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Rian Johnson Purposely Wrote Benoit Blanc As A Blank Slate

"Knives Out" was a movie that came at the perfect time for Daniel Craig and Rian Johnson. The massive hit gave Craig a new franchise to move into as he was preparing to wrap up his time as James Bond and Rian Johnson got a world he could explore after his divisive take on "Star Wars" with "The Last Jedi."

Following a detective named Benoit Blanc (Craig) as he investigates the death of a famous novelist and patriarch of a spoiled family, Craig got plenty of moments to shine. Still, it was truly an ensemble piece with shades of Agatha Christie and Johnson's humorous spin. Joining Craig were everyone from Chris Evans to Jamie Lee Curtis to Don Johnson, and part of the film's appeal is that each character in the massive cast is given some room to breathe and stand out.

After the success of "Knives Out," Netflix acquired the rights to two sequels in a massive deal costing north of $400 million (per Variety). The first of those sequels, "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery," finds Blanc back investigating a new case and surrounded by an expansive cast of characters, played by Edward Norton, Kate Hudson, and others.

According to Johnson, one of the secrets to this franchise's success was underwriting his main detective.

Rian Johnson never looked at Benoit Blanc as his main character

Most of what we learn about Benoit Blanc is through his work. Daniel Craig channels his inner Southern gentlemen detective — or his inner 'Detective KFC,' as Chris Evans' Ransom observed. Rian Johnson explained while promoting "Glass Onion" that he kept Blanc as a blank slate compared to the rest of the ensemble, feeling making the detective the main character of a mystery story was a mistake he sees too often.

"It's a mistake of the genre to think that your detective is your main character. Benoit Blanc is the constant North Star of all of these movies. But you have to think of him as the detective, not as the central character," Johnson told Entertainment Weekly. The filmmaker further explained that the dramatic stakes never belong to Benoit, putting more emphasis on the suspects and the central crime Benoit is attempting to solve.

In the same first look at "Glass Onion" with EW, Craig revealed he's in sync with Johnson's thinking about Benoit. The actor said something like a Benoit origin doesn't interest him as he enjoys playing with the character's ambiguity. Johnson previously said when promoting "Knives Out" back in 2019 that he originally wrote Blanc with far more eccentric details but ended up pulling much of it out.

"I stepped back, I stripped all the eccentricities out, I gave him a Southern accent — figuring it'd help him be a fish out of water amongst these New England WASPs," he told EW.