Everything We Know About the Rian Johnson Series


One of the most recognized filmmakers working today, Rian Johnson is as popular as he is polarizing. Ranging from more minor indie hits like Brick (2005) to mid-budget high-concept science fiction films like Looper (2012) and all the way to the colossal budget spectacle of Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017), Johnson’s work is adored by some and chastised by others, and the writer/director/producer wouldn’t have it any other way. To put it simply, Rian Johnson would rather make a movie that audiences hate than one they forget. He prides himself as a storyteller who actively challenges the norms of the entertainment medium and subverts audience expectations. That subversion of norms and expectations may not always hit, but Johnson achieved an absolute home run with the star-studded murder mystery, Knives Out (2019). Very much inspired by the mystery novels of Agatha Christie (Murder on the Orient Express), Johnson delivered an entry into the long-dormant genre to great success, due to its captivating characters, hysterical sense of humor, and a murder mystery plot that twisted and turned into genuinely unexpected directions. In addition to being a massive critical success, with the rare occurrence of Rotten Tomatoes’ critics and audience scores almost unanimously agreeing with scores of above 90%, Knives Out was also a box office smash, bringing in over $300 million USD with a budget that’s only estimated to be $40 million.


Fans wanted to see more adventures with Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), and the film’s success didn’t go unnoticed by the industry, with Netflix purchasing the now-franchise for two sequels for $450 million USD. The first, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022), was praised as a sequel that is just as good if not better than the original. Clearly, Johnson is fitting right into the mystery genre, but now Johnson is working on an entirely new project that will take audiences outside the world of Knives Out. Poker Face, not to be confused with the 2022 Russell Crowe film, is a new series being directed, written, and produced by Rian Johnson himself, making this the first television series that the acclaimed filmmaker has created. Billed as a mystery story, Johnson’s involvement should already be enough to garner interest, but the show has also brought in an absolutely stellar cast that seems to just get bigger and bigger. To find out everything we know so far about this mysterious murder mystery series, simply read below.

Editor’s Note: This article was last updated on January 24.

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Image via Peacock

Related:Joseph Gordon-Levitt on Producing ‘Wolfboy and the Everything Factory’ and Reuniting With Rian Johnson on ‘Poker Face’


Does Poker Face Have a Trailer?

The first teaser for Poker Face introduces the character of Charlie Cale (Natasha Lyonne), a bitter detective who’s working on solving a series of crimes, each one complete with an absolutely star-studded cast. Already the look and style of the show looks incredibly similar to that of Knives Out, combining a compelling mystery storyline with effective moments of humor.

The second trailer delves a bit deeper into Cale’s character, particularly in her borderline supernatural ability to always tell when someone is lying to her. We also learn that Cale has been living in her car for quite some time, acting as a drifter who can’t help but get involved in the various murders she comes across. This incredible ability she has as a human lie detector of sorts catches the attention of a shady individual played by Ron Perlman, who enlists the services of a fixer played by Benjamin Bratt to find Cale and bring her to him alive. So now, in addition to having to solve a variety of murder cases, Cale is also being pursued by a mysterious assassin.

Another trailer was released on January 16, 2022, during Peacock’s presentation at the TCA. The 90-second spot further highlighted the series’ stacked cast.

Will Poker Face be on Cable or on Streaming?

There was an aggressive bidding war for Johnson’s new series, but the streaming service that came out on top was Peacock, the service run by Universal Pictures. It’s a massive get for the streaming service that has had its fair share of quality original programs like Bel-Air (2022) and The Resort (2022). The streamer has still been looking for its very own streaming seller, and a mystery series from the current leader of the genre could be just that.

Does Poker Face Have a Release Date?

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Image via Peacock

The above teaser confirms that Poker Face will arrive on Peacock on Thursday, January 26, 2023. Rather than just the pilot episode, that date will actually feature the release of the first four episodes of the show, with the remaining six arriving every following Thursday.

Watch on Peacock

What Is the Plot of Poker Face?

Along with the trailer release was an official synopsis of the show and a bit more information on Charlie Cale and her role in the show:

Poker Face is a 10-episode “mystery-of-the-week” series following Natasha Lyonne’s Charlie, who has an extraordinary ability to determine when someone is lying. She hits the road with her Plymouth Barracuda and with every stop encounters a new cast of characters and strange crimes she can’t help but solve.

