There Was Almost a Knight’s Tale Sequel—Before Netflix’s Algorithm Killed It

There Was Almost a Knight’s Tale Sequel—Before Netflix’s Algorithm Killed It

It’s been 23 years since Brian Helgeland gave us A Knight’s Tale—and the director’s been thinking about ways it could’ve continued ever since. But once he settled on an idea, he apparently went to Netflix to make the pitch… only to find that the streamer’s algorithmic overlords disagreed.

Paul Bettany and Alan Tudyk, who starred in the 2001 classic alongside the late Heath Ledger, gave Helgeland the pitch he would take to Netflix, the director said in a recent career retrospective with Inverse. “The guys had an idea that [Ledger’s character] William had passed away during a war. However, William has a teenage daughter who wants to joust, but she’s not allowed to because she’s a woman,” Helgeland. “She tracks down the gang and they agree to teach her how to joust, but she has to hide who she is. They cut her hair short and she speaks with a deep voice, et cetera.”

Helgeland brought the idea to Sony, who then decided to try and get the film made with Netflix. Emphasis on the tried. “My understanding is that Netflix tested this sequel idea through their algorithms, which indicated that it would not be successful,” Helgeland continued. “A Knight’s Tale seems to get more popular with every passing year; it’s the strangest thing.”

As sad as it is to see the idea seemingly killed through metrics more than anything else, this isn’t the first idea Helgeland had for a sequel that got canned. “When we finished A Knight’s Tale, we were already thinking about making the sequel as a pirate film. The plot revolved around Count Adhemar kidnapping Jocelyn and taking her to Constantinople,” Helgeland added. “They end up as galley slaves after their boat is captured by pirates. There’s a prisoner on the boat who has a treasure map tattooed on his back, but he keeps getting flogged for indiscipline. The guys volunteer to take turns getting flogged in this prisoner’s place, so the map isn’t erased. Sony didn’t want to do it.”

Maybe one day will approve a return to A Knight’s Tale—algorithmically or otherwise.

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