How The Pandemic And A 'Rich' Murder Mystery Tradition Inspired Glass Onion's Location

When "Knives Out" hit theaters in 2019, murder mystery fans were treated to the prototypical old English manor in America as its main setting. Many classic mysteries have taken place in these types of mansions, from the Agatha Christie novel "Crooked House" to "Clue," so it's probably no surprise the Thrombey family all congregated in a mansion that was definitely built in the 1900s.

However, that's not the same setting we'll be visiting in its upcoming sequel, "Glass Onion." Instead, we'll be vacationing on the beaches of Greece, where an eccentric billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) has gathered his friends for an elaborate murder-mystery party. Just how elaborate, you might ask? Someone's getting murdered for real, but nobody except the killer knows who did it. Perhaps that's why famed detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) has been invited to this luxurious locale, but why, exactly, is the party being held here? According to director Rian Johnson, it's a homage of sorts to other mainstays of the murder mystery subgenre.

"There's very much a rich tradition of destination murders," he said during a recent press conference held to promote the film. "'Evil Under the Sun,' 'Death on the Nile,' 'The Last of Sheila,' which is one of my favorite films, there's something to draw from in terms of the vacation and mystery, and so [I'm] tapping into that."

'The blues and yellows of Greece'

The visual contrast between "Knives Out" and "Glass Onion" are no coincidence. While the Thrombey manor felt untouched by time, Miles's house is extremely high-tech and modern. Rian Johnson said during the press conference that this new aesthetic was meant to signal a new shift for the burgeoning franchise. "It's kind of wanting this to be a whole different movie and signaling to the audience really clearly upfront," he elaborated. "Trading the browns of New England for the blues and yellows of Greece felt like a really obvious [choice]."

Given how meticulous of a writer and planner Johnson is, none of this should be surprising. He's proven time and time again that he's a filmmaker that wants to leave no stone unturned, from indie neo-noirs to big-budget science fiction. It's really cool hearing how deliberate this aesthetic was, but a big question still remains: Why specifically Greece? Well, that can easily be answered when you remember when "Glass Onion" was being written.

"I wrote the script in 2020 in the middle of lockdown," Johnson said, "So like a lot of us, I was sitting at home, kind of wishing I was on the Greek islands, so that might have something to do with it."

"Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery" will screen in theaters for one week starting November 23. After that run has concluded, it will arrive on Netflix on December 23.