I'm ready to tell you a secret. Even though you may not see it on virtually any of the marketing materials, this week's sci-fi survival drama, After Earth - starring father/son stars Will and Jaden Smith - is actually the newest film from Sixth Sense and The Village director, M. Night Shyamalan (twist ending!).
As such, Shyamalan has been out making rounds and promoting the film, which has ONCE AGAIN led to questions about a Unbreakable 2, the long-rumored sequel to the filmmaker's 2000 'real-world' superhero origin story starring Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson.
When sitting down with MTV, Shyamalan had the following to say about the Unbreakable sequel when asked if he's put any further thought into it:
I have seriously, actually. And again, it's the same conversation we've been having, which is as long as it can be connected to something I'm feeling right now then it'll work for me, it'll be valid and I'll enjoy it. If I feel like it's a mechanical thing - I'm doing it because it'll be profitable or successful - it'll just be so hollow.
I can look at [my] movies and regardless of their success or their reception they're honest to me and they represent who I am. That's an amazing thing to be able to say, you know? So my agenda is to make another one - I just have to figure out a plot and a thing that makes sense... I'm close. I'm closer. On my dresser table I have like a whole list of notes about it.
All things being honest, at this point it's as hard to put faith in Shyamalan's plans for the future as it is to lend interest to the idea of seeing Unbreakable 2. In the case of Shyamalan, our own Unbreakable 2 news archive reveals an unmistakable pattern to the last few years: Every time Shyamalan releases a film he talks up the idea of more Unbreakable, then his latest film gets panned, and Unbreakable 2 possibilities evaporate. In the case of the sequel itself: the first film succeeded by offering something Hollywood really wasn't delivering at the time (superhero movies); these days, the very thought of such a world seems laughable.
That's all to say: fewer and fewer people are asking for this to happen - and fewer people are interested in Shyamalan at the helm of making it happen. With Willis and Jackson both aging, and a generation who demand nothing less than an Avengers-level superhero experience... I could go on...
Besides, by Shyamalan's own prior admission he's already "cannibalized" a great Unbreakable 2 idea for the third film in his Night Chronicles series - which has yet to actually release a sequel to the 2010 film, Devil. Depending on the performance of After Earth (or lack thereof), Shyamalan may have trouble finishing his Chronicles - let alone creating a new, better idea for Unbreakable 2 and getting it to the screen.
Maybe we should all settle for the possibility of an eventual Incredibles sequel?
After Earth will be in theaters on May 31, 2013.