Split star Anya Taylor-Joy was completely unaware of the film’s connection to Unbreakable during filming. Unbreakable was M. Night Shyamalan’s follow-up to The Sixth Sense and reunited him with star Bruce Willis. The story followed a man named David Dunn (Willis) who emerges as the sole survivor of a train crash without a single scratch, leading him to a comic book collector (Samuel L. Jackson) who believes Dunn may be a real-life superhero. The film ends with Dunn embracing his superhero destiny, only to learn Jackson’s Mr Glass orchestrated the train accident and sees himself as a supervillain.
The film was supposed to spawn two sequels, but despite strong reviews and solid box office, the movie was considered a disappointment after the runaway success of The Sixth Sense. Talk of a sequel would emerge once in a while, but it seemed unlikely to ever happen. Split is Shyamalan’s most recent directorial effort and followed a man named Kevin (James McAvoy) with a split personality disorder who kidnaps three teenagers. One of Kevin’s personalities is dubbed The Horde, turning him into a super strong, bulletproof monster. The movie ends with him escaping, but the very last scene reveals Willis’ Dunn watching a news report about him, confirming the two movies exist in the same universe.
A sequel to both movies called Glass will arrive in 2019 and will reunite Willis, Jackson, McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy. It’s all come as a shock to Taylor-Joy, who recently told Entertainment Weekly she was unaware of Split’s connection to Unbreakable during filming.
Night asked me to go to one of those tester screenings in Arizona. I went with him, and the ending wasn’t part of that, but, as we were outside ready to go into the screening, [he] told me about it [and Glass]. I completely lost it. I thought, man, that’s so cool, like, ‘You have to let me know how shooting goes!’ He just looked at me and said, ‘What makes you think you’re not coming along for the ride?’ I completely died. I was like, ‘Wait, really? You want me to come and do this with you?’ I was so excited to reprise my character, because I love Casey so much, and to be able to do it with all these unbelievable actors. I was at a table with all of these incredible people. I just thought, what the hell am I doing here?
Taylor-Joy’s reaction mirrored that of most viewers, who had no idea Split was a sequel of sorts to Unbreakable. Kevin was actually the main villain of Unbreakable’s original script before Shyamalan cut the character out to focus on Dunn’s origin first. The cult of the film has only grown over the years, with many feelings its deconstruction of the superhero myth was years ahead of its time.
It was also a shrewd marketing move to make Split a stealth sequel; it got fans buzzing about the shock ending and created enough buzz to earn Glass a green light. Many had come to assume a sequel would never happen, so to see what happened to David Dunn and Mr. Glass nearly 20 years later is an exciting prospect; hopefully, it will live up to expectations after years of hype.
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