Rian Johnson on the future of the Knives Out franchise, avoiding fatigue
When the original Knives out released in 2019, it received such a strong, mostly positive reaction that it was no surprise when a sequel was finally announced. Glass Onion, which recently started its week-long theatrical run before hitting Netflix on December 23is the first of two Knives out sequels this director/screenwriter Rian Johnson has already been exploited to do for the streamer. Both films, and much of Johnson’s previous work (for better and for worse), have been praised for toying with the expectations of the genre or franchise it’s in.
But in the context of a recent history of DeadlineJohnson admitted that Knives out lacks a solid foundation for where to go next compared to his previous films. “[Mystery’s] not an expansive genre,” he said. While it’s credited with countless adaptations of crime 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 an unlimited amount of stuff to pick from. […] In terms of what’s actually new to the genre, you find yourself coming back to the same titles.
On that front, Johnson said he would look for hidden gems in the genre for inspiration. But he also talked about wanting to avoid resting on his laurels, especially as he’s also working on Poker face, a separate mystery show for Peacock with Natasha Lyonne. “Daniel [Craig] and I’ve talked about it a lot, how the moment we feel like we’re turning the crank on another one of them, we have to stop. Asked by Deadline, Craig expressed a similar sentiment: the duo will continue to make Knives out films if the demand is there. But both agreed to pull the ejection cord if the franchise started to feel like an obligation rather than something they liked to do.
Johnson is currently in the early stages of writing At loggerheads 3, and this since the press tour for Glass Onion. Calling it his “most exciting creative thing” at the moment, he teased that he wanted to make the film as distinct from its predecessors as possible. “It’s very important with each one now, and the third one in particular, that it’s a bit scary and dangerous,” he said. “You have to shake the box.”
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