Knightfall (TV series)
Knightfall is a historical fiction drama television series created by Don Handfield and Richard Rayner for the History channel. Filmed in the Czech Republic and Croatia, it premiered on December 6, 2017 in the United States. On August 13, 2018, History renewed the series for a second season, which will premiere on March 25, 2019 and consist of eight episodes.
|Created by||Don Handfield and Richard Rayner|
|Country of origin|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (list of episodes)|
|Production location(s)||Prague, Czech Republic|
|Running time||40–45 minutes|
|Original release||December 6, 2017 –|
Knightfall recounts the fall, persecution, and burning at the stake of the Knights Templar, as orchestrated by King Philip IV of France on October 13, 1307. The series focuses on the fictional Templar leader Landry du Lauzon, a brave warrior discouraged by the Templars' failures in the Holy Land who is reinvigorated by news that the Holy Grail has resurfaced.
Cast and charactersEdit
- Tom Cullen as Landry du Lauzon, a senior brother of the Knights Templar and a veteran of the Crusades, Landry is a noble, courageous, and headstrong knight, who began his service with the Templars as Godfrey's squire – Godfrey tutored and trained him into a skilled and respected warrior monk. After the Siege of Acre, Landry witnesses the failure of the Crusade, the conquest of the Holy Land by the Saracens and the loss of the most-prized relic in all of Christendom: the Holy Grail. 15 years later, Landry, his faith shaken and frustrated with the Order's inactivity, becomes Master and Commander of the Paris Temple after Godfrey's assassination, the subsequent investigation revealing the Grail is now in France. His hope reignited, Landry leads his fellow Templars on a journey to uncover the reasons behind his mentor's death and location of the Grail.
- Jim Carter as Pope Boniface VIII, a warm and avuncular man and a seasoned religious leader, who acts as a stabilizing, incorruptible force within a corrupt medieval world. The Templar Knights value him as their Holy leader, and they’re willing to execute his orders without question. Boniface personally appoints Landry the new Master and Commander of the Paris Temple after Godfrey's assassination and entrusts him the mission of finding the Holy Grail, hoping to use it to launch a new Crusade and reclaim the Holy Land.
- Pádraic Delaney as Gawain, the greatest swordsman of the Templar Order who was crippled by a leg injury sustained in the Siege of Acre while protecting Landry. 15 years later, after Godfrey's assassination, he is told by the new Master Landry he can no longer fight. Unable to serve in the field, Landry assigns him as the training master to the Order's initiates, teaching future knights, including the commoner Parsifal. Feeling his heroism is no longer celebrated, he struggles to maintain his loyalty to the Order, just as he struggles to come to terms with his physical limitations. Gawain feels that, of all the Templars, he has the most to gain from the recovery of the Holy Grail, due to its reported ability to heal.
- Simon Merrells as Tancrede de Hautville, a veteran Templar fiercely loyal to the order. Unlike most Templars, Tancrede was once married, but he gave up married life in order to join the Templars. As the steadfast, brave, and resolute knight who venerates his Templar vows above all else, Tancrede imagines himself as the heir apparent to Godfrey, the Master and Commander of the Paris Temple, although he concedes to Landry following Godfrey's assassination. With the revelation that the Holy Grail is now in France, Tancrede aids and advises Landry on his quest, and comes to understand what his role must be.
- Julian Ovenden as William de Nogaret, King Philip's scheming counsellor, pragmatic lawyer and right-hand man. De Nogaret is unashamedly godless, and a calculating manipulator ahead of his time. He is driven to destroy the power of organized religion, in revenge for his parents being burned at the stake as heretics. Cool and supremely calculating, De Nogaret is more involved in the quest for the Holy Grail than he appears. He also secretly desires Philip's daughter, Isabella, while seeking to make her the next Queen of England.
- Olivia Ross as Queen Joan of France and Navarre, the Queen of France and Queen Regnant of Navarre, Joan is both King Philip's wife and a powerful Queen who is a formidable diplomat and strategist. Joan is a devoted mother who seeks to ensure her children, especially her daughter, marry for love rather than duty like she was to Philip, whom she has grown to fear. She and Philip are friends of Landry after he saved them from being murdered by brigands – against Landry's vows of celibacy, and without Philip's knowledge, the two pursued a secret romance and Joan is secretly pregnant with his child.
- Ed Stoppard as King Philip IV of France, the King of France, known for his good looks (hence the nickname “The Fair”), Philip struggles both as a King and a husband. He seeks to control his family while dealing with the politics and power moves that are an inevitable part of running his kingdom. Philip longs to be a great monarch and to transform France into the greatest power in Europe. He and Joan are friends of Landry after he saved them from being murdered by brigands, and Philip considers him a teacher, confidant and friend (although he is unaware of their secret romance).
