‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’: Read The Screenplay For Rian Johnson’s Franchise Expansion

Editors note: Deadline’s Read the Screenplay series debuts and celebrates the scripts of films that will be factors in this year’s movie awards race.

Knives Out was always intended to be the first of many mysteries Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) could solve. The movie’s success in 2019 made sure it was not the last, though the sequel, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, appears in a slightly different form. The first of two Netflix-produced films (after a $450 million deal) Glass Onion played in theaters for a week in November before its Christmas weekend drop on Netflix.

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Writer-director Rian Johnson spent the 2019 press tour and awards circuit expressing his love for Agatha Christie mysteries. Coincidentally, Kenneth Branagh brought back Christie’s Poirot for recent film adaptations of Murder on the Orient Express and Death on the Nile. But, Christie’s stories are now period pieces (she died in 1976), and Johnson wanted to craft modern-day whodunnits with ensembles full of memorable characters as suspects. His Knives Out screenplay would earn an Oscar nomination.

The original film introduced Southern gentleman detective Blanc solving the murder of author Harlan Thrombey. Any of his feuding New England relatives had motive. In Glass Onion, Blanc finds himself invited to a murder mystery party in Greece thrown by tech billionaire Miles Bron. The other guests include Bron’s present and former friends who each maintain some dependent tie with Bron.

“If we keep making these, every single one of them is going to be very different than the last one,” Johnson said in a Netflix behind-the-scenes video.

Suspects in Glass Onion include Andi Brand (Janelle Monáe), the former partner Bron shut out of the company; social media influencer Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson) and her assistant Peg (Jessica Henwick); aspiring anchorman Duke Cody (Dave Bautista) and his girlfriend Whiskey (Madelyn Cline); Bron’s scientist Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom Jr); and politician Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn).

Glass Onion even keeps the audiences guessing as to what crime Blanc is actually there to solve. It’s not Bron’s contrived mystery game, but which of Bron’s plentiful misdeeds is actually criminal?

“What Hitchcock did so well was recognizing that the surprise of the reveal at the end, while it’s interesting, is not an incredibly dramatically satisfying ending,” Johnson said. “Really, what you need is the mechanics of a thriller and an actual story.”

Glass Onion made $13 million in its theatrical run. It debuted as Netflix’s No. 1 movie the weekend of December 23 with 82.1 million hours watched worldwide. The pic has already been nominated for Best Picture at the Critics Choice Awards and Best Musical or Comedy at the Golden Globes.

Click below to read Johnson’s script.

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