Rian Johnson spoke out about his ideas for a “Knives Out” sequel, joking on SiriusXM’s “The Jess Cagle Show” on Friday that the next movie would take the franchise into space.
“I know, they just announced it. I have to write it. Do you have any ideas?” he asked, referring to Lionsgate bosses formally announcing during the company’s earnings call on Thursday that a sequel is in the works. “Space. It’s time to take this franchise into space.”
Johnson explained that the new one would bring back Daniel Craig’s detective Benoit Blanc, but like the Agatha Christie novels and Det. Hercule Poirot that inspired “Knives Out,” the sequel would put Blanc into an entirely new location.
“In my mind I don’t even think of it in terms of a sequel,” Johnson said. “Ever since we started working on this… look, if we can keep this going, the same way Agatha Christie wrote a bunch of Poirot novels, and then do that with Blanc and keep making new mysteries. Whole new cast, whole new locations. It’s just another Benoit Blanc mystery.”
Of course Johnson already has experience bringing a story into space with a little movie he wrote and directed called “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which had a worldwide gross that topped $1.3 billion. But what he said he loves about Christie’s books is that they each play with genre and different themes, and each one could be set plausibly anywhere.
“It’s not like every single one is a mansion and the family in a library and a detective,” he said. “She found a very different narrative way into each of them. And just like any movie, you can also thematically attack something totally new with it.”
A “Knives Out” sequel, however, is still very clearly in early days. But as with “Knives Out,” Johnson says he’s committed to telling a good story first rather than concocting a twisty, whodunnit mystery that can go above and beyond the first in terms of craziness.
“There’s a trap you can get into when writing one of these which is to think in terms… to think the attractiveness of it is the cleverness of the solution. And I think that’s actually a trap. How can I make something crazier than ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ in terms of the ending? What if he kills him with a feather or something,” he said.
“What’s actually satisfying at the end is not who did it and how and why. What’s actually satisfying is the same thing as any other movie, which is there’s a character you’ve been following that you care about, and you’re worried about them, and then at the end in a way that’s really satisfying, you come to a conclusion of their arc.”
Check out the full video clip with Johnson above.