‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’ ending, explained

Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc in 'Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery'
Photo via Netflix

The following article contains spoilers for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.

The sequel to Rian Johnson’s mystery film, Knives Out is finally here, as Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery has arrived in theaters, and it will be coming to Netflix in December 2022. If you remember the 2019 film, it followed the mystery behind the death of a beloved author. The sequel, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, follows the detective from that first film, Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) as he travels to an island after he was seemingly invited by the billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton). You can read our review of Glass Onion here.

Just like the first film, the mystery behind the sequel is quite complex. With its large cast of characters and no clear murder at the beginning of the film, it would be understandable not to grasp exactly what happened at the end of Glass Onion. So, let’s take a look at what the core mystery of the film was, which characters end up surviving the film, and who the bad guy of Glass Onion eventually turned out to be. 

How does Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery end?

glass onion a knives out mystery
Photo via Netflix

To fully understand how Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery ends, we need to briefly examine how the film began. Blanc starts on the verge of losing his sanity out of immense boredom, as he had not been involved in a good case in a while. He and our cast of characters, Claire Debella (Kathryn Hahn), Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom Jr.), Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson), Duke Cody (Dave Bautista), and Cassandra ‘Andi’ Brand (Janelle Monáe) all receive invitations to Bron’s island for a weekend away. Birdie brings along her assistant Peg (Jessica Henwick), while Duke brings along his girlfriend Whiskey (Madelyn Cline).

Their invitations were sent in the form of a seemingly elaborate puzzle box. Bron reveals that he has planned a murder mystery for the group only when they get to the island he is surprised that Blanc has shown up as he claims to not have sent him an invitation. He was not given a puzzle box as it is revealed in a flashback that Andi Brand turned up at Blanc’s apartment with the puzzle box in hand, only it was not Andi, it was her twin sister Helen Brand. Helen reveals that her sister was found dead in an apparent suicide, but that she had evidence that suggested one of the people on the island had killed her. 

Andi and Miles had created Alpha Industries together, although it was Andi’s idea upon which the company was based. But when Andi refused to agree to let the company fund his new dangerous and untested Hydrogen-based fuel, Klear, Miles took her to court and forced their friends to testify against her and claim that the company was not Andi’s idea. The people in the group were reliant on Bron’s immense fortune, as he funded their exploits whether it was Claire’s political career or Lionel’s research. So they had a vested interest in Miles staying successful, which was threatened when Andi found proof of the fact that she had started the company. 

When Andi turned up dead shortly after sending an email to them with a red envelope stuffed with the bar napkin she had used to write her idea, Helen assumed that one of them had killed her and made it look like a suicide. So she approached Blanc before her death was made public, and he convinced her to accompany him to the island as her dead sister so she could investigate and find some clues as to which of Andi’s former friends were responsible for her death. However, before they can figure it out, Duke is killed after drinking from a glass. 

Toward the end of the film, Helen is shot from behind some glass, but Blanc was unable to determine who the culprit was. However, unbeknownst to anyone else except for Blanc, Andi’s journal had saved her life and she was able to search the final area on the island that she had not yet searched, Bron’s room. While she is finding the bar napkin in Bron’s room, Blanc is busy stalling the others, summarizing the case, and finally telling us what happened to Andi. 

Blanc is able to deduce that Bron is not quite as smart as he tried to make himself look, as he spent the entire weekend making up words, and anything he did that was remotely clever was done by someone else. For example, the elaborate puzzle boxes were designed by someone else, the murder mystery that took Blanc two minutes to solve, which was supposed to take all weekend to solve, was written by Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn, and even the idea of killing Helen in the dark was stolen from Blanc earlier in the film when Blanc made explicit reference to a loaded gun in a dark room.

Photo via Lionsgate

Interestingly, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery seems to have more foreshadowing than its predecessor, neatly laying out most of its plot. Although it might just come across this way because we knew how Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) died in the first film fairly early on, which in retrospect could be considered a foreshadowing much more overt in nature. If you were paying attention, nearly every plot point had a little bit of foreshadowing in Glass Onion, from Bron shooting Helen in the dark to Duke’s death. At the start of the film, everybody is sprayed with what might be a fictional Covid-19 super-vaccination as an excuse to get everybody to take off their masks in the film. 

But when Duke is sprayed he asks if there is any pineapple in it because he “does not do pineapple.” Pineapple juice is what Bron ends up using to poison Duke’s drink later in the movie, killing him after Duke attempted to blackmail him. Duke’s phone kept beeping before he died, and he showed Bron what it was. But he did not reveal that it was a Google Alert sending him notifications about articles regarding Andi’s death. Duke had also revealed that Miles, in his extremely expensive and recognizable car, had almost run him over. At the time he covered Duke by saying that he had nearly gotten in an accident at Anderson Cooper’s party, but he was going to say that he almost hit him as he was leaving Andi’s house.

But sadly, Helen did not realize that the only evidence they had to prove any of this was the original bar napkin which she now had in her possession and which Miles was easily able to destroy. Because the others were not willing to speak up against Bron for fear of their money being cut off, Helen had nothing left to prove that he killed Andi. Blanc wanted Helen to get the justice she deserved so he slipped her a small sample of Klear, which after laying waste to all the expensive possessions in his mansion, she used to cause a chain reaction explosion as the island was being run off the experimental fuel. 

'Glass Onion' finds out its Rotten Tomatoes score
Photo via Lionsgate/Netflix

You could have easily thought that everybody still inside the mansion had perished in the explosion, but they all made it out alive. Helen had caused a major dent in his plans by using the Klear to destroy his mansion; she proved quite publicly that his new idea was going to ruin his company. Therefore, everyone who had a vested interest and lied for Bron in the trial could now do everything in their power to end his career and send him to prison for Andi’s death by lying and placing him at the scene of the crime. So at the end of the film, it seemed like Bron was heading to prison, while Duke had died, and everybody else would go on to live their lives, including our detective, Benoit Blanc.

So what does the ending mean for Knives Out 3? The same thing the ending of Knives Out meant for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, absolutely nothing. Netflix has already greenlit the third film in the franchise, securing the rights to the second and third films shortly after the first film was released. The film also does not have a post-credits scene to tease anything about the next film. As Benoit Blanc was the only character to appear in both Knives Out and Glass Onion, it is rather unlikely that any character from Glass Onion will appear in Knives Out 3. Although most of the characters are public figures in the Knives Out universe, so you could easily fit one of them in for a fun cameo, like Claire running for President on a television in the background. 

With that being said the ending of Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery did not need to set up a third film, as all they need to do is set up another fun mystery for Benoit Blanc in a different setting with different characters. If it is anything like the first two films, it will undoubtedly be successful. Catch Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery when it comes to Netflix on Dec. 23, 2022.