Rian Johnson says he’s not interested in Benoit Blanc’s backstory and declares there won’t be a Knives Out prequel until he’s “dead and gone.”
Knives Out 2 director Rian Johnson explains why there will never be a Benoit Blanc prequel movie (while he’s alive). Daniel Craig’s eccentric detective made his memorable cinematic debut in Johnson’s surprise 2019 hit Knives Out. And this year Benoit Blanc is back and dealing with another mystery involving another all-star cast of suspects in the highly-anticipated Netflix-produced sequel Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.
Craig’s Blanc is of course the only character to carry over from the first Knives Out movie to the second. And Johnson and Craig indeed plan to reunite again with Knives Out 3 already set at Netflix. But when it comes to the prospect of further exploring the Blanc character via prequels, Johnson has made it plain that he’s not the least bit interested. Speaking to Uproxx, Johnson shot down the idea of a Young Benoit Blanc Chronicles movie, saying “Sorry. Maybe, someday after I’m dead and gone, it’ll be streaming on a mind chip.” Johnson also elaborated on why he doesn’t really care about fleshing out Blanc’s backstory, and feels the character works best just filling his function in a larger mystery story. Check out the director’s remarks in the space below:
I don’t know the notion of building out a backstory, learning where he came from, all of that stuff, to me, I don’t know, I have a natural inclination to kind of push that stuff back and to say a little goes a long way in terms of that. And ultimately this has to be the story of the mystery. The mystery’s the thing. And the detective is interesting in the way he serves his function within solving the mystery. And if we get glimpses beyond that, that’s great. But I feel like a little of that goes a very long way for me.
Why Benoit Blanc’s Backstory Should Remain Mysterious
Johnson revealed in the same interview that he and Craig are “on the same page” when it comes to their belief that Blanc’s backstory should remain largely unexplored. At the same time, Johnson admits that having Craig in the role creates a trap that he has to fight against as a writer. He says, “Having Daniel Craig in that part, the temptation is to think that Blanc as a character is what’s interesting about these movies.” But Johnson remains steadfast in his insistence that the mystery is the thing, and the detective is just there to fill a role.
Fans obviously feel differently about Benoit Blanc and desire to know more about Craig’s enigmatic character. But in truth, the fact that Blanc is so strange and mysterious is a big part of what makes him compelling in the first place. Knowing specifics about the character’s past might please backstory-craving fans, but it would likely not contribute much to the overall effect a story like Glass Onion is supposed to have, and instead might actually get in the way of the mystery unfolding in a pleasurable, nicely-paced manner.
Johnson for his part clearly has tremendous respect for the form of the murder-mystery, and is simply adhering to the “rules” of the genre by making the detective something of a blank (the character’s very name could indeed be a play on this idea). That Craig is so entertaining in the part obviously adds extra value along the way, and makes the whole package that much more appealing for fans. But delving into who Benoit Blanc is, where he came from and how he got to be what he became, is not part of the agenda for a movie like Knives Out 2. And it’s clearly not on Johnson or Craig’s radar screens either. But perhaps somewhere down the line, a long time from now, someone else will come along and flesh out the character’s backstory.