Rian Johnson Explains Why Glass Onion Takes Place During The Pandemic

One of the most memorable early moments is the scene where Ethan Hawke’s character shoots what appears to be some sort of advanced, early COVID vaccine into every characters’ mouths. “You’re good,” Hawke’s character says, and everyone’s given permission to take their masks off for the rest of the vacation. When asked what was in that spray gun, Johnson answered: “It was probably bleach… horse tranquilizer probably. I guarantee that none of those people were actually safe from COVID. That should’ve been the end tag, Blanc coming home and getting a positive test.”

It’s an answer that fits in perfectly with the message the movie’s making, that the eccentric mysterious billionaire class isn’t actually as smart or impressive as they might seem to be from the outside. As Johnson put it, back before vaccines became widely available, “We all assumed that, I don’t know, that the rich people had the vaccine… There were stories going around, it was kind of taken for granted I think.” The idea that this supposed secret vaccine was another failure, just like nearly everything Miles Bron (Edward Norton) attempts to do, just feels right for this film. 

With the first “Knives Out” being set in 2019, and the second one set clearly in 2020, will the third film be set in 2021, or a little later? Either way, we know that Rian Johnson will be turning each movie into a commentary on contemporary culture, just like Agatha Christie was doing in all of her mysteries. As for the exact type of mystery the story will focus on? That’s anyone’s guess. 

“Glass Onion” is streaming on Netflix now. 

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