TV & Movies

10 Easter Eggs You May Have Missed In Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

From clever callbacks to blink-and-you’ll-miss-them references.

Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc in 'Glass Onion.'
John Wilson/Netflix

Spoiler Warning: This post contains spoilers for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, the follow-up to his smash hit Knives Out (2019), is finally streaming on Netflix. Set during the 2020 lockdown, the film follows Daniel Craig’s detective Benoit Blanc as he gets wrapped up in another whodunit filled with eccentric characters. This time, he’s off to Greece to attend a murder mystery party-turned-actual murder mystery set up by billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton).

Glass Onions all-star cast features Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista, Kathryn Hahn, Leslie Odom Jr., and Janelle Monáe. Hudson plays a clueless fashion designer named Birdie Jay who has fallen from grace; Bautista is a right-wing men’s rights advocate named Duke Cody; Hahn is Claire Debella, a politician in the middle of a campaign; Odom Jr. plays Lionel Toussaint, a scientist with questionable morals; and Monáe plays a dual role of Andi, Miles’s former business partner, and Andi’s twin sister Helen. The film also features fun cameos from the likes of Hugh Grant and Ethan Hawke.

But that’s just the broad strokes. The film is chockfull of twists, red herrings, and easter eggs that reveal details about the plot and the characters. How many did you catch?

1. The Beatles Reference In The Title

The film’s title comes from a song by The Beatles, which was originally credited to Lennon-McCartney in the hopes that it would stop fans from reading too closely into the band’s lyrics. Johnson likely also wants to warn his audience against engaging in the same behavior — particularly now, when the internet searches for meaning in even the most mundane topics.

Johnson landed on the title both by design and serendipity. “I literally got out my iPhone and searched my music library with the word ‘glass,’” Johnson told Netflix Tudum in August. “There's got to be some good glass songs. I was like, ‘Oh, is it a glass fortress? Is it a glass castle? Is it a glass man?’ The first thing that came up, because I'm a huge Beatles fan, is ‘Glass Onion.’”

Knives Out was named after a Radiohead song, so it’s very possible that Benoit Blanc’s future adventures will also reference legendary bands.

2. The Meaning Behind The Masks

When all of the disparate personalities arrive in Greece, some seem less interested in lockdown protocol than others. In her Variety Actors on Actors panel, Hudson revealed this was by design. “The masks in this movie are an Easter egg as to who all these people are. Each person, in the way they wear their mask, is really who they are,” she said.

It all rings true: Blanc wears a legitimate cloth mask that the CDC would approve of, while Bautista’s character wears no mask at all. Hudson’s character, hilariously, wears a netted mask that does absolutely nothing to prevent the spread of a virus and has no purpose besides looking chic. (Lana Del Rey fans will remember that the singer wore a similar mask in 2020 — though it isn’t clear if Hudson’s costume was intended to reference Del Rey.)


3. A Rothko Painting Is Hung Upside Down

There are many hints throughout the film that Miles is not as much of a genius as he makes himself out to be — and one of them involves a highly-valued painting. Johnson told that one of the expensive Rothko paintings on set was intentionally hung upside down. “I showed up and there was the big Rothko painting,” he said in the interview. “But of course, it's Edward's character, Miles. So, I said, 'Can we turn it upside down?' So, it's actually upside down [laughs]. A joke for the art nerds.”

4. Joseph Gordon-Levitt And Noah Segan Make Appearances

The voice of the “dong” that erupts across the island every hour belongs to none other than Joseph Gordon-Levitt . Gordon-Levitt and Johnson are frequent collaborators, and while working on their upcoming Peacock series Poker Face, Johnson simply asked him to do him a favor and record the word “dong” really loudly. “In the script, it's written as, I think, the ‘hourly gong,’” Johnson told ET. “One time, when everybody was saying it, [Joseph] said it wrong and said the 'hourly dong.' And I said, ‘That's it, it's the hourly dong now.’” Gordon-Levitt also appeared in a small voice role in Knives Out.