- Sabrina Bartlett as Princess Isabella, Queen Joan and King Philip’s daughter. Isabella is a beautiful, energetic and self-aware young woman whose youth belies a capacity to go to extraordinary lengths to get what she wants. Now of legal age, her impending marriage promises a strong political alliance for France.
- Bobby Schofield as Parsifal, a young peasant farmer who is decent and honest, although is brash and recklessly brave; aiming to do what he feels is right, even faced with great peril. He was happily engaged to a young woman, Marie, but is left consumed with grief and a desire for vengeance when she is murdered by Godfrey's assassins. Adrift and wanting to pursue her killers, he accepts an offer from Landry to join the Templars.
- Sarah-Sofie Boussnina as Adelina, a Jewish homeless thief who previously lived in Acre, but was rescued as a child by Landry and the Templars. Now living in France with her father, she is secretly involved with the unknown forces surrounding the Holy Grail.
- Sam Hazeldine as Marcel De Caux/Godfrey, a Templar leader who is Master of the Paris Temple, Godfrey is a mentor and father figure to Landry.
- Nasser Memarzia as Draper, a Templar
- Cengiz Dervis as Roland, a brigand
- Ryan Early as Reynard, a mercenary in De Nogaret's employ
- Akin Gazi as Rashid, the leader of the Brotherhood of Light
- Roy McCrerey as Charles, the Royal Steward
- Marcos Franz as Prince Lluis Miquel of Catalonia
- Enrique Arce as Rodrigo of Catalonia, the Catalan Ambassador
- Oliver Maltman as Robert, Earl of Oxford, the English Ambassador
- Claudia Bassols as Queen Elena of Catalonia-Aragó
- Gina McKee as Landry's mother
- James Coombes as Governor De Rouvray of Navarre
- Tony Pritchard as Ballard
- Robert Pugh as Jacques De Molay
- Peter O'Meara as Berenger
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||10||December 6, 2017||February 7, 2018|
|2||8||March 25, 2019||May 13, 2019|
Season 1 (2017–18)Edit
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers|
|1||1||"You'd Know What to Do"||Douglas Mackinnon||Don Handfield & Richard Rayner||December 6, 2017||1.77|
|While in the Holy Land in the midst of a 43 day siege during the Battle of Acre of 1291, Templar knight Brother Landry is thrown into a fight with the Sultan of the Mamluks, along with protecting the Holy Grail. Fifteen years later, while stationed in Paris, Landry, now a battle-worn warrior of the Holy Wars, fears that the Order has lost its purpose. However, when the blood of Master Godfrey is shed, it forces Landry and his brothers to take up arms again and try to get the Grail back.|
|2||2||"Find Us the Grail"||Douglas MacKinnon||Don Handfield & Richard Rayner||December 13, 2017||1.32|
|Pope Boniface arrives in Paris to learn of the grail's whereabouts and make Landry Master of the Temple. However, the pope's unexpected arrival threatens de Nogaret's carefully laid plans to marry King Philip and Queen Joan's daughter, Princess Isabella to Prince Edward of England. Later, Landry and Parsifal seek vengeance on Roland, the highwaymen's leader, who killed Godfrey and Marie, Parsifal's fiancee, after the farmer came to the Templar master's aid.|
|3||3||"The Black Wolf and the White Wolf"||David Petrarca||Dominic Minghella||December 20, 2017||1.48|
|After finding a clue of a coat of arms, Landry and Tancrede investigate the Holy Grail's whereabouts. Their journey leads them to Godfrey's childhood home where they discover his origin as Marcel, the youngest son of Baron de Caux. The story told by his older brother Raymond is cut short from an attack by Saracen assassins. Parsifal starts training to become a Templar, but he must first learn to be a monk. De Nogaret's plots against Isabella's union to Prince Lluís.|
|4||4||"He Who Discovers His Own Self, Discovers God"||David Petrarca||David Elliot & Jason Grote||December 27, 2017||1.08|
|When a Saracen prisoner is killed in cold blood inside the temple, Gwaine conducts an inquiry into the man's murder. In order to learn about the victim's symbol, Landry seeks out Jonas of the Ardennes, a pagan who helps him remember his childhood meeting with Malraux, a Cathar from the Brotherhood of Light. Isabella is betrayed by de Nogaret and her purity is tested days before her wedding to Lluís. Joan is with Landry's child and has to cover it up with Philip.|
|5||5||"Hard Blows Will Banish the Sin"||Metin Hüseyin||Sharon Hoffman & Vivian Tse||January 3, 2018||1.19|
|Fearing an attack by the English after the Earl of Oxford goes missing from his chambers, King Philip asks the Knights Templar to watch over Princess Isabella's wedding at the Palace. While personally protecting Queen Joan, Landry learns she is with his child. Gwaine and Parsifal investigate the Earl's personal effects and find Greek Fire, a deadly substance used by a Mongol mercenary alchemist Tencrede knew. But it seems De Nogaret is behind a massive cover-up.|
