Who is The Crown's Tobias Menzies? Here's Where You May Have Seen The Actor Before.
This weekend, The Crown’s third season launched on Netflix, and audiences were finally able to see Oscar-winner Olivia Colman take over the lead role of Queen Elizabeth II from Emmy-winner Claire Foy. Another of the most prominent new players is Tobias Menzies, who replaces Matt Smith in the role of Prince Philip.
Though less widely known than Colman or Helena Bonham Carter (who joins the show as Princess Margaret this season), Menzies has a long resume packed with major projects, and it’s pretty likely that TV fans will recognize him from at least one previous role. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know.
His most prominent previous role was in Outlander.
Though The Crown will undoubtedly take him to a new level of fame, Menzies is already an A-lister in the hearts of Outlander’s legion of fans. Menzies stars in the steamy fantasy drama in the dual role of Frank Randall (the 20th-century professor to whom series protagonist Claire is married) and Black Jack Randall, the cruel 17th-century Englishman Claire encounters after she is transported back in time.
In a recent New York Times profile, Menzies’ Outlander co-star Caitriona Balfe reflected on what she’d learned from working with him. “The questions he would ask, how much he would push about working the text, that was invaluable for me to see,” she explained. “It taught me, this is what you can ask when you are an actor who really thinks about where the meat of the scene is, what is superfluous and what isn’t.”
He was also a minor but memorable player in Game of Thrones.
Remember Edmure Tully? If you’re a diehard Thrones fan then of course you do, but even casual viewers are unlikely to forget Menzies’ face, thanks to his indelible return in the show’s divisive finale this year. Edmure is one of the few characters who survives all the way to the end of GoT, and is present at the King’s Landing gathering where everybody tries to decide who, at long last, gets the Iron Throne. Edmure, despite having done absolutely nothing of significance for two full seasons, starts trying to make a case for why it should be him—until Sophie Turner’s Sansa Stark cuts him off with the now-immortal line, “Uncle, please sit.”
And thus, a meme was born. Prior to this moment, Menzies hadn’t appeared in the show since season six, and appeared in only a handful of episodes overall, but he really made his mark in the finale.
He was in a James Bond movie.
Menzies is a classic example of a “That Guy” character actor—you know you’ve seen him before, but you can’t necessarily put a name to the face. One such appearance was in Casino Royale, the 2006 James Bond movie that launched Daniel Craig’s gritty, emotional new take on 007. He played Villiers, the green young assistant to Judi Dench’s M.
“The big surprise of the new series of The Crown is that Olivia Colman isn’t the best performer in it, The Times’ critic Carol Midgley wrote. “Tobias Menzies as Prince Philip is superb—in voice, mannerisms and plausibility, chuntering about being served venison twice in a week and rolling his eyes at the melodramas of Princess Margaret… Yet Menzies’s Philip is also complex and subtle, experiencing at one point a sort of midlife crisis triggered by the 1969 moon landing, in which he laments his lack of life purpose.”
All in all, it seems safe to say that The Crown remains in good hands with its new cast—not that we ever had any doubt.