Unbreakable, M. Night Shyamalan’s low-key superhero movie from 2000 that Vulture called the best superhero movie since Blade, came out way before big-budget sci-fi and fantasy were the norm, and it helped the young director generate an enthusiastic following. The ending also left room for a sequel that never came, but after 17 years on the back burner, Bruce Willis’s unbreakable man David Dunn is coming back in Glass. It will be the second collaboration between Shyamalan and Blumhouse/Universal, a pairing that money men were surely eager to sign off on after the director’s R-rated January surprise Split made almost $275 million worldwide. The twist king shared the news himself in a string of tweets this morning, and if you were a fan of Unbreakable and Split, his big reveal read like a fan-casting announcement.
Seventeen years ago, spinning up a sequel was not foregone conclusion for a successful film, but we’re all just a bunch of Marvel girls in a Marvel world now, and Shyamalan has two decades worth of Philadelphia stories that could possibly be linked together with a little bit of clever retconning. Ever since Wide Awake in 1998, every Earth-bound Shyamalan movie has been set in Pennsylvania, usually within Philadelphia. Split continued this tradition, and (spoiler time!) at the end of that movie, David Dunn is the last person we see, tying his early hit to his most recent one.
To refresh, James McAvoy’s Beast character has gone into the wind after a killing spree, and when we see Dunn he’s watching a news report about the dead teen girls left in his wake. We don’t know what the humble Philly man has been up to over all these years — maybe he’s been fighting crime on the DL, or maybe he’s gone fully dormant and lived the life of an ordinary working-class father. Either way, the Beast is a villain he knows he’s uniquely qualified to take on, and Dunn isn’t going to take little girls getting ripped apart in his damn backyard. Perhaps, too, Beast will find his way to Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), and the two will become a united villainous front targeting all the normals of the world that they loathe so much. In any event, it looks like our questions will be answered just about two years to the day after the release of Split.