|6||6||"The Pilgrimage of Chains"||Metin Hüseyin||Sonny Postiglione||January 10, 2018||1.17|
|After an enduring torture from the Saracens of the Brotherhood of Light, Landry returns to the temple in chains and shackles. The Saracens have agreed to give up the instructions of the scroll left by Godfrey for Landry, leading him to The Grail, under the condition of him giving up one of his Templar brothers, Tancrede. In the Royal Palace, soon after he his knighted, De Nogaret's plan is revealed by Isabella and he faces the death penalty for treason, but he is rescued by an ally.|
|7||7||"And Certainly Not the Cripple"||Douglas MacKinnon||Jason Grote & David Elliot||January 17, 2018||1.11|
|On a clue from the Brotherhood of Light, Landry, along with Gwaine, go to where he first met Godfrey; an orphanage. They meet a mysterious woman who leads them to The Grail. Queen Joan learns of an attack on her birth home, Navarre by her cousin, Queen Elena. After hearing about Joan's pregnancy, De Nogaret, now a commoner in hiding, deduces who the father is and plans to inform King Philip. Parsifal gets his vengeance on Roland and discovers who he really works for.|
|8||8||"IV"||Douglas MacKinnon||Vincent Angell||January 24, 2018||1.21|
|Landry brings The Grail back to the Temple of the Knights Templar and gives it to Pope Boniface who wants another crusade in order to rule Europe. However, his estranged mother and the Saracen, Rashid root out the traitor, Pierre, who leads the pope's army into a siege against his former brothers. De Nogaret risks everything by telling King Philip about the queen's romance and the pope's plans. Queen Joan decides to unite Catalonia and Navarre by taking out Queen Elena herself.|
|9||9||"Fiat!"||Douglas MacKinnon||Vivian Tse & Sharon Hoffman||January 31, 2018||1.05|
|With Tancrede back on his side, Landry seeks help from his brothers and the Knights Templar Grand Master, Jacques de Molay to take up arms against Pope Boniface. However, Molay already invited the pope to his commandry, along with Gwaine as a witness, and holds a trial there which finds Landry guilty of five of the Nine Great Crimes and is to be excommunicated. Back from Navarre, Queen Joan plots her escape from King Philip who has plans on what to do with her instead.|
|10||10||"Do You See the Blue?"||Douglas MacKinnon||Dominic Minghella & Sonny Postiglione||February 7, 2018||1.02|
|De Nogaret's assassin delivers the Holy Grail to him who gifts it to King Philip. Pope Boniface becomes aware of this news and instructs Landry to lead his Knights Templar back to Paris to recover it. However, King Philip, being advised by De Nogaret, sends mercenaries to intercept and kill them on their way back. They plan to do this in secrecy on the outside of the city, so that they might give the Templars a grand Christian funeral in Paris to further mask their involvement. Queen Joan learns of this plan and takes the Holy Grail to Landry and the Templars. In the forest, as mercenaries, commanded by Gawain surround Landry, Joan begs for his life angering Philip, who stabs her with his sword. Landry asks Joan to drink from the Holy Grail, but rather than saving her, it saves their baby girl who was born via a cæsarean delivery after Joan's death. Joan is laid to rest with the Templars who perished in the battle with the king's mercenaries. Later, Berenger, another Templar Master finds a vial containing a small scroll with names on it within the now smashed Holy Grail, which he swallows.|
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||U.S. viewers|
|11||1||"God's Executioners"||TBA||TBA||March 25, 2019||TBD|
In January 2016, History announced it had picked up Knightfall for a 10-episode straight-to-series, executive produced by Jeremy Renner. The series was conceived by Renner's production partner Don Handfield and Los Angeles-based British writer and journalist Richard Rayner. British writer-producer Dominic Minghella serves as showrunner. Knightfall recounts the fall, persecution, and burning at the stake of the Knights Templar, as orchestrated by King Philip IV of France on October 13, 1307.
A Czech-American co-production presented by History, the first season of Knightfall was developed and produced by A+E Studios. Dominic Minghella, Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Jeff Pinkner, Scott Rosenberg, Barry Jossen, Jana Bennett, Douglas MacKinnon, Jeremy Renner, Don Handfield, Richard Rayner, and Sonny Postiglione are credited as executive producers, while Philip G. Flores acts as co-executive producer. The season was produced by Michael Wray for the first four episodes and Gideon Amir for the last six episodes. Jason Grote, Alex Shevchenko, David Minkowski and Matthew Stillman acted as co-producers, while David Elliot served as supervising producer.
