Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery — that’s the official title for the sequel to writer-director Rian Johnson’s 2019 mystery film, previously known colloquially as Knives Out 2. But what does Glass Onion mean? Well, famously, “Glass Onion” is a 1968 song by The Beatles, which John Lennon saw as a response to confuse those who obsessively pored over the lyrics of Beatles songs. Lennon liked the cheekiness of the words “glass onion” conveying both transparency and multiple layers. Could Johnson be hinting at something similar with his Knives Out 2 title? We’ll have to see the movie to find out.
Netflix revealed the official title — Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery — via an animated announcement video, which features a magnifying glass as it spins over the zoomed-in letters of “Glass Onion” before pulling away. The Knives Out 2 title announcement video ends by listing the ensemble cast of the sequel, with the returning Daniel Craig alongside Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, Madelyn Cline, Kate Hudson, and Dave Bautista. Hudson and Bautista are listed under the “with” moniker, which suggests their roles are smaller than the others.
On Twitter, Johnson explained his thinking behind the title: “Something I love about Agatha Christie is how she never tread water creatively. I think there’s a misperception that her books use the same formula over and over, but fans know the opposite is true.
“It wasn’t just settings or murder methods, she was constantly stretching the genre conceptually. Under the umbrella of the whodunnit she wrote spy thrillers, proto-slasher horrors, serial killer hunts, gothic romances, psychological character studies, glam travelogues.
“When I made Knives Out, that’s what excited me about the prospect of making more mysteries with Daniel as Benoit Blanc — to emulate Christie and have every film be like a whole new book, with its own tone, ambition, reason for being… and (ta dah) title.”
In addition to writing and directing Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Johnson is also a producer on the Knives Out sequel alongside his frequent collaborator Ram Bergman. Glass Onion is a production of Lionsgate (which brought the first film to theatres worldwide) and Johnson and Bergman’s T-Street. Steve Yedlin — who has worked with Johnson on five movies previously — is back as cinematographer on Glass Onion. Bob Ducsay — who edited Looper, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Knives Out for Johnson — is also back for the Knives Out sequel.
Here’s the official synopsis for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery from Netflix:
In Rian Johnson’s Knives Out follow-up, detective Benoit Blanc travels to Greece to peel back the layers of a mystery involving a new cast of suspects.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is out “this [American] holiday season” on Netflix. That usually means between November and December.