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Everything We Know About ‘Knives Out 3’

Josh Brolin is the latest actor to join the cast of ‘Wake Up Dead Man: A Knives Out Mystery’

Knives Out

John Wilson/Netflix

Rian Johnson, the writer and director behind Knives Out and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, loves whodunits, particularly due to “how malleable the genre is,” he shared on X last month. Johnson, who considers Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile (1978) and Evil Under the Sun (1982) touchstone films, excitedly announced the latest sequel, Wake Up Dead Man: A Knives Out Mystery, will release May 24. Southern-drawl supersleuth Benoit Blanc, played by Daniel Craig, is back on the case for the third installment with an all-star cast and brain-teasing case.

As Johnson reflected on the mystery tropes that defined the genre in the early 20th century, he told Rolling Stone in 2019 he was hoping to reinvent the blueprint for a modern-day audience: “How do we come up with the right spoonful of sugary arsenic to help the medicine go down?”

“The idea was never to make a drawing-room period piece or do a parody,” Johnson told Rolling Stone. “We didn’t want to just re-skin an old genre but to genuinely do what Agatha Christie was doing for British society back in the Twenties and Thirties. That was the challenge.”

Johnson struck a $450 million deal with Netflix, Variety reported in 2021, with plans to produce two sequels with the streamer, i.e. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and the newly announced Wake Up Dead Man: A Knives Out Mystery. Here’s rundown of where the franchise left off, who’s in the cast, and what we can expect from the Knives Out trilogy.

Where did we leave off?

In the first installment, Blanc investigates the death of successful crime novelist Harlan Thrombey. Blanc is quick to point fingers at Thrombey’s dysfunctional family, who were willing to fight over their father’s inheritance while simultaneously threatening to deport Thrombey’s Latin American nurse Martha (Ana de Armas). The cops take the bait, and later implicate Martha as the murder suspect. As details unravel, viewers learn Martha’s got a massive cut of Thrombey’s will, and can’t utter a lie without becoming nauseous. In a Rolling Stone review, film critic Peter Travers wrote “what a kick to watch whip-smart director Rian Johnson shake the cobwebs off the whodunit genre and make it snap to stylish, wickedly entertaining life for a new generation.”

Glass Onion takes the sleuth epic a step further, with billionaire tech guru Miles Brown (Edward Norton) inviting a coterie of his closest pals to his private Greek island, for an unexpected murder mystery weekend. As chaos ensues and the onion-shaped, glass dome bursts into (literal) flames, a cigar-wielding Blanc kicks back after cracking open another deadly case.

When will Wake Up Dead Man: A Knives Out Mystery release?

So far, the film is slated for 2025, according to a teaser Johnson released on May 24.

Has production begun?

Although a production timeline has not been announced, pre-production began Jan. 17. Johnson hinted on X, back in May that “we’re about to go into production on the 3rd one and I’m very, very excited.”

Who is joining the cast?

Josh Brolin (Dune: Part Two) is the latest actor to join the cast of the Knives Out trilogy, The Hollywood Reporter announced Monday. Mila Kunis (Black Swan) and Daryl McCormack (Good Luck to You, Leo Grande), announced May 30 and May 31 respectively, will also star in the murder mystery.

Joining lead detective Benoit Blanc (Craig), other cast members include Josh O’ Connor (Challengers), Cailee Spaeny (Priscilla), Andrew Scott (All of Us Strangers), Glenn Close (Fatal Attraction), Kerry Washington (Scandal), and Jeremy Renner (Tag).

Who was in Glass Onion and Knives Out?

Craig has helmed the whodunit franchise since 2019 and will return to the role ahead of the the third installment. Alongside Blanc, Knives Out featured De Armas, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, and LaKeith Stanfield.

Johnson recalled having six weeks before filming the 2019 production, he told Rolling Stone, to assemble the cast.

“I have a great casting director who assembled a list of people who are potentially available, and we went from there,” Johnson told Rolling Stone. “It also involved one of my favorite things to do, which is to take an actor I like and wonder, ‘What haven’t I seen this person do before?’ We’ve seen Michael Shannon play this intense alpha guy — so what would he be like if he was this very bitter beta male? Or, like, what if the guy [Chris Evans] who played Captain America was kind of a jerk? Let’s be a little unpredictable here.”

In the second installment, Glass Onion showcased another slate of A-list scene stealers like Janelle Monae, Edward Norton, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Madelyn Cline, and Kate Hudson.

What do we know about the third installment?

Most details remain under wraps but as murder mysteries go, Knives Out 3 will feature a deadly case, fresh slate of suspects, an undisclosed location, and a mastermind detective determined to sniff out the facts. To Johnson, there’s few things more satisfying than solving a bait and switch whodunit.

“I know why I love these types of stories, and every time I told somebody I wanted to make one, they told me why they were so excited about seeing this genre come back,” Johnson said. “And one of the things that these stories offer is the notion that the world is being thrown into moral chaos over a crime, and you know that by the end of it, an authority figure is going to stand in the library and put things back in place. There’s a comforting feeling [that] everything will make sense by the end.”

From Rolling Stone US