‘Glass Onion’ on Netflix: Ending Explained, Celebrity Cameos, Burning Questions
Warning: Spoilers for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery ahead.
After a short passage in theaters back in November, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is now streaming on Netflix (read our full review here). And this onion does not make many people cry. As of Wednesday, Glass Onion is the streaming service’s top film, and it earned a “universal acclaim” rating on Metacritic and a new certified rating of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Here are the answers to some of the questions people have about the film, its twist-filled ending, and the celebrity cameos and other Easter eggs dropped along the way.
Glass Onion ending explained
Here come the spoilers.
In a very Agatha Christie setup, a group of friends reunite on a remote Greek island for a weekend getaway. They stay in a mansion with a domed glass top dubbed the Glass Onion.
Elon Musk-esque billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) reunited the group of old friends, supposedly to solve his own murder, but somehow Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) pulled it off an invitation. Blanc foils the fake murder that Miles had staged, and then the real murders seem to begin. The Armed Duke (Dave Bautista) drinks from Miles’ glass and dies shortly after. And Miles Andi’s (Janelle Monae) former business partner appears to have been shot. (Except the bullet lodged in a newspaper she was carrying in front and she’s fine.)
But it’s a meandering film, and viewers soon learn that Andi died before the island getaway, supposedly by suicide. Her twin sister, Helen, however, is convinced the death involved foul play. So she keeps her sister’s death a secret and goes on a journey pretending to be her twin to try to dig deeper and solve the murder. She hires White to pretend he got an invite and introduce herself.
Turns out everyone had a motive for killing Andi. She and Miles started a tech company, Alpha, based on a business strategy Andi sketched out on a napkin at their favorite bar, the Glass Onion. Miles copied the napkin sketch and claimed it was his idea, and the others all lied in court to support his claim because he was helping them financially. But some time later, Andi found her original napkin sketch, which unlike the copy, has Glass Onion’s logo on its napkin, proving that hers was the original. She foolishly alerted all of the friends to her discovery, so technically all of them had a reason to want her dead (since they all lied in court, a fact that could seriously damage their reputations if he came out).
The killer ends up being Miles, of course, who offended his ex-partner and tried to pass it off as suicide. Duke later told Miles he knew about the murder, and that explains why Miles killed him – by putting pineapple juice, something Duke is allergic to, in his drink. (Apparently, pineapple allergy reactions can indeed be deadly.)
Miles manages to burn the most important towel, prompting an outraged “Andi” (who is really Helen) to smash all of his glass statues, the other guests who secretly hate and resent Miles eventually join the destruction party . Alpha’s big new product is a hydrogen fuel called Klear, and Miles is pushing it despite knowing it’s dangerous. Andi left the company because of this. Blanc gives Helen a vengeful piece of Klear, and she blasts the Glass Onion with it.
Which wouldn’t be so bad if Miles hadn’t rented the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in Paris, saying the museum was closed due to COVID-19 and that “France needed the money” (yes, that’s like that he is rich). The museum insisted the painting be behind fireproof glass, but Miles installed a waiver. Helen hits priority order and we all see the world’s most famous work of art melt down. The final scene shows police boats heading for the island as all the other guests swear to turn on Miles, now exposed as a murderous double and the man who destroyed the Mona Lisa.
Glass Onion Celebrity Cameos
The cast is pretty star-studded, with Kate Hudson, Leslie Odom Jr., Kathryn Hahn, Norton, and Craig among the cast. But there are some fun cameos to watch out for.
“Among Us” Celebrity Appeal
Early on, Blanc is seen in the bath playing the Among Us game with four pals via an online call. These buddies aren’t just regular people, they’re actress Angela Lansbury, basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, songwriter Stephen Sondheim, and actress Natasha Lyonne. (Unfortunately, Lansbury and Sondheim have died since the filming of the film.)
Hey, if Miles can afford to rent the Mona Lisa in this world, he can also afford to keep tennis icon Serena Williams on call as a virtual personal trainer. She appears on a large video screen and tries to get White to work.
