[Major SPOILERS for Split ahead.]
Fans of M. Night Shyamalan's work admire it for many reasons; not least his ability to introduce twists and turns that keep an audience guessing. One such twist - and it really is a massive one - comes at the end of his latest offering, Split, which stars James McAvoy as Kevin; a troubled young man who suffers from "split personality disorder", or DID as it's properly known. While the film itself is a dark, tense thriller with many aspects to examine, the real twist comes at the end, when all those fans who've been waiting for a sequel to Shyamalan's Unbreakable, realize that's what they've been watching all along.
In a post-credits scene, it becomes clear that Split and Unbreakable share the same universe, when Bruce Willis appears in a diner as David Dunn, watching the news broadcast detailing Kevin's hostage taking of three young girls. Of course, to call it Unbreakable 2 would have given the game away, so by promoting it as a different movie entirely, Shyamalan fooled everyone.
There might be even more to come though, as the director hinted in an interview with Empire:
“However you want to look at it, maybe it’s a new format – this movie, this movie and a final movie."
While that might sound like nothing more than a vague hint, Shyamalan does go on to elaborate more about the possibility of a Split sequel, or what would essentially be Unbreakable 3:
“I’m writing the outline now. It’s weird. It’s long. It’s the longest outline I’ve ever had. It has so many characters… I hope if Split is a success, I’ll have the opportunity to finish the story. I want to finish it, so this is the third one.”
Split has certainly been performing well enough at the box office to warrant another installment being made. The movie took in over $40 million at the domestic box office this past weekend, well outperforming predictions - and as word spreads about the twist no one saw coming, audiences are heading to theaters to find out for themselves what it could be.
It also helps that Split's star is onboard for a sequel, and by the sounds of things, McAvoy is very excited to see what could happen when Kevin and his 24 personalities meet up with Unbreakable's Dunn and/or Elijah Price AKA Mr. Glass, played by Samuel L. Jackson. As McAvoy (jokingly) told Empire:
“When two baldies go to war. My money’s on B-Dog. I hope he lets me call him that."
Elsewhere in the interview, the actor revealed he didn't know about the Split/Unbreakable connection at first, and only guessed it at the end of rehearsals. Initially, McAvoy notes, the reference to Unbreakable was so subtle that no one but the "greatest fanboy" would have caught on, so the initial small music cue that can be heard toward the end of the movie, was added in post-production and thus the post-credits scene with Willis was born.
News of a potential Split/Unbreakable sequel is great, of course, provided Shyamalan can keep on course and not fall into many of the pitfalls that have engulfed his less successful films. Question is; how will he pull this one off, and what twists await us next time?
- Split (2017) release date: Jan 20, 2017