Daniel Craig in Benoit Blanc looking shocked in Glass Onion
(Netflix)

What Is With Rian Johnson Collecting the Avengers in ‘Knives Out’ Movies!?

The Knives Out movies are known for their larger than life casts, and it seems like Wake Up Dead Man is no different. Our favorite actors all get to be part of a murder mystery! But they also all seem to have one thing in common: the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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Rian Johnson’s murder mystery universe is fascinating to unpack. He’s using a typical detective story, made famous by authors like Agatha Christie, but with the flair of an all-star cast, and Wake Up Dead Man has a lot riding on it. It also has an Avenger in it, and fans are instantly wondering if that’s who the killer is.

When Knives Out hit theaters in 2019, fans were obsessed with Chris Evans’ first post-Captain America movie. Playing Ransom Drysdale, Evans was flexing his acting chops as the rich brat grandson of Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). Harlan was found dead, and Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) came in to investigate the murder. Ransom had tried to kill his grandfather (who ended up killing himself), but he was taken in for the death of Fran in the process.

Then came Glass Onion, when Miles Bron (Edward Norton) invited his friends, who called themselves the “Disruptors,” to his island to all play games together and solve Bron’s “murder.” The reality was that Blanc was there to solve the murder of Andi Brand (Janelle Monáe) with the help of her twin sister, Helen (Monáe again). Miles was behind Andi’s death, and Blanc figured it out (while the Mona Lisa was destroyed in the process).

Now comes Wake Up Dead Man, and fans are instantly side-eying the latest casting of Jeremy Renner.

To be fair, there have been other Marvel actors in these films.

Rian Johnson loves a Marvel actor

Knives Out was, seemingly, the only one of these movies with just one Marvel actor. Chris Evans was the Avengers representation (for now), and it wasn’t that much of a question. But then came Glass Onion, and outside of Norton (remember when he was the Hulk back in 2008?), the cast included Kathryn Hahn (who was Agatha Harkness in WandaVision), Dave Bautistia (who is known for playing Drax in The Guardians of the Galaxy movies), and Jessica Henwick (who was in Iron Fist). You could even go further and point out that Ethan Hawke (who was in Moon Knight) was in the movie, and Natasha Lyonne was playing herself, but she’ll be in the Fantastic Four movie.

That’s a lot of actors who have taken a dive into the MCU. So, you’d think, “Well, that’s just because the MCU is large,” but now he’s done it again with Glenn Close and Jeremy Renner in Wake Up Dead Man. To be fair, Glenn Close was 100% cast because of Johnson’s love of Sunset Boulevard, but still.

Does this mean that Johnson is just slowly collecting actors from the MCU for his Infinity Gauntlet? If the next announcement is Josh Brolin or Zoe Saldaña, I am starting a conspiracy theory that he’s just building his own MCU.

For now, know that we all are instantly wary of whoever it is that Jeremy Renner is playing.


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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.