When M. Night Shyamalan’s Split arrived in theaters, it’s fair to say that audiences probably didn’t expect a whole lot from it. Fans of the director’s early work were in for quite a surprise though when it was revealed that the film actually took place in the same cinematic universe as Unbreakable, with Bruce Willis’ David Dunn even showing up near the end to tie it all together. With the origin story for James McAvoy’s villain now out of the way, it’s time to start looking ahead to what comes next, and according to the director himself, that’ll be Unbreakable 2 (or Split 2 – a title hasn’t been chosen yet).
Details on what the sequel will involve are scarce, as you can imagine, but we know that Shyamalan already has an outline ready and will be working with both Disney and Universal to bring his vision to life. That’s hugely exciting, especially when you factor in a story which will bring Dunn face to face with both McAvoy’s Kevin aka The Horde and Samuel L. Jackson’s Mr. Glass. Yes, even though the latter was apparently sent off to a mental asylum at the end of Unbreakable, he’ll apparently be making a return in the sequel.
Confirming as much was Jackson himself, who recently spoke to Collider to promote his new film Kong: Skull Island. When asked how he first found out that Shyamalan would be doing a follow-up to his hit thriller, the actor said the following:
“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.’”
Jackson then spoke about Dunn going up against The Horde, noting that McAvoy would be an adequate foe, before adding that Elijah will have to break out of wherever he’s being held so he can get in on the fun, too:
“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’s hard to say how exactly Jackson’s character would factor into the battle between David and Kevin, but seeing all three of these characters on screen together promises to be a lot of fun. The biggest issue right now would seem to be with the rights, as Split came from Universal and Unbreakable belongs to Disney, but from what we’ve heard, the two studios may be partnering up to bring us the next chapter of this story. That hasn’t been made official just yet, of course, but there probably won’t be too much trouble in getting this one off the ground, given how profitable Split was.
Regardless of how it all ends up working out, we imagine that this will become a reality sooner rather than later. It’s clear that there’s still interest in an Unbreakable 2, even after all these years, and everyone involved seems down to do more (Shyamalan, Willis, Jackson, etc). As long as the hit and miss director doesn’t veer too far off the rails as he’s been known to do in the past, this could be the start of an exciting and unique new cinematic universe for audiences to get invested in.