Rian Johnson on Knives Out’s franchise future, avoiding fatigue

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 response that it came as no surprise when a sequel was eventually announced. Glass onion, which recently began its week-long theatrical run before heading to Netflix on December 23is the first of two Knives out continuation the director/writer Ryan Johnson has already been tapped to make for the streamer. Both films, and many of Johnson’s previous works (for better and worse), have been praised for playing with the expectations of the genre or franchise he’s in.

But as part of a recent story of deadlineJohnson admitted that Knives out lacks a strong foundation for where to go compared to his earlier films. “[Mystery’s] not an extensive genre,” he said. While acknowledging the myriad adaptations of mystery novel series like Agatha Christie, the genre itself is not known for innovation. “It’s not like there are thousands of classics like film noir where it feels like there’s an unlimited amount of material to draw from. […] In terms of really innovative things in the genre, you find yourself coming back to the same titles over and over again.”

On that note, Johnson said he will look to hidden gems within the genre for inspiration. But he also talked about not wanting to rest on his laurels, especially since he’s also working poker face, a separate mystery show for Peacock starring Natasha Lyonne. “Daniel [Craig] and I’ve talked a lot about that, how we should stop as soon as we feel like we’re turning the pendulum on another one of these. When asked by Deadline, Craig expressed a similar sentiment: The duo will keep making Knives out movies when there is a demand. But both have agreed to pull the ejection cord if the franchise starts to feel an obligation instead of something they liked to do.

Johnson is currently in the early stages of writing Knives from 3, and has been in favor since the press tour Glass onion. Calling it his “most exciting creative thing” right now, he teased that he wants to make the film as distinctive as possible from its predecessors. “It’s really important now for everyone, and especially the third, that it feels a little bit scary and dangerous,” he said. “You have to shake the box.”


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