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Warning: SPOILERS for Knives Out ahead!
Before Knives Out even hit theaters, writer-director Rian Johnson was entertaining the idea of a sequel. The director seemingly had such a great time making the whodunnit and working with Daniel Craig that he envisioned bringing the actor's private investigator character, Benoit Blanc, back for an all-new mystery. After Knives Out released to critical acclaim and a phenomenal box office performance, development began on a sequel. Now it’s official: Knives Out 2 is happening.
But rather than bring back the Thrombey family and continue that story, Rian Johnson is taking a page out of Agatha Christie’s book, and Knives Out 2 will feature an all new mystery, setting and cast, save for Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc, the Hercule Poirot of this burgeoning mystery franchise. At the Oscars, Johnson said, “all bets are off” when it comes to casting for the sequel, and that he wants everybody, gesturing to the luminaries walking the red carpet.
With that in mind, it’s worth trying to fancast some possible suspects who Benoit Blanc will have his eye on in Knives Out 2. The first film featured an all-star ensemble of talented actors, established veterans and up-and-comers, and I expect the sequel to do the same. Since we don’t know what the story or mystery will be, I’m casting in a similar way as the first film, with actors of all ages, knowing that what Rian Johnson has planned may call for something entirely different.
Here are 12 possible suspects for Daniel Craig’s next case.
Any of the Little Women stars would be a fine addition for Knives Out 2, but I’d like to see Emma Watson as a suspect in Rian Johnson’s next mystery. The Harry Potter actress seems to be very choosy with her movie roles following her decade-long stint as Hermione Granger, and as such, there are still various kinds of movies and characters we have yet to see her tackle.
Emma Watson doesn’t usually play the kind of character who would be a murder suspect, and that would make her casting fun, even if her character were ultimately innocent. I can see her playing a rich socialite brat who is an immediate suspect, or a character who finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time and isn’t guilty, but isn’t entirely innocent either.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been in every Rian Johnson movie since the director’s debut with 2005’s Brick, but we haven’t seen him onscreen in a Johnson movie since Looper. In Knives Out, he provided a voiceover cameo at the beginning of the movie as Detective Hardrock. But as far as I’m concerned, that doesn’t count, so Gordon-Levitt can play a brand new character who takes part in Knives Out 2. It’s time for a proper reunion between this actor-director duo.
We’ve seen JGL play all kinds of different characters, and given that range, I could see him as an outwardly upstanding guy, the kind you’d never suspect or a total sleaze-bag, like Chris Evans’ character Ransom in the first film. Either way, hopefully we get to see him onscreen this time around.
If the Knives Out sequel is looking to add talent, it would get an outsized amount of it by casting Cynthia Erivo. The actress, who will be an EGOT sooner rather than later, is absurdly talented and has shown it in films such as Widows, Bad Times at the El Royale and Harriet, playing very different characters. Right now, she can be seen playing a quirky private investigator of her own in HBO’s immensely creepy The Outsider.
Given her role in The Outsider, Cynthia Erivo may not want to do another mystery, but Knives Out is tonally completely different, so maybe she would feel it’s enough of a contrast to come aboard the sequel. Although I could see her as part of the investigation, it might be more interesting to see her as a suspect. Really, this is just a pick based on the rising star's immense talent. It doesn't even matter who she plays.
When it comes to being a supporting player in an ensemble, you won’t find many better than Colin Farrell. The actor, who just starred in Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen, excels at playing wild and entertaining characters surrounded by a stellar cast. Knives Out 2 provides just such an opportunity for Colin Farrell to prove how underrated he is once again.
The actor is currently working on The Batman, where he plays The Penguin and there will be no question about his guilt or innocence. In Knives Out 2, I could see him doing what he does so well, playing a quirky character where he gets to chew a massive amount of scenery. Or he could go deadly serious, which he's also quite capable of doing. Either way, watching Daniel Craig chase Colin Farrell is too good an opportunity to pass up.
The first Knives Out featured young actor Jaeden Martell, and it would be great if the sequel gave another young up-and-comer some time to shine. Someone who is really making a name for herself is actress Thomasin McKenzie. She has been acting for close to a decade now, but she really broke out recently with 2018’s Leave No Trace and last year’s Jojo Rabbit. She was heartbreaking as a young Jewish girl in hiding in Taika Waititi’s film.
That role had some humor, but a spot in the Knives Out 2 cast should allow for something different from Thomasin McKenzie than what we saw in the two aforementioned films. I wouldn’t expect her to be an alt-right troll like Jaeden Martell was in the first movie, but a part as the troublesome or precocious daughter of one of the more likely suspects sounds about right.
Hey, why not go big, right? One of the most delightful performances in Knives Out was that of Chris Evans. Coming off his long stint as quintessential Boy Scout Steve Rogers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Chris Evans played the sweater-wearing scumbag Ransom Thrombey in Rian Johnson’s whodunit. And spoiler alert, he dunnit. Knives Out 2 could feature a similar bit of casting where an actor plays against type to entertaining effect.
