This story contains spoilers for M. Night Shyamalan’s Split.
With a string of ill-received films like Lady in the Water, The Happening, The Last Airbender and After Earth, it’s easy to see why so many moviegoers – including our own Michael Hinman – may have lost faith in director M. Night Shyamalan.
The once-promising director of The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable has experienced one of the most dramatic rise-and-fall tales of any filmmaker in recent memory. But the 2015 release of The Visit appeared to set the stage for a comeback.
That $5 million horror film went on to earn an impressive $98 million worldwide, attracting mostly positive critical notices.
However, it’s Shyamalan’s current film, Split, which truly has confirmed the director’s ascent back to the A-list, thanks to a $40.2 million opening weekend. In fact, Shyamalan and star James McAvoy were recently chatting up sequel possibilities with Empire.
A post-credits scene in Split reveals the film actually is a backdoor sequel to Unbreakable, with Bruce Willis briefly reprising his role as modern-day superhero David Dunn from that 2000 film. Just as that film was Dunn’s origin story, Split introduces audiences to McAvoy’s villainous Kevin Wendell Crumb, a killer with 24 different personalities.
The implication is that the two are set to face off in a subsequent film. And according to Shyamalan, that appears to be the plan.
“However you want to look at it … Maybe it’s a new format – this movie, this movie and a final movie.
“I’m writing the outline now. It’s weird. It’s long. It’s the longest outline I’ve ever had. It has so many characters. I hope if Split is a success, I’ll have the opportunity to finish the story. I want to finish it. So this is the third one.”
Considering the fact that Split already is a box office success, it likely won’t be long before Shyamalan is able to enter production on the untitled Unbreakable 3/Split 2, which probably won’t bear either of those titles. Reports have indicated the film will be his very next project, although it remains to be seen if Samuel L. Jackson – who co-starred alongside Willis in Unbreakable, as the super-villain Mr. Glass – also will be returning to share the screen with Willis and McAvoy.
Nonetheless, it’s an exciting time for longtime fans who refused to give up hope Shyamalan could one day earn redemption. Over the years, fans have developed a growing appreciation for Unbreakable, leading to years of rumors and dashed hopes that a sequel might really be in the works.
Now that it appears to be happening, let the fans begin to speculate about what exactly this final installment in one of cinema’s most unconventional film trilogies has to offer.
Robert Yaniz Jr.
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