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SYFY WIRE Knives Out

Rian Johnson teases more whodunnits while comparing Knives Out to Star Wars

By Christian Long
KNives Out

The 15th annual Fantastic Fest came to a close with a special screening of Rian Johnson's new murder mystery Knives Out

Taking its inspiration directly from the Agatha Christie-style whodunnits, the film features an ensemble cast filled with colorful characters where everyone's a suspect, and at the center is Daniel Craig's molasses-voiced Columbo-like PI, Benoit Blanc. Written and directed by Johnson, Knives Out is the first standalone film he's made since 2017's The Last Jedi. While he's still on deck to helm an original Star Wars trilogy, Johnson recently said that he may have time to make one or two more standalone films before he heads back to a galaxy far, far away. 

Ahead of the closing night screening, Johnson told SYFY WIRE that while he hasn't settled on what type of project he'd like to take on next, he strongly hinted he'd like to stay close to the world he created for Knives Out — or, at least, with one specific character. 

"This is kind of a cheat answer," Johnson began, "But I had so much fun with this, and I had so much fun with Daniel, if I can make another mystery with the same character, and do what Agatha Christie did and do a new cast and a new setting and make a few of these."

Even though the scale of Knives Out is smaller than an epic space opera, Johnson admitted that "the day-to-day is shockingly the same."

"It's weird, you would think a big production like Star Wars would be a different thing; end of the day, you're working with a camera, a couple of actors trying to make a scene work, it's really a similar thing," Johnson explained. "[With] The Last Jedi, obviously, you're making a Star Wars movie, so you're aiming for a lot of different things, but it felt as personal to me as any of the other movies I've made. But this is a very different challenge. It's a whodunnit, it's got a big cast, it's much more dialogue-based, there are things about it that are different."

To Johnson, it comes down to picking a genre of film and telling a story without breaking the mold, but maybe bending it just a bit. 

"Ultimately, like when I made Star Wars, you're playing in Star Wars rules. With this I'm playing in whodunnit rules," said Johnson. "You pick your genre and you're always trying to — hopefully in a way people don't always expect — give them the pleasures of that genre. You pick your set of rules to go buy. You pick your game."

Knives Out will open in theaters everywhere Nov. 27.