benoit blanc's backstory

If you were mesmerized by Daniel Craig‘s Southern detective Benoit Blanc in Knives Out and thought to yourself, “I really hope a possible sequel sheds more light on where that character came from,” I have some bad news. Writer/director Rian Johnson, who is hard at work on a follow-up that will reunite him with Craig, says he’s not interested in exploring Benoit Blanc’s backstory in future movies.

Benoit Blanc’s Backstory Will Seemingly Remain a Mystery

Aside from an offhanded mention that his police detective father once knew Christopher Plummer’s patriarch Harlan Thrombey, we don’t know very much about detective Benoit Blanc’s backstory. And it turns out that Rian Johnson plans to keep it that way. In a recent interview with Vulture, he explained why he has that outlook:

“Getting little tantalizing details are fun. But sometimes there’s a tendency to mistake backstory for character. Ultimately, it’s not that interesting. Especially with a murder-mystery, where you have a large number of suspects and only two hours to solve it. Real estate becomes incredibly precious. So the notion of taking even a few lines of dialogue for him to talk about where he grew up? I mean, who cares?”

It may come as no surprise, since I’m such a fan of Johnson’s approach to Knives Out (and his entire filmography, while we’re at it), but I agree that this is the right way to go in terms of sequels. Blanc is an intriguing guy, but Johnson has been very open about citing the mega-popular mystery writer Agatha Christie as his inspiration, and in her Poirot novels, her primary detective character is always essentially a supporting character who’s drawn into a mystery from the outside. He never dominates the character dynamics, instead always sitting back and observing as drama plays out, gathering clues based on lines he overhears and pieces of information he could never get if he made himself the center of attention at all times.

“This’ll be another Poirot novel,” Johnson told Vulture of his sequel. “This’ll be just like what Agatha Christie did. It’s disconnected from Knives Out. It’s just another case.”

Considering how much set-up and payoff goes in to making a satisfying murder mystery, it wouldn’t make much sense to pause and reflect on Blanc’s history…not for very long, anyway. Apologies to anyone who really, really wanted to know exactly how Blanc developed that wacky accent.

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