A Remy Danton 'House of Cards' spinoff series?
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Opinion , Television

A Remy Danton 'House of Cards' spinoff series?

Following the recent announcement of potential House of Cards spin-off series, in light of Netflix cutting ties with series' star Kevin Spacey (after multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault), speculation abounds about what specific characters might center their own individual series. Reading a number of write-ups on other websites, I have yet to see any mention of a Remy Danton-focused spin-off, as portrayed by Mahershala Ali, the former Chief of Staff for President Frank Underwood (Spacey).

Fans of the series will know that Danton, whose relationship with the Underwoods spanned many years, worked for Frank Underwood on Capitol Hill while he served as House Majority Whip. Also later a partner at the lobbyist firm of Glendon Hill where his main responsibility was as a Washington lobbyist for SanCorp, a natural gas company, Danton previously worked as Underwood's Press Secretary for eight years.

It's somewhat understandable why it might be hard to make a case for the character being at the center of his own spin-off series - especially when compared to other key characters - given that he probably could've been given more to do, although he wasn't one of the series stars (he was billed as a guest actor, not even a series regular); but when he was on screen, his presence was most certainly felt, and he did play key roles in some of the series' significant plots.

One of Underwood's most loyal deputies, Danton would later walk across the aisle, switching allegiances to work for Frank’s adversary Raymond Tusk. He also began an on-again, off-again relationship with minority whip Jackie Sharp (Molly Parker), who would eventually get married (not to Danton), only to leave her husband to be with Remy at the end of the series' 4th season.

An effective strategist who knew how to mostly ensure that his rear end was covered, Danton even managed to convince Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) to back-stab husband Frank via a quid pro quo agreement that involved South Sudanese customs and the death of a Congressional bill.

Serious about his work, the charismatic Remy was equally a shameless flirt, which he readily admitted to being. The multi-lingual, always dapper Danton was also one of the series' characters who wasn't entirely morally compromised in some way. He seemed to always know what game was being played in any given situation as well as what the rules were, and he was lucky enough to be one of a handful of characters who had dirt on the Underwoods - enough to harm them - while somehow avoiding getting killed (unlike others), as he (after becoming disillusioned with the business of politics) and Jackie Sharp quite literally drove off together into the sunset, at the end of the 4th season, never to be seen or heard from again. He played each game in which he was a player, well.

Another reason why there might not be much interest in a Remy Danton spin-off series is that, as I implied in the previous paragraph, the character did not return for the 5th (and most recent) season. While the role gave Ali his first Emmy nomination (Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, 2013), the now Oscar-winning actor said (in an interview with Deadline in the summer of 2016) that Danton's storyline had “run its course”, and that the decision on his exit from the series was a mutual one, between himself and the show’s producers.

"There wasn’t really anything new to offer the show, and there’s a lot of people on that show," Ali said. "It’s not fair for me to say, 'Hey, I want to do more,' because that might not work for the show. It’s a narrative that’s bigger than you."

Thus explains his absence from season 5, for those who may have wondered why, and weren't aware.

Ali also said that he wanted to "do more" with his acting career, which he did advance, with roles in critically acclaimed films like Hidden Figures and of course Moonlight, a performance for which he won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar this year.

“Remy wins in the end," the actor added. “He gets the girl, and he’s wanted to move out of politics for some time now; so as much as it was a trial by fire, or somewhat of a crucible, it’s one where he leaves on his terms, to some degree.”


So maybe a Remy Danton series is unlikely - at least one starring Mahershala Ali, who's now an in-demand actor booking the lead role in the currently in development 3rd season of HBO's True Detective, among other parts he's signed up for since Oscar night. And therefore one can maybe argue that a Remy Danton series without Ali starring, is one that simply shouldn't happen, given that it was his role for 4 seasons on House of Cards. Ali is Danton; Danton is Ali; and we won't have it any other way. The character enjoyed a decent run, and continue to live on in repeat viewings of the series' first 4 seasons.

In closing, Ali, with unwitting foresight, shared the following in the same Deadline interview last year: "I’ve said this before: every show has a shelf life. House of Cards might work for seven or eight seasons, it might be done after six, I don’t know—but my character also has a shelf life. It was just time to close that storyline out while it still meant something to people."

Of course, in light of the allegations against star Kevin Spacey, Netflix has officially announced that House of Cards will end after season 6.

Ali will be next seen in Alita: Battle Angel – producer James Cameron’s next big-budget blockbuster, although Robert Rodriguez is directing - as well as Roxanne Roxanne, the Roxanne Shante biopic, and the aforementioned season 3 of True Detective.

What do you think about the possibility of a Remy Danton House of Cards spin-off series?