The Next Knives Out Movie Needs to Go Full Agatha Christie

Rian Johnson's passion project should go classic golden age for its third chapter.


Rian Johnson had lofty post-Last-Jedi plans, and he made them happen. Even though his potential Star Wars trilogy is still in limbo, his passion projects have received acclaim. While his Peacock detective series Poker Face is gearing up for Season 2, his Netflix mystery movie series that began with Knives Out is teasing a third movie, and the newly announced title is teasing a shift in genre, a shift that should place it squarely against another murder-mystery labor of love.

Netflix recently announced the third movie in the Knives Out universe will be titled Wake Up, Dead Man. While we don’t know any specific details of the plot, recent breakout movie stars Cailee Spaeny and Josh O’Connor will star opposite Daniel Craig, once again reprising his role as the drawling detective Benoit Blanc. Check out the full title reveal video below.

The title is ripped from a U2 song (much like how the previous movies were ripped from Radiohead and Beatles songs), but the old-fashioned, almost Gothic font choice makes it seem that this mystery will be considerably darker than the others. While the new movie will certainly be set in the modern day — Benoit Blanc is a crack detective, not a time traveler — it looks like this film will be more retro than ever.

Wake Up Dead Man has the perfect opportunity to compete with yet another auteur’s passion project: Kenneth Branagh’s recent adaptations of Agatha Christie’s Poirot mysteries. Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile, and the recent A Haunting in Venice all positioned a strangely-accented detective (played by Branagh himself) as he solved murders among groups of well-off individuals, much like Benoit Blanc does.

The next Knives Out movie could hold its own against Kenneth Branagh’s Christie adaptations.

20th Century Studios

But until now, the Knives Out movies have taken a more modern approach to murder mysteries, borrowing just as much from 1970s mysteries like The Last of Sheila as from Agatha Christie stories like And Then There Were None. Wake Up Dead Man has the chance to draw entirely from the murder-mystery golden age and stand toe-to-toe with the Branagh movies even with a wholly original story.

Rian Johnson has already developed his own take on mysteries twice — once in movies and once in television. With this next project, he has the chance to prove how that model can stand up to one of the greatest writers of all time and one of the most beloved film series of the past decade.

Wake Up Dead Man: A Knives Out Mystery premieres on Netflix in 2025.

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