WWD/Penske Media/Getty Images

Elsewhere, Johnson’s longtime friend Noah Segan plays Derol, a random friend of Miles’ who is hiding out on the Greek island. Derol is a red herring styled after Kato Kaelin, a witness in the OJ Simpson trial who happened to be staying in Simpson’s guest house on the night of the murders. “The notion of having a Kato Kaelin-type guy who's hanging out on the island, and to get Noah out there and hanging out with us in Greece — I'll never pass up that opportunity,” Johnson told Entertainment Weekly.

5. The Star-Studded Online Game

When we first see Blanc in Glass Onion, he’s not dealing with the lockdown particularly well. He’s confined to a tub for a day-long bath and is forced to use his detective skills for a silly online game that many will recognize: Among Us. But Benoit isn’t just playing by himself; he has a star-studded group of gamers alongside him who all have ties to the mystery genre, including Natasha Lyonne, who will star in Poker Face alongside Gordon-Levitt; the late Angela Lansbury, best known for her starring role on Murder She Wrote; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who starred in the murder mystery film Fletch; and the late Stephen Sondheim, who wrote many musicals including the murder mystery The Last of Sheila.

It was a treat for Johnson to round up all of these stars, but working with Lansbury was especially special for the director. “Getting to meet them, getting to tell Angela Lansbury what her work meant to me, telling her about watching the filmed version of Sweeney Todd that was on cable when I was a kid and how that really kind of started me loving musical theater... It felt like a very special privilege to get to do that,” Johnson told ET.


6. The Fake Murder Mystery Foreshadows The Real One

One of the funniest moments occurs early in the film, when Benoit Blanc guesses the entire fake murder plot before the game even begins. Miles is upset by this, saying that he’d spent a lot of time setting up the mystery. (This, of course, isn’t true — he later reveals that he hired Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn to write the game for him.)

Later, we find out that Miles often takes credit for things he did not do, including the wildly successful company he claims to have created alone, but actually stole from his business partner Andi.

Insider also pointed out that the answers to both mysteries are hidden in plain sight: In the fake game, Birdie Jay’s necklace holds the key. In the real mystery, the crucial napkin is on display in Miles’s office.

7. Cain’s Jawbone Hints At The Film’s Structure

While Benoit Blanc is laying in the tub, the puzzle book Cain’s Jawbone is laid out nearby. The book asks readers to figure out the order of the story’s events, foreshadowing that the film also won’t be told in chronological order.

8. Alpha & Omega

Miles’ company is named “Alpha,” but Insider points out that there are many images of the Greek letter Omega scattered throughout the film (on the boat that brings the gang to the island, and on Toussaint’s lapel later in the film). The letters Alpha and Omega are the beginning and end of the Greek alphabet, respectively, and the inclusion of Omega could symbolize impending doom for Miles’ empire — or perhaps Andi’s contributions to the company, which Miles has worked to hide.

9. Gravity’s Rainbow Appears Again

In Knives Out, Blanc references Thomas Pynchon’s 760-page opus Gravity’s Rainbow to Ana de Armas’s character Marta, joking that no one has ever read the book. The title appears again in the sequel in a clever way: in the hands of Serena Williams, as she waits patiently for someone to virtually train with her.

10. Miles’ Costuming Reveals His Unoriginality

In flashbacks, Miles is seen dressed like people we recognize. For example, when he and Andi argue over using the Klear Hydrogen technology, he looks like Steve Jobs in a black turtleneck and blue jeans.

In another, he’s dressed like Tom Cruise’s T.J. Mackey — a motivational speaker character in the 1999 film Magnolia — with shoulder-length hair and a black leather vest over a velvet shirt. Johnson confirmed it was Norton’s idea to channel T.J. Mackey, in order play into the idea that Miles was so unoriginal, he’d even copy a movie character. “He and Jenny Eagan, our costume designer, came up with the look and I had no idea," Johnson told Insider. “I started cracking up. But then I thought, 'Is this too much?' I also thought, ‘What is Paul [Thomas Anderson, director of Magnolia] going to think of this?’ Hopefully he takes it in the right spirit.”