Rian Johnson Says ‘All Bets Are Off’ When It Comes To Casting The Knives Out Sequel

Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc in Knives Out

In the making of Knives Out, Rian Johnson followed a great tradition by outfitting the cast of his murder mystery with an absolutely stunning group of performers. Some movies are considered lucky to land one or two of the stars the film got, but the movie is bursting at the seams with talent including Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Lakeith Stanfield, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, Katherine Langford, Don Johnson, Jaeden Martell, and Christopher Plummer.

Now that a sequel is in development, the million dollar question is how Rian Johnson plans to top his fantastic casting feat from this past year... and while there remains no specific answers just yet, the writer/director has gone on the record saying that "all bets are off" when it comes to the actors who may appear in the untitled Knives Out follow-up.

Rian Johnson was in attendance at the Academy Awards last night, his script for Knives Out having been nominated for Best Original Screenplay, and Variety caught up with him on the red carpet prior to the event. He was asked about his work on the sequel, and after confirming that Daniel Craig's Benoit Blanc will be the lone returning character from the first movie, he explained that things are very amorphous when it comes to the cast otherwise:

It’s going to be Daniel (Craig) playing Benoit Blanc, the detective. Other than that, all bets are off. It’s a totally new cast.

As exciting as it would be to see the return of Ana de Armas' lovely Marta, or Chris Evans' sweater-wearing Hugh Ransom Drysdale, this approach makes all kinds of sense. After all, Benoit Blanc is a private investigator who does his work anywhere he's called upon, so a sequel to Knives Out could easily take him to the opposite side of the globe from the Massachusetts-based members of the Thrombey family and the local police officers who were on the case following the murder of the clan's patriarch.

Furthermore, this is yet another staple of the murder mystery genre. A new case for the detective protagonist means the opportunity to meet a whole new group of strange and suspicious characters, and that's half the fun of the storytelling.

Following up, Variety tried for a scoop by asking if Rian Johnson had any actors in mind for the potential Knives Out sequel ensemble, and the writer/director used his presence at the Academy Awards among some of the most talented people in the world as a way of evading a direct answer. Said Johnson,

I want everybody! Just point. Throw a rock on this red carpet and you’ll hit someone that I want in the movie.

Maybe Rian Johnson can use the winners of this year's acting awards at the Oscars as a blueprint for his casting choices. I don't think anyone would complain about the Knives Out follow-up tracking Benoit Blanc as he investigates characters played by Brad Pitt, Laura Dern, Renee Zellweger, and Joaquin Phoenix.

Knives Out didn't end up winning any Oscars last night – as Best Original Screenplay ended up going to Bong Joon-ho's Best Picture-winning Parasite – but there remains a lot to be excited about in regards to the film's success. The reason the sequel got the green light is because the movie has been a certified box office hit. It arrived in theaters in late November of last year, and yet it's actually still hanging around in the Top 10 at the box office (nabbing eighth place this past weekend).

It's made nearly $300 million worldwide so far, and will soon be expanding on the home video market. Knives Out is currently available for Digital Download, and will be available on 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD starting February 25th.

As for the sequel, we will continue to report on updates as they are announced, so stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for all of the latest news!

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.