If you’re not familiar with M.Night Shyamalan’s filmography, particularly his 2000 release Unbreakable, beware of spoilers ahead!
As many of you know by now, the recently released Split is actually set in the same universe as Unbreakable. This was revealed through a cameo at the end of the film where Bruce Willis’ character David Dunn appeared and referenced Samuel L. Jackson’s Mr. Glass. He was able to forge both the origins of a superhero and super-villain in the original film – affecting the events of Split. Shyamalan is ready to make a true sequel to both films which would feature James McAvoy’s Kevin Wendell Crumb appearing alongside the original duo from Unbreakable.
The sequel wouldn’t work if everyone wasn’t involved, so Shyamalan made sure to get Jackson on board. In an interview with Collider at the Kong: Skull Island junket, Jackson revealed how he discovered that Split was actually a film disguised as an Unbreakable 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 Unbreakable2], 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.’”
The film did well enough that rival studios Universal and Disney are both in talks to make the sequel a reality. Disney let Universal use Willis’ character as a stepping stone towards something more profitable and it’s clearly worked out. On the actual logistical side, the film has managed to make over $170 million at the box office.
Speaking on the film itself, Jackson commented that he thinks McAvoy’s Kevin is a worthy opponent,
“I think he’s 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—fuck, 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!”
It seems very likely that we’ll get a true sequel sooner rather than later, especially because Universal and Disney would likely want to capitalize on the success of Split as soon as possible. When asked when he thinks the sequel will come out, Jackson had this to say,
“I would look at the box office receipts from a film that cost what it cost him to make that movie and the success of that particular film in the form of saying, I think that might move forward.”
Split, directed by M. Night Shyamalan stars James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley, and Bruce Willis. Thus far, it has made over $170 million at the box office and continues to have great footing.