Rian Johnson on Knives Out’s Future Inspirations and Keeping the Franchise Fresh

Main poster for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.

Image: Netflix

When the original Knives Out released in 2019, it received such a strong, mostly positive reaction that it wasn’t a surprise when a follow up was eventually announced. Glass Onion, which recently began its one-week theatrical run before it goes to Netflix on December 23, is the first of two Knives Out sequels that director/writer Rian Johnson has already been tapped to make for the streamer. Both films, and much of Johnson’s previous works (for better and worse), have been praised for playing around with expectations of the genre or franchise he’s in.

But as part of a recent story from Deadline, Johnson admitted that Knives Out lacks a strong foundation for where to go next compared to his earlier films. “[Mystery’s] not an expansive genre,” he said. While he acknowledged the countless adaptations of mystery novel series like Agatha Christie, the genre itself isn’t known for its innovation. “It’s not like there are thousands of classics, like film noir, where it feels like there’s unlimited amount of stuff to draw from. […] In terms of actual innovative stuff in the genre, you do find yourself coming back to the same titles.”

On that front, Johnson said he’ll look for hidden gems within the genre as inspiration. But he also talked about wanting to avoid resting on his laurels, particularly as he’s also working on Poker Face, a separate mystery show for Peacock starring Natasha Lyonne. “Daniel [Craig] and I have talked a lot about that, how the instant we feel like we’re turning the crank on another one of these, we have to stop.” When asked by Deadline, Craig gave a similar sentiment: the duo will keep making Knives Out films if the demand is there. But both of them have agree to pull the eject cord should the franchise begin to feel like an obligation rather than something they loved doing.

Johnson’s currently in the early stages of writing Knives Out 3, and has been since the press tour for Glass Onion. Calling it his “most exciting creative thing” at the moment, he teased that he wants to make the film as distinct from its predecessors as possible. “It’s very important with each one now, and the third one especially, that it feels kind of scary and dangerous,” he said. “You have to shake the box.”

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