One of the big selling points of last year's remake of Murder on the Orient Express was the cast. A mix of veteran actors and new stars including Kenneth Branagh, Daisey Ridley, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench and Willem Dafoe all gave audiences plenty of familiar faces to follow in the murder mystery. The sequel to that film, an adaptation of Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile, will see Belgian detective Hercule Poirot solving an entirely new crime involving an entirely new set of characters, thus necessitating a new cast. That casting process has begun the first name attached is none other than Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot.
The Wonder Woman actress is the first name set for the cast of Death on the Nile, with Kenneth Branagh not yet officially signed on to reprise his role as Hercule Poirot. According to Deadline, Gal Gadot has joined the film in the role of Linnet Ridgeway Doyle, a rich heiress and socialite who does not believe in girl code since she marries Simon, her best friend's fiancé. Hercule Poirot encounters Linnet while on holiday on a luxurious Nile River cruise. As you might guess, just like Murder on the Orient Express, a murder occurs in this confined space, and master detective Hercule Poirot must put his vacation on hold to solve the crime from-- sorting through the passengers to see whom among them is the killer.
If Gal Gadot's casting is a harbinger of things to come, it seems that 20th Century Fox will again be looking to gather a big name cast for this Agatha Christie adaptation. It's hard to say if it was the cast, or the iconic franchise, but Murder on the Orient Express was actually one of the low-key successes at the box office last year. Despite never coming in higher than third place at the domestic box office, the Kenneth Branagh film still went on to earn $102.8 million domestically as part of a $352.8 million worldwide haul-- all on a production budget of around $55 million.
Death on the Nile could be just the beginning for Hercule Poirot and these Agatha Christie murder mysteries on the big screen. The man behind the big screen detective, Kenneth Branagh, has expressed interest in Death on the Nile and its sequels building towards a cinematic universe. And with Agatha Christie's 33 novels and 50+ short stories featuring the Belgian detective, there's certainly more than enough material to do so.
Kenneth Branagh is returning to direct Death on the Nile based on a script by Murder on the Orient Express screenwriter, Michael Green. Death on the Nile is set to release in theaters on December 20, 2019 in a bold attempt at counterprogramming to Star Wars: Episode IX, which releases the same day. Check out all of next year's biggest movies in our 2019 release schedule.