This post contains SPOILERS for Split
For a while there, it looked like M. Night Shyamalan’s career had taken a nose dive that no one could possibly recover from. Surprisingly, the writer/director did dig himself out of the hole with the fairly well-reviewed The Visit in 2015 and even more so with this year’s massively successful James McAvoy starrer Split.
A lot of the buzz surrounding the film has to do with the surprise twist ending that revealed that the film is a sequel of sorts to Shyamalan’s 2000 film, Unbreakable. Split is actually an origin story for McAvoy’s villain whose 24th split personality, The Horde, is super-powered in a similar way to Bruce Willis’ David Dunn. Shyamalan has previously mentioned he plans on creating a third film and alluded to an already completed an 11-page outline for it in a tweet.
Taking to Twitter, the director has revealed that he has begun writing his next project having completed. Just like the tweet regarding the completion of the outline, however, this new one doesn’t spell out exactly what he’s writing. Check out the tweet below:
First week of writing the first draft of the new screenplay. 20pages. As per my ritual, I'm reading an Elmore Leonard novel to be inspired.— M. Night Shyamalan (@MNightShyamalan) March 13, 2017
Previously, he had hashtagged #Split in his tweet whereas this one doesn’t feature any clue as to what he’s actually writing. It is pretty unlikely that he wrote a comprehensive 11-page outline of a sequel to both Unbreakable and Split, announced his desire to write a third film to conclude the story, and then decided to write something completely different. We also don’t know what shape this film will take since Split was an unusual sequel and Shyamalan has already hinted that the third film in the trilogy may not be what audiences are expecting.
An Unbreakable trilogy has long been discussed as a possibility with even Patton Oswalt previously pitching an idea before Split was even announced. Now that a third film is almost certainly on the way, the pressure is on Shyamalan to deliver not only a compelling sequel, but a satisfactory conclusion to the series as well. The writer/director has proved he can still deliver a compelling thriller so hopes are high he can pull off a successful trilogy.
Having said that, there are some issues before a sequel can go forward. Split was made for only $9 million but a sequel, starring both Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis (who can command big paychecks), may make the next film far more expensive. Moreover, Disney owns the rights to Unbreakable whereas Split was distributed by Universal, meaning both studios would need to work together. Fortunately, all signs seem to point to the fact that the studios are open to working together which. That also means they would both likely co-finance a more expensive sequel while minimizing the risk. It looks like Split 2/Unbreakable 3 or whatever it might be called is pretty much a certainty at this point.
Source: M. Night Shyamalan