Knives Out’s Rian Johnson Thought Everyone Knew Glass Onion Was A Beatles Reference. He Was Wrong

With another Rian Johnson whodunnit ready to be solved, comes another glorious title: Glass Onion. And, if you’ve been wondering how the writer/director got the title, look no further than the 1968 Beatles song of the same name. I’ll admit I didn’t put two and two together, considering it's a bit of a deep cut for the British band, but I don't feel bad admitting that because a ton of other people didn't either. 

When the Glass Onion filmmaker was recently asked about the title of his latest movie -- which you can watch in theaters this week only before it comes to those with a Netflix subscription the week of Christmas -- Rian Johnson shared the popular reaction to the sequel title, saying: 

But I was always surprised, when I was showing the script around, how many people didn’t know it was a Beatles song. I thought everybody knew “Glass Onion”, but I guess they don’t.

“Glass Onion” is the third track on The Beatles' massive 30-track The White Album, which also includes much bigger hits like “Blackbird,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and “Dear Prudence.” The song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney cleverly alludes to their past songs, like “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Lady Madonna” and “I Am A Walrus,” making it an apt title for a mystery movie. 

During an interview with Deadline, Rian Johnson also shared how making The Beatles reference actually came to him, saying: 

I’d gotten to a point where I had the idea of a central metaphor that Blanc could latch onto and beat like a dead horse. Something that was made of glass. Something that was layered, but the center was in plain sight, and so on. And I thought, OK, well the billionaire is going to have an island, and maybe he has some structure on it that’s made of glass, so … is it a glass castle? Is it a glass palace? I literally opened the music app on my phone and just searched the word ‘glass’, and Glass Onion popped up.

It’s a great title, and considering Knives Out fans will be getting another complex mystery, having onion in the title suggests there will be layers to peel back. Glass Onion also follows the trend of Rian Johnson’s whodunnits being named after songs by iconic bands. Knives Out was named after the Radiohead song of the same name. 

When previously speaking to the Los Angeles Times about Knives Out in 2019, Rian Johnson shared that the movie has nothing to do with the song, but he’s “just a massive Radiohead fan” who couldn’t get the phrase out of his head. Plus, it felt like a great title for a murder mystery. 

Glass Onion marks the return of Daniel Craig’s Southern detective Benoit Blanc as he solves a brand new mystery on the private Greek island owned by Edward Norton’s tech billionaire character Miles Bron. The Glass Onion cast also includes Kathryn Hahn, Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr, Dave Bautista and Janelle Monáe.

As the Knives Out sequel finally reaches audiences this week, the movie has been welcomed with a ton of positive praise from critics, including with CinemaBlend’s own Glass Onion review, which gave it a perfect five out of five, calling it a “twistier, funnier and sharper mystery” compared to Rian Johnson’s 2019 movie. 

As you get ready for Glass Onion, you can check out our exclusive spoiler-free interview with Rian Johnson from the ReelBlend podcast’s latest episode.  

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.