celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary:

[caption id="attachment_419638" align="alignnone" width="811"] (Photo: Getty Images)[/caption]

And it's not just the royal couple whose roles have been reassigned. Two weeks ago news broke that Helena Bonham Carter has been cast as the Queen's sister Prince Margaret, replacing Vanessa Kirby.

SO many changes. If the shake up continues, we'll keep you posted.

And, if you now have Bettany on the brain, you can also look for him in 2018's Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Is Paul Bettany going to be able to fill Matt Smith's shoes?