After helming a series of acclaimed original features like “Brick” and “Looper,” filmmaker Rian Johnson dived into the sequel pool with “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” in an experience that drew him a lot of attention.
He’s now doing it again with “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Story,” a follow-up to his 2019 sleeper hit. Reviews for the film have been great, as good or better than the first depending upon those who’ve seen it, and is said to be not a “typical sequel” – serving more as a standalone movie.
It turns out that despite his experiences, Johnson has no real interest in sequels which is why “Glass Onion” is so self-contained. In many ways, it sounds like he’s a classic ‘movie lover’ who isn’t interested in ongoing narratives or serialised storytelling. He tells Screen Rant:
“[Glass Onion] was very, very different, but that’s part of what appealed to me about it. I’ve never had the desire to do an actual sequel to anything I’ve made. I love endings. That’s what I love about movies; endings. And I love that movies have a start, they have a finish, they’re one object that is complete.
There’s great serialized storytelling, especially in television and increasingly in movies, but that’s not what turns me on about stories. I like self-contained, beautiful objects. Once I engaged with the fact that these movies are that, as opposed to an ongoing story, I was like, ‘Oh, yeah.’ And we can keep making more of these as long as each one has its own reason for being.”
The stance is in stark contrast to much of the industry today, which has gone from standalone features and episodic TV towards ongoing and interconnected film franchises and heavily serialised storytelling on television along with the rise of cinematic storytelling in gaming which rarely has ‘endings’.
Still, taking the episodic anthology route with “Knives Out” allows Johnson to return for another round which is part of his deal with Netflix and his next project. Speaking with Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, Johnson joked: “I’m gonna take the franchise to space, it’s time. No, it’s time, why not. It’s time to take it to space! It’s a moon mystery!”.
Johnson is also currently attached to do another “Star Wars” film and tells Insider he still loves the franchise and is keen to do more. Asked how he would feel if he couldn’t direct another, he responded:
“It wouldn’t be the end of the world for anyone, I think, but I would be sad. I love the world. I love the people. I love Star Wars fans. I love the passion of how they engage in it. There’s nothing like telling a story in this world and then experiencing people truly connecting to it and letting you know that. It’s extraordinary. I’m hoping I get to do it again, but nothing is the end of the world until the end of the world actually happens, which, what day of the week is it?.”
“Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” is set to debut this Friday on Netflix worldwide.