Hugh Grant doesn’t have a big role, but we see him briefly as someone who answers the door at Blanc’s (partner? friend?). Like many others, he apparently spent the pandemic in the kitchen cooking.
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma appears early on as a guest at a wild chichi party. Her musical knowledge helps Kate Hudson’s character, Birdie, figure out how to solve the puzzle box that contains her invitation to Bron Island.
Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt is heard, but not seen. Miles has a kind of clock that announces a “bong!” musical! every hour, and Gordon-Levitt says the word.
Actor Ethan Hawke has a brief and odd scene as Bron’s employee. He injects a magical COVID-19 preventative (or something?) into each guest’s mouth before boarding a boat to the island, allowing them to remove their masks and unleashing the intrigue of have to address pandemic precautions. Still, there are plenty of references to “pando” and how he kept everyone inside for far too long.
Where was the film shot?
Bron takes his friends to his supposed “private island” in Greece. Production designer Rick Heinrichs told Conde Nast Traveler that these scenes were filmed at a luxury resort called Amanzoe, located near Porto Heli, with other scenes filmed on the Greek island of Spetses. (Maggie Gyllenhaal’s 2021 film The Lost Daughter was also filmed in Spetses.)
The film’s opening night scene was shot in Belgrade, Serbia, the film’s costume designer Jenny Eagan told Men’s Health. And Heinrichs confirmed that Serbia has a lot of love for Glass Onion, saying, “Anything in New York or the Northeast was created in Serbia.”
Can the rich really rent the Mona Lisa?
In the film, Miles Bron pays a lot of money to the Louvre Museum in Paris to borrow the famous Mona Lisa painting. The 500-year-old masterpiece has indeed left the Louvre several times, but not at the whim of a wealthy man who wanted to hang it in his Greek pleasure palace.
During World War II, the French moved it to various locations to protect it from the Nazis. Before that, in 1911, it was stolen, only to be found when one of the thieves tried to sell it.
The Mona Lisa was also exhibited in Washington DC and New York in 1962 at the request of then First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. He left the museum for the last time
In 2019, Louvre director Jean-Luc Martinez said the museum would not include the painting in a traveling exhibition of French masterpieces because it is simply too fragile.
But the paint has a very protective setup, just like in Glass Onion. Since 2005, it has been suspended in a temperature-controlled box, behind bulletproof glass.
Glass Onion Ice Cream Really Exists
Not really. Van Leeuwen Ice Cream made a Glass Onion ice cream flavor. (You can buy it online to ship it to you with dry ice.) The flavor honors the film by mixing vanilla ice cream with Greek yogurt for Greek decor, honeycomb candy for a glassy crunch and a swirl of bourbon caramelized onion jam. I tasted it, and even though the onion smell is immediately disturbing, the cooked onions are so sweet that it’s…almost OK?
The Beatles Connection to Glass Onion
In the film, “the glass onion” refers to the giant glass dome of Miles Bron’s Greek mansion. Beatles fans, of course, know the title as a 1968 song from the band’s famous White Album. Johnson knew he wanted a glass-related track and told Deadline that when he searched for the word “glass” in his phone’s music app, The Beatles’ Glass Onion popped up and he was inspired. The song plays over the closing credits.
“But I was always surprised, when I was showing the script, how many people didn’t know it was a Beatles song,” Johnson said. “I thought everyone knew about Glass Onion, but I guess that’s not the case.”
There is another reference to the Beatles. In Bron’s first scene, he attempts to play the song by the band Blackbird on guitar and claims that the instrument he is using is the one Paul McCartney wrote the song on. He then hugs Birdie and casually throws the guitar on the beach as she looks horrified.
Will there be a sequel to Glass Onion?
Glass Onion itself is kind of a sequel. Daniel Craig’s detective character Benoit Blanc first appeared on Knives Out in 2019, although the rest of the cast is new. Netflix picked up two sequels to Knives Out, so expect another crime thriller from Blanc, likely with an all-new cast, to appear eventually. Director Rian Johnson told Deadline he knows he’ll have to keep the franchise fresh and not just rehash the first two movies. There is no release date or title yet.
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