Why We Should Stop Thinking Of Knives Out 2 As A 'Sequel,' According To Rian Johnson

Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc in Knives Out
(Image credit: (Lionsgate))

In a Hollywood landscape of superhero flicks, galaxies far, far away and horror remakes, Knives Out was one of the most successful original properties to come out of 2019. Following The Last Jedi, writer/director Rian Johnson helmed a clever and entertaining whodunnit featuring an all-star cast. Knives Out surpassed $300 million worldwide, became one of the best reviewed films of the year and nominated at the Oscars for Best Original Screenplay.

Back in February, Lionsgate announced that it had greenlit a second Knives Out movie with Rian Johnson set to return to write and direct. The movie will once again center on Daniel Craig’s southern detective, Benoit Blanc, but calling it Knives Out 2 isn’t necessarily accurate. In Rian Johnson’s words:

In my mind, I don’t even think of it in terms of like a sequel. To me it’s just, ever since we started working on this I was like, ‘Look, if we can keep this going, the same way Agatha Christie wrote a bunch of Poirot novels. I mean, do that with Blanc and keep making more mysteries.’ Whole new cast, whole new location, whole new mystery. It’s just another Benoit Blanc mystery and it seems like there’s just so many different things you can do with it, you know? It seems like it’d be really fun.

Following in the footsteps of his influence Agatha Christie, the second Knives Out movie will standalone as its own mystery. Daniel Craig is returning to his role, but Knives Out 2 will have a completely new location and cast. It’ll probably have a completely new name too. And as Rian Johnson explained in an interview with SiriusXM, he has the freedom to play with genre and tone, too.

The Last Jedi filmmaker referenced Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, which he said leans into the slasher genre and herproto-serial killer story in The ABC Murders. In other words, his inspiration didn’t restrain herself in the story just because one detective remains a through line in her work, and neither will Rian Johnson. He even joked it could go into “space” if he wanted to. Is it time for a Knives Out and Star Wars crossover? Someone might need to solve the whole “how was Palpatine alive” mystery.

When approaching a whodunnit such as Knives Out, the filmmaker doesn’t focus so much on the end reveal needing to be particularly clever. He said he focused on the story as a whole having depth that audiences would be engaged to follow and see through to the conclusion. Rian Johnson thinks the trap is believing a whodunnit like Knives Out is only attractive for its solution.

Rian Johnson is famous for playing around with genre, with neo-noir in Brick, con-artist caper in The Brother’s Bloom, time-travel sci-fi with Looper and space opera with The Last Jedi. Where would you like to see the filmmaker take the next Knives Out? We have some ideas for possible suspects and types of mysteries for Benoit Blanc to solve. Leave your own ideas in the comments below.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.