Writer-director Rian Johnson’s career has had a fascinating trajectory, from modernizing film noir with Brick to making Bruce Willis fight himself in Looper to doing a very different kind of sci-fi action fare in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. In 2019, he struck gold again with Knives Out, a star-studded whodunnit that brought us Daniel Craig talking like Foghorn Leghorn, Chris Evans in a cable-knit sweater, and a breakout role for Ana de Armas.
It turns out that following up an Agatha Christie-style murder mystery was more challenging than working with one of the most beloved IPs in American culture. In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times (via IndieWire), Johnson opens up about the pressures of creating his new film Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, which sees Craig’s Benoit Blanc heading to Greece to crack another case.
“Last Jedi was actually a proper sequel, continuing the events from a movie that I didn’t write,” he describes, referring to J.J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, and Michael Arndt’s The Force Awakens. “With this, first of all, it’s not even really a sequel, it’s kind of like another book, basically another mystery with the same detective. If anything, going into it was a little scarier even than the Star Wars movie, because the first one, when we made it, it was in such a vacuum and we had no idea if people would be into this kind of thing. Genuinely, it was just something that I really loved, a genre I loved, and I’m like, ‘Let’s try this.’”
Johnson is certainly more confident in his ability to write serialized crime capers now. Since wrapping Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, he’s been working on Poker Face, a Peacock series starring Natasha Lyonne as a hard-boiled detective. A third Knives Out movie has also been confirmed at Netflix, and the director says he’s “creatively jazzed” to return to Benoit Blanc’s world.
Starring Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista, Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline, and Leslie Odom Jr., Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is set to hit Netflix on December 23 with a theatrical release to be announced.