This story contains spoilers for M. Night Shyamalan’s Split. If you don’t want to be spoiled, then there’s always some news about the upcoming Lion King remake.
With Split‘s $175 million worldwide gross (and counting), it’s safe to say the $9 million psychological horror flick has heralded the return of M. Night Shyamalan as a creative force in the industry.
The new film could set up something even bigger, as it is ultimately revealed to be a follow-up to the director’s cult favorite Unbreakable.
Now Samuel L. Jackson – who starred alongside Bruce Willis in the 2000 film – has hinted a direct sequel is moving forward.
In Unbreakable, Jackson played Elijah Price, an enigmatic comic book art dealer with a strong belief in the existence of extraordinary people. Over the course of the film, it is revealed Elijah has been orchestrating large-scale disasters – including the train crash which reveals Willis’ David Dunn has supernatural abilities – and is committed to a mental institution.
Now that Split‘s Kevin Wendell Crumb, as played by James McAvoy, has emerged with powers of his own, the stage appears to be set for the three characters to collide in a third film.
Talking with Collider, Jackson shared his reaction to Split and expressed his own interest in reprising the role of Elijah for an Unbreakable/Split sequel.
“I got a call and (Shyamalan) said, ‘Call me. I wanna talk to you about something.’ And I called him, because I always do when I get a message from him always hoping (it’s Unbreakable 2), and he said, ‘I just did this film called Split, I want you to see it,’ and I was like, ‘OK, I’m down with that.’
“I had no idea what Split was about or anything else, and he said, ‘We’ll talk after you see it.’ So I went to the arranged screening, and I called him immediately and was like, ‘OK dude, does this mean what I think it means?’ and he was like, ‘Well first we gotta see how the movie does.’ And I think the movie’s done well enough now to merit the ‘OK, let’s put this together.’
“I think (McAvoy’s character) is an adequate foe for what Bruce’s Unbreakable character is in terms of him being sort of unbreakable too in that kind of way, and me having found now – (expletive), that would be two people that Elijah would look at and go, ‘Why are they so this and I’m so this on this end of the spectrum?’
“It’s just a matter of breaking my ass out of wherever that mental institution was they had me locked up and let’s get it on. Let’s see what happens!”
So it appears all three of the proposed film’s leads – Willis, McAvoy and now Jackson – are interested in coming back for another round of Shyamalan’s particular brand of comic book-esque storytelling. We already knew the director is actively developing a sequel, but now it seems even more likely to come together in the very near future.
At this early stage, it’s unclear exactly how this third film would balance all three characters, or even which one would be the protagonist, although Jackson’s implication about how Elijah might feel a renewed sense of purpose following the events of Split makes sense.
Shyamalan’s films have long been shrouded in mystery. After all, he just sprang a surprise pseudo-sequel to Unbreakable on moviegoers 17 years after the film’s initial release, despite years of fans clamoring for more. So it’s probable that we might not know much about his next project until it arrives in theaters.
Of course, that won’t stop us for overanalyzing every bit of detail we receive.
Robert Yaniz Jr.
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