Before Spider-man swung into live action and Marvel’s Avengers dominated the silver screen, M. Night Shyamalan brought his own vision of a world with superheroes to life. In 2000, fresh from the surprise success of The Sixth Sense, viewers were expecting something groundbreaking from the new director. What they got was Unbreakable, a film about security guard David Dunn (Bruce Willis) who realizes he’s nearly invincible when he is the sole survivor of a train wreck. After much convincing by comic book fan Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), Dunn decides to become a superhero.
Though it was well-received critically and moderately profitable, the film was ultimately considered a disappointment. It didn’t recapture the appeal or success of The Sixth Sense and the story – the first film just the beginning of a planned trilogy – was shelved indefinitely. Over the last fifteen years, Unbreakable has amassed a cult following and interest in a potential sequel has grown considerably. With the abundance of superhero films in production, there may be no better time to return to Shyamalan’s grounded universe.
Speaking with EW, Shyamalan pointed out where the world of Unbreakable and a sequel could fit in the current film landscape:
“Maybe there’s an interest right now in the underlying struggles and fantasies that are being fulfilled in comic books and not being fulfilled in the real world.”
More outspoken is Unbreakable star Samuel L. Jackson, who staunchly defends the film even years after its release:
“It’s like when people talk about Jackie Brown, and they go, ‘Well, that’s a disappointment for Quentin.’ No, no it’s not. It’s a great movie. It just isn’t Pulp Fiction 2. Unbreakable is an amazing movie. It just isn’t The Second Sense or whatever the f*** that movie was.”
Jackson appeared as Elijah Price in Unbreakable, a character who is completely the opposite of Willis’ David Dunn. Where Dunn has astounding strength and is nearly invulnerable, Price suffers from osteogenesis imperfecta, or ‘brittle bone disease’. His fragile body houses a dangerous mind, however, as – SPOILER – he is ultimately revealed to be the villain of the film, and the orchestrator of the train wreck that revealed Dunn’s powers.
Jackson told EW that although fans tend to show more enthusiasm for a sequel than studios (to this point), it’s a role he would love to return to:
“People talk to me about that movie all the time. Night’s still around. Bruce is still around. I’m still around. And I’d love to break out of the asylum.”
There is a question as to what form a sequel to Unbreakable would ultimately take, with Shyamalan recently stating he would like to make an Unbreakable miniseries. The universe set up in the original film lends itself to this model, which would allow for more personal and grounded stories than what could be fit in a single movie. Unfortunately, Shyamalan has been talking about a sequel to Unbreakable for years. So far, nothing has come of it and the director’s recent big-budget failings have left his reputation at an all-time low. Shyamalan has even stated that he cannibalized his sequel idea for another story in his Night Chronicles trilogy (the first of which, Devil, remains the only one of the three to be released).
Though fans continue to vocalize their support for a sequel, odds are Unbreakable 2 isn’t currently in the works. It’s a shame that the sequel may never come to be, as Shyamalan’s interpretation of the superhero mythos might be even more effective today than it was fifteen years ago. We’ll keep you updated on any Unbreakable 2 developments as they happen.