It was supposed to be a decadent weekend away for the elites, so rich and powerful that they could escape the fears and pandemic of COVID-19 to party on a private island in Greece. There, under the glow of the titular Glass Onion, tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton) has engineered a methodically plotted murder-mystery game. All of the guests are invited into the twisted fun. Just ignore Derol.
Written and directed by Rian Johnson, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is as jam-packed with clues and red herrings as its hit predecessor. But even as its complicated case comes to a close, you might be wondering about Miles Bron’s party-crasher Derol. Ready to solve that puzzle?
What was Derol doing in Glass Onion?
On one level, Derol is a running joke. While Miles waxes poetic about the glorious exclusivity that his wealth has afforded, in wanders some presumably couch-surfing dude who is only referred to as Derol. Over the course of the movie, Derol pops up to puncture the affluent self-importance of a scene or to hang out with the world’s premiere detective, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig).
And sure, it’s funny. Johnson, who uses Knives Out and its sequel to satirize the absurdities of America’s one percent, might even intend Derol as another lampoon of this lavish lifestyle: the happy-go-lucky hanger-on. BoJack Horseman had Todd. O.J. Simpson had Kato Kaelin. Miles Bron has Derol. In every affluent ascent, a little schleppy sidekick must fall.
But beyond these bemusements, Derol is an Easter egg for long-time Johnson fans.
Derol is the Noah Segan cameo.
Credit: John Wilson/Netflix
Having appeared in over 70 films and television shows, Segan is a prolific performer. He’s also in every one of Rian Johnson’s feature films. Though sometimes, if you blink, you’ll miss him, as with his uncredited cameo in the Breaking Bad episode “Ozymandias” — which Johnson directed, natch.
It all began with Johnson’s feature film debut, 2005’s Brick, an indie neo-noir in which Segan played a bad boy rival to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s teen detective. For Johnson’s sophomore effort, The Brothers Bloom, Segan snagged a small role as The Duke. In the sci-fi Western Looper, which pitted Gordon-Levitt against Bruce Willis, Segan played a snarling foe called Kid Blue. To this day, that’s Segan’s Twitter handle.
In Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi, you might spot Segan as X-Wing pilot Stomeroni Starck. Then, in Knives Out, he played Trooper Wagner, the overeager cop partnered with LaKeith Stanfield’s stern Lieutenant Elliott. And now, Segan returns to the Benoit Blanc Cinematic Universe as a new character, tucked away behind a bushy beard and slacker chic.
Over the years, Segan’s cameos have become part of the director’s signature, even as Johnson rises through the ranks of Hollywood — similar to how Sam Raimi works in appearances from his old pal Bruce Campbell (who starred in Raimi’s cult classic The Evil Dead). Such loyalty is winsome outside of the films, and it also makes for a fun nod to fans.
So, longtime Johnson admirers might keep their eyes peeled for the character actor with the charmingly crooked grin. And as Segan’s officially kicked off his own directing career with a vignette in the horror anthology Scare Package and the vampire-comedy Blood Relatives (which hits Shudder Nov. 22), Johnson has proved some help, scoring a “thanks” in the credits of each.
Now, if you really want a challenge, can you pick out the Joseph Gordon-Levitt cameo in Glass Onion?
The Glass Onion is in theaters Nov. 23 to Nov. 29, then comes to Netflix on Dec. 23.