The production team includes casting director Debbie McWilliams, costume designer Diana Cilliers, composer Andrew Price, production designer Ondrej Nekvasil, editors Nathan D. Gunn for the first, sixth and tenth episodes, Stephen Mark for the second episode, John Coniglio for the third and seventh episodes, Patrick McMahon for the fourth and eighth episode, Peter Mergus for the fifth and ninth episode, and Joe Sawyer for the fifth and sixth episodes, and cinematographer Christopher Manley.
On August 13, 2018, it was announced that Knightfall was renewed for a second season. Aaron Helbing was hired as executive producer, writer and showrunner for the second season, replacing Dominic Minghella. Knightfall actor Simon Merrells claimed that Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, and Spartacus: War of the Damned director Rick Jacobson was also working on the series. The series hired a numbered of European directors for the second season, including Samira Radsi, and Roel Reiné. Canadian director David Wellington was also set to direct a block. The second season will consist of eight episodes.
With the series' renewal, three new cast members were announced. Mark Hamill was cast to portray Talus, an old Templar veteran of the Crusades who lived through a decade of captivity in the Middle East, and now tasked with training younger knights. One of his ex-students is Landry, once a master himself but forced to start over after breaking his vows in the first season. Tom Forbes will appear as Prince Louis, the violent and unpredictable son of King Philip, and Genevieve Gaunt will star as Isabella, King Philip's daughter and on her way to becoming the woman who history would call the "she-wolf of France".
Scottish actor Craig McGinlay announced on Instagram that he would return as the guest lead villain of Aldred in the second season. Aldred, portrayed by McGinlay was featured in one episode of the first season. Irish actor Peter O'Meara is also set to join the series as Temple Master Berenger. Underworld: Blood Wars actress Clementine Nicholson will appear in a recurring role in the second season, as Princess Margaret, King Philip IV's half-sister. Claire Cooper also announced on social media that she is set to appear in the second season.
Production started with three days of filming during the last week of June 2016 in Dubrovnik on Croatia's southern Adriatic coast, with Douglas Mackinnon (Outlander) as director. Set mainly around the Walls of Dubrovnik's Fort Lovrijenac (St. Lawrence Fortress) and the bay of Pile, these scenes depict The Siege of Acre. PAKT Media offered their services, and over 140 Croatian film workers were involved with the production.
Mackinnon served as the principal director, handling most episodes. Metin Hüseyin and David Petrarca (Game of Thrones) also directed a block each. Knightfall was shoot primarily in Prague, Czech Republic, with its base at the Barrandov Studios. Several exteriors imitating medieval Paris were built in surrounding suburbs and villages, including Průhonice, and Doksany. Streets in Old Town and Švihov Castle were be utilized. Filming started on July 8. According to Barrandov CEO Petr Tichý, the studio was chosen partially based on the quality of the 15th century interior they had previously built for Borgia. According to Tom Cullen, the main cast had a two and a half week "boot camp" with French stuntman and fight choreographer Cédric Proust. Cullen had taken fencing classes in the past, but had not swung a sword in eight years. The total cost for the season was CZK 1.1 billion.
On August 26, 2016, a fire broke out at the backlot of Barrandov Studios, destroying the exterior sets for Knightfall, with estimated damage of 100 million CZK ($4.5 million USD). Only a small part of the set, representing a medieval city, was saved. The following Monday, shooting resume at another location in the city. The fire affected the production schedule, but the production was not to be moved to another city, and would focus on street locations. David Minkowski, a senior producer at Stillking Films, added, "In conjunction with our insurers and Barrandov construction, we are planning to rebuild the destroyed backlot set as soon as possible and complete filming in Czech Republic,. Filming for the first season wrapped up in mid-December 2016.
A teaser trailer debuted on February 1, 2017 on History Channel, depicting a bloody Templar helmet. The series premiered on December 6, 2017. The second season is set to premiere on March 25, 2019.
The series was pre-sold to SBS in Australia. HBO, its subsidiary Cinemax, and FilmBox Premium also obtained the rights in Central and Eastern Europe. History, which developed the original series, aired Knightfall in North America.
On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, the series has an approval rating of 58% based on 19 reviews, with an average rating of 5.88/10. On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the series has a weighted average score of 47 out of 100, based on 12 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".
Maureen Ryan of Variety said, "This is a lumpy, awkwardly paced, derivative show that doesn’t boast much in the way of impressive visuals or engaging characters. Those looking for a little light history will also likely be disappointed; the story’s scattered nuggets about the context and history of the Templars are not typically made compelling in any way".
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