Kenneth Branagh’s Hercule Poirot franchise is showing no signs of slowing down. And it looks like he’s taking Bouc with him. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, 20th Century Studios president Steve Asbell indicated that a third Poirot movie is on the way—just a few weeks after Death on the Nile’s release. He shared a few tidbits about the upcoming film, saying Michael Green’s script is complete. So, what to expect? Well, it’s an adaptation of a “lesser-known” novel and is definitely a different tone from the previous films.
Most curiously, he shared that the script boasts a post-war Venice setting. Myself and Nerdist’s Agatha Christie expert Rosie Knight wracked our brains to think of a Poirot mystery set in Venice to no avail. However, considering the well-traveled detective, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Branagh refitted one of Christie’s stories into a new setting. Of course, these comments could pan out to nothing in the end, but it’s always fun to take a deep dive through the vast source material. Between Branagh and the BBC/Prime Video’s limited series, Agatha Christie mysteries are all over our screens. So we’re excited at the prospect of a lesser-known story making its way to the big screen.
In his next Agatha Christie adaptation, here are some of the Poirot stories Kenneth Branagh could tackle.
“The Adventure of the Italian Nobleman”
If Branagh’s first two Poirot films are any indication, we can likely swap out any of Poirot’s assistants for Bouc. (Despite only appearing in Murder on the Orient Express, Bouc returned for Death on the Nile—and this time Tom Bateman got second billing.) The short story from the 1924 collection Poirot Investigates sees Poirot and his pal Hastings as they investigate the murder of an Italian count who was also being blackmailed. Considering it’s already an Italy-centric tale, this story’s London setting could very easily shift to Venice.
The Big Four
Featuring recurring characters Hastings and Inspector Japp, the 1927 novel—originally published as a series of short stories—features Poirot investigating a global crime syndicate. The titular quartet aims for world domination, and it seems the mustachioed detective is the one to take them down. An espionage thriller is undoubtedly a different kind of story for Poirot, and it’s quite fun seeing Christie take on another sort of mystery. So if 20th Century Studios and Branagh are looking to tackle something with a new feeling—while still allowing for a star-studded ensemble—they should look no further than The Big Four.
The Mysterious Affair at Styles
It’s interesting that Agatha Christie’s first Poirot story—and very first published novel—doesn’t get the same kind of love that some of her other stories get. Especially considering it’s a pretty fun whodunit with a sprawling cast of characters. The story sees Poirot (assisted by Hastings) investigate the death of a wealthy woman named Emily Inglethorp. As the mystery unravels, we meet a very suspicious extended family and some shifty locals. While the entire story is set at Styles Court, there’s also a world in which we see all our main players scheming while on holiday.
“Jewel Robbery at the Grand Metropolitan”
Another short story from Poirot Investigates, this tale follows the Belgian detective and Hastings on holiday in Brighton. Interestingly, there is no murder in this story. Instead, our beloved detectives search for a jewel thief. It’s a simple tale of greed, thievery, and a good old-fashioned blame game. Indeed a welcome adventure for Poirot, who cannot seem to escape a murder mystery.
The Labours of Hercules
Your Classics teacher’s favorite Agatha Christie short story collection. In the collection, Poirot attempts to close out his storied detective career by replicating Hercules’ labors. This means choosing cases based on their parallels to the corresponding labor. The third short story in the collection, “The Arcadian Deer,” sees Poirot bouncing around the European Continent searching for a woman on behalf of the mechanic repairing his car. He travels to Paris, Pisa, and the Swiss Alps throughout his search. Not a bad run for the globetrotting detective.
A movie featuring allusions to the labors of Hercules might be a lot for a Disney-backed franchise. (Even if they were just pulling the one story.) Still, it might make for a great TV series, too—something to consider.
Taken at the Flood
Set in post-WWII England, this Christie novel follows the Cloade family who are putting their lives back together following the war—and grappling with the loss of family members both overseas and during the Blitz. Poirot is called in after a murder victim in the local village was the blackmailer of an extended member of the family. Naturally, things spiral and more family secrets come to light. Poirot must solve the case before anyone else is killed. Not exactly the Venetian setting Asbell describes, but a post-war mood is certainly in play here.
Death in the Clouds
To be honest, why not! Branagh’s first two Poirot mysteries featured an untimely demise on various modes of transportation. So, why not add a third? In the novel, Poirot travels on a small airplane with a dozen or so others when one of them is poisoned. Hilariously, Poirot is one of the local police’s suspects—after all, the murderer was on the plane—so he sets off to clear his name. And, of course, find the murderer.