[Massive SPOILERS for M. Night Shyamalan’s Split to follow.]
After making a small comeback in 2015 with The Visit, director M. Night Shyamalan seems to have finally returned to full form once again with his latest psychological thriller, Split. Starring James McAvoy as a man suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder the film has been on the receiving end of some serious critical praise ever since its first festival screenings late last year; with many not only calling it Shyamalan’s best film since Signs, but one of his best films, period. That isn’t too bad, considering that the filmmaker was almost entirely written off after a string of critical and financial failures in the latter half of his career.
Obviously, as anyone who has seen the film will know, moviegoers have left the film buzzing about its last-minute twist, which reveals the movie to be a part of the same universe Shyamalan’s earlier, beloved film, Unbreakable; with McAvoy’s character being a superpowered individual similar to Bruce Willis’ David Dunn. It looks like clues to the twist were planted not only in the film itself too, but also in the marketing campaign for it.
Spotted by Reddit user davoarid, it turns out that one of the posters for Split shares an interesting design choice as the Unbreakable poster, and actually, almost lines up perfectly with the 2000 film’s poster. Check it out for yourself below:
The twist itself has understandably, sparked quite a lot of conversation and questions from fans, some of which Shyamalan has gone on to answer throughout the film’s press tour, and some of which may need more time to be digested before being answered. Nonetheless, the filmmaker’s unexpected return to the Unbreakable universe, something that fans have been asking him to do for almost two full decades now, is the perfect way for him to make his comeback. The fact that it comes at the end of Split, a film which was already an undeniably strong outing from Shyamalan before the revelation at the end, likely just makes the success of this twist that much sweeter.
Shyamalan has already confirmed that he expects a direct Unbreakable and Split sequel to be his next project, and there’s no word on who is expected to return and who isn’t. Will Willis reprise his role as Dunn? Or McAvoy as Kevin? Time will only tell, it seems. But for a filmmaker like Shyamalan, who is known for his twists – so much so that when his films started to decrease in quality, more and more critics and fans began to make fun of the filmmaker for it – it seems fair to say that Split acts as a healthy reminder of how satisfying his storytelling can be when done right.
Well set up, believable, and also enriching everything that has come before it, the Split and Unbreakable connection will almost undoubtedly go down in history as one of Shyamalan’s greatest twists of his career. Deservedly so, too.