Tom Hanks is the Hollywood everyman, the ultimate good guy. I mean, he just got done playing Mister Rogers for goodness’ sake! So he would be a great addition to Knives Out 2 as the polar opposite of that. Let’s see him play a total dick here. He doesn’t have to be the villain, just a despicable character.
Kelly Marie Tran
While he was doing press for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson could not stop singing the praises of actress Kelly Marie Tran and how much he loved the character of Rose Tico in the film. Rose’s outing in a galaxy far, far away may not have been as memorable as Johnson's enthusiasm indicated, but that is in no way reflective of Kelly Marie Tran’s acting chops.
The actress deserves another film without the baggage of Star Wars, and given the great experience they had working together on The Last Jedi, one imagines Johnson would love to have her in Knives Out 2. She would be a great addition, perhaps as a character like Ana de Armas’ Marta, caught up in something she never intended and looking mighty guilty.
Pedro Pascal will play the villainous Maxwell Lord in this summer’s Wonder Woman 1984, and it would be fun to see him as another nefarious character in Rian Johnson’s next whodunnit. When he played the Red Viper on Game of Thrones, every scene he was in, no matter his scene partner, crackled with intensity and magnetism. Pedro Pascal excelled in that ensemble environment and could do so again in Knives Out 2.
Pedro Pascal has ‘mysterious character’ down pat, and he’d surely be an immediate suspect for whatever crime Benoit Blanc has to investigate in the Knives Out sequel. Watching The Mandalorian actor in a chess match with Daniel Craig would be an absolute blast.
Despite her character’s death in the first movie, Sigourney Weaver looks like she will be spending a lot of her time in Pandora for the Avatar sequels in the coming years. But presuming that she can secret away for a vacation from that lush alien paradise, she would make a great addition to Knives Out 2.
The three-time Oscar nominee’s credits and talents are well known, so there’s no need to rehash them here. But simply put, who wouldn’t want to see Sigourney Weaver as a murder suspect, confidently throwing barbs at her would-be accusers? I can see the actress filling a similar role as Jamie Lee Curtis did in Knives Out, depending on the story, of course.
I’ve seen this idea bandied about, so I can’t take credit for it, but Pierce Brosnan would be a really fun addition to Knives Out 2. The selling point, beyond simply adding talent in the form of the Irish actor, would be the opportunity of having two James Bond actors onscreen together. Timothy Dalton would also work in this capacity, but I think Brosnan is better known for the role given that he passed the 007 mantle to Daniel Craig.
Seeing these two onscreen together would be a delight, with Daniel Craig chewing scenery and Pierce Brosnan matching him, or going in the opposite direction and playing things incredibly serious. And given the playfulness of the first film, a Bond reference isn’t out of the question. I can definitely see Brosnan as a wealthy and powerful character who has a hand in the investigation and a vested interest in its outcome.
Helen Mirren is an acclaimed, Oscar-winning actress with plenty of roles in prestigious films to her name. But far from stuffy, she’s also an actress that clearly likes to have a lot of fun, as evidenced by her presence in the Fast & Furious franchise. And I have to think she would have a lot of fun opposite an ensemble of talented actors in Knives Out 2.
Helen Mirren could play a matriarch in a role similar to Christopher Plummer’s patriarch Harlan Thrombey. I could also see her being the person who hires Benoit Blanc to solve a mystery for her; one where her own role may be more than she lets on. Watching her spar with Daniel Craig and the other talented actors sure to fill out this cast would be a real treat.
John David Washington
This summer, John David Washington will take on his biggest role yet in Chrisopher Nolan’s hugely expensive blockbuster Tenet. But for now, most audiences probably know him for his role in BlacKkKlansman. That Spike Lee film mixed the serious with the hilarious to wonderful effect, and John David Washington excelled with his deadpan delivery. I think the talents he showed in that film would make him a great addition to Knives Out 2.
Rian Johnson’s Knives Out was a whodunit with humor and mystery in equal abundance and as we’ve seen, John David Washington can deliver in a movie with that kind of tone. I can see the actor playing the good guy, i.e. someone trying to help the investigation, but I would also love to see what he could do playing against type as a less likable character.
Frankly, these are just some ideas, and since we don’t know what the mystery of Knives Out 2 will be, there is a very good chance that this particular list of names wouldn’t fit together. Will the sequel be another family story or more like Murder on the Orient Express with a bunch of strangers on a train? Either way, the hope is that like the first film, Knives Out 2 brings together a great ensemble of actors from multiple generations and with different levels of fame, from young up-and-comers to established award-winners.
It sounds like Rian Johnson has grand ambitions for the cast of his sequel and there aren’t really any names that wouldn’t be exciting. Lily James? Yup. Joaquin Phoenix? Totally. Lena Headey? Yes please. Jeff Goldblum and Nicolas Cage? Absolutely. We can probably expect Rian Johnson’s collaborator Noah Segan to return, possibly as a different character, but other than that, the possibilities are endless.