Prince Harry And Meghan Markle's Netflix Project Doesn't Look Like What We Thought It Would

Back in September 2020, newly freed royal couple Meghan Markle and Prince Harry signed a deal with Netflix reputedly worth a whopping $100 million. 

As Us Weekly reported at the time, the multi-year agreement included a wide variety of original content, from documentaries to TV series and even children's shows, all in association with the couple's own brand, Archewell Productions. In a statement, Meghan and Harry enthused, "Our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope."

Ever since they defected from the monarchy, the celebrity couple has endeavored to make a name for themselves in Hollywood while also remaining true to their strong public service roots. As an insider confirmed, "Harry's always had a creative streak [and] Meghan's inspired him to take it to the next level." However, just under two years after they initially signed their deal, nothing much has surfaced from the Sussexes. 

Furthermore, Deadline confirmed in May that Meghan's passion project had been axed. In the wake of plummeting subscriber numbers and subsequent cost-cutting measures at Netflix, the animated series "Pearl" is no longer in production. 

Thankfully, Harry's upcoming documentary series about the Invictus Games, "Heart of Invictus," is still on the way. And, now, the former royals are looking inward for their next Netflix project. 

The Sussexes are getting their own Kardashian-style reality show

An industry source believes Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are ignorant in their Netflix proceedings, arguing that they don't know what they're doing when it comes to pitching projects and, crucially, getting them made. 

Although it seemed obvious that the Sussexes would make themselves the focus of a show, there was no reason to believe they'd actually go down that route unless it was absolutely necessary. That time has apparently come, with Page Six confirming there's an "at-home with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex-style" docuseries on the way.

Netflix wants it by the end of the year to coincide with the release of Harry's tell-all memoir, but Meghan and Harry would rather hold off until 2023, so we'll have to wait and see when it surfaces. But, suffice it to say, the show is a major coup for the streaming giant. 

Cameras have been following the couple for "Heart of Invictus," but there's a second crew covering their home life in California as well as a recent trip to New York. "I think it's fair to say that Netflix is getting its pound of flesh," surmised a Hollywood source.

Cameras won't be following Meghan and Harry during their upcoming visit to the United Kingdom for the queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations, however. The Irish Sun confirmed that the Netflix crew has been banned from entering Buckingham Palace, and the Sussexes won't be on the balcony with the queen anyway, per The Guardian.

Netflix reportedly needs Meghan and Harry to step up their game

The Sussex docuseries is arguably coming at just the right time since Netflix is reportedly annoyed with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's behavior

The streaming giant wasn't impressed when the duke gave an exclusive interview to a rival network about his relationship with the queen, particularly since their cameras were following him at the time, per the Daily Mail. As a source explained, "Netflix would have loved the first comments about the visit to the Queen for the documentary." 

There's also concern that the celebrity couple won't be able to come up with anything good enough to justify their multimillion-dollar contract with the streaming giant. 

An industry insider revealed, "Harry and Meghan's slate of projects could be in jeopardy as they have announced plans to make shows that are educational and inspiring, rather than sexy and sensational." They added, "The pressure will be on them to come up with a hit."

A Netflix spokesman wouldn't comment on the particulars, simply confirming that they're all still working together and that Meghan and Harry remain valued associates. 

As royal expert Tom Bower argued (via the Daily Mail), the Sussexes might soon be forced to produce royal-themed content. "The celebrity Duchess has shown limited talent for original entertainment," he said. "Her children's book 'On the Bench' flopped and her voiceover for a Disney film was mocked." 

Meghan Markle hasn't give up on her axed Netflix passion project, either

It's worth noting that, although Meghan Markle's passion project was recently canceled by Netflix, the duchess is taking it on the chin and venturing onward to get "Pearl" made elsewhere. 

The Irish Sun reports that, according to insiders, Meghan and Prince Harry are shopping "Pearl" around with other networks and streaming services, including Apple and Amazon, to find a home for it. Further, the couple, alongside executive producer David Furnish, is willing to take another look at the concept to "see what could be tweaked," if necessary.

A source noted, "There was a huge feeling of excitement about 'Pearl' and a hope that its journey is not over. They are not giving up on this project because Netflix said no." Furnish, who is married to Elton John, has some high-profile connections in the industry, so it's believed he'll look to them to get the project made. 

Industry sources informed The Sun that the Sussexes shouldn't have assumed they could just get anything made with Netflix in the first place. "Executives feel that in some aspects Harry and Meghan appeared to be naïve about how their deal would work," an insider noted. "People forget that each project faces vetting and the business has the right to veto projects, delete scenes, and oversee editorial direction." 

Netflix's bottom line comes first. Moreover, the source pointed out, "The deal may be millions on paper, but they are absolutely not allowed to make whatever they want."