Knives Out was the surprise hit of 2019. As an original movie not based on any existing media property or IP, it was expected to do a modest box office at best when it arrived on Thanksgiving. But as of February of 2020, it has reached $158 million, based solely on word of mouth, making it an official sleeper hit. Now a Knives Out sequel is officially happening, heralding it as the start of a brand new mystery series.
Written, produced and directed by Rian Johnson, Knives Out was a 21st-century riff on an Agatha Christie Poirot film. Starring Daniel Craig as eccentric detective Benoit Blanc, the story revolved around the murder of patriarch Harlan Thrombey, an ultra-successful mystery novelist. The suspects ranged from Linda Drysdale (Jamie Lee Curtis), Harlan's eldest daughter to Hugh Ransom Drysdale (Chris Evans), Harlan's grandson. In the middle of it, there was Marta Cabrera (Ana De Armas), Harlan's nurse and caretaker, who also turned out to be his heir.
Knives Out brilliantly created meme-able moments, political commentary, and an eat-the-rich attitude. It also was a story not ripe for a direct sequel. Once the whodunit was revealed, and Marta in possession of Harlan's estate, the story of the Thrombey clan was over.
But, like the Christie stories that inspired Knives Out, the Thrombey family wasn't the central point; the detective was. Both Rian Johnson and Daniel Craig have said that's where the focus of any sequel would be.
Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer did not say what direction the follow-up to the hit movie would take, only that it has been given the green light.
But Benoit Blanc's success in solving the mystery comes from the same tactic as both Christie's Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. He's a successful detective who is dependent on the killer not taking him seriously, with his "Foghorn Leghorn" accent in patrician, upper-class New England, and his seemingly silly methods.
Focusing on Blanc as the main subject, with revolving all-star casts playing out different murder mystery scenarios, could be a winning formula. If Johnson is lucky, Blanc stories could even follow in Agatha Christie's footsteps, which have stayed relevant for a century and counting.