This seems to imply that Poker Face will be more of an episodic series rather than a serialized one, meaning that each episode will contain its own self-contained story rather than a larger overarching season narrative, but only time will tell what is truly the case for the mysterious show.

Related:Rian Johnson Explains ‘Poker Face’s Episodic Storytelling

Who Is Making Poker Face?

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Image via Lionsgate

As mentioned above, Rian Johnson will be the creator of the series, in addition to directing, writing, and producing the anticipated show. Though this is the first time Johnson has created a series of his own, this is not the first time he’s been involved in a hit series. Johnson directed an episode of Terriers (2010) as well as three of the most celebrated episodes of Breaking Bad (2008-2013), so this isn’t entirely new territory for him.

Joining Johnson for the rest of the crew include Alice Ju, Wyatt Cain (Prodigal Son), Christine Boylan (Marvel’s The Punisher), Joe Lawson (Shameless) and CS Fischer as writers, Christine Ng (ZIWE) and Steve Yedlin (Looper) as cinematographers, Glenn Garland (The Lords of Salem), Bob Ducsay (Knives Out), and Paul Swain (The Unicorn) as editors, Bret Howe (Euphoria) and Mary Vernieu (Promising Young Woman) as casting directors, and Judy Rhee (Better Call Saul) as production designer. Executive producers are Ram Bergman (Brick, Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Nena Rodrigue, Nora Zuckerman (Fringe, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), and Lilla Zuckerman (Fringe, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). Series star Natasha Lyonne is also credited as a writer and executive producer.

Who’s Starring in Poker Face?

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Image via Peacock

Strap yourselves in because the cast list for Poker Face is nothing short of bonkers. Starring in the series is Natasha Lyonne (Russian Doll), who is the lead crime solver of Charlie Cale, a no-nonsense detective who has a gift for spotting lies in a suspect. Lyonne will also be joined by Megan Suri (13 Reasons Why), Colton Ryan (The Girl From Plainville), and Brandon Michael Hall (Search Party), but those names are only scratching the surface of who will be a part of the series.

The rest of the cast consists of names including (*inhales*) Adrien Brody (The French Dispatch), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Looper), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Stephanie Hsu (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Nick Nolte (The Mandalorian), Tim Blake Nelson (Watchmen), Benjamin Bratt (Coco), Hong Chau (Watchmen), Lil Rel Howery (Get Out), Jameela Jamil (She-Hulk: Attorney at Law), Chloë Sevigny (We Are Who We Are), Ellen Barkin (Animal Kingdom), Judith Light (Who’s the Boss?), Tim Meadows (Mean Girls), K Kallan (Knives Out), Sprague Theobald (Bull), David Castañeda (The Umbrella Academy), Danielle Macdonald (Bird Box), Dascha Polanco (In The Heights), Nicholas Cirillo (Outer Banks), Audrey Corsa (All Rise), Niall Cunningham (And Just Like That), Simon Helberg (The Big Bang Theory), S. Epatha Merkerson (Law & Order), Charles Melton (Bad Boys for Life), Reed Birney (Mass), Hong Chau (The Whale), Kerry Frances (Knives Out), Rhea Perlman (Cheers), Rowan Blanchard (Girl Meets World), Chelsea Frei (The Cleaning Lady), Cherry Jones (The Eyes of Tammy Faye), Luis Guzmán (Wednesday), Clea DuVall (Argo), Shane Paul McGhie (What Men Want), Angel Desai (Jessica Jones), Jasmine Aiyana Garvin, and Leslie Shiva (Shades of Blue) (*exhales*).

When asked about casting the series Johnson said:

“In the room, sometimes we’d have a placeholder actor, and it would end up being them, or surprisingly someone else.”

Related:Ron Perlman, Nick Nolte, Charles Melton & Tim Blake Nelson Join Rian Johnson’s ‘Poker Face’

Will Poker Face Get a Season 2?

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Image via Peacock

No follow-up season has been greenlit just yet, but set photos seem to indicate a second season is likely. In what appears to be crew t-shirts, the logo and title list “Poker Face: Season 1”. If the producers were willing to list this as a season 1, surely a second season is at the very least being considered.

When asked if there would be future seasons, Johnson answered by saying:

“There are infinite stories to tell. As people watch more and more episodes and realize how distinct each one is … there is endless possibility.”

Lyonne also seemed down for more seasons and even has a ‘set number’ on how many seasons she’d want to do.

“76!”

If that’s humanly possible, why not.



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