The Horde From ‘Split’ Was Originally Supposed to Be in ‘Unbreakable’
When Glass opens in theaters next weekend, it will be one of the first movies in history to serve as a sequel to two totally distinct movies; M. Night Shyamalan’s last film, Split, and his 2000 superhero origin story Unbreakable. True, Shyamalan revealed the two movies were connected in the final scene of Split, when Bruce Willis’ David Dunn from Unbreakable turned up, watching a news report on the crimes of “The Horde” character played by James McAvoy. In Glass, those two men — plus Samuel L. Jackson’s brittle-boned fiend Mr. Glass from Unbreakable — will meet.
But in Shyamalan’s original concept, they would have met years ago, in Unbreakable. As the director told Vulture in an excellent new interview (seriously, go read the whole thing, it’s excellent), the Horde showed up in his original script for Unbreakable . His initial plan was for “David and the Horde bump into each other at the train station, and David follows him.” Eventually, he decided to remove the Horde and refocus on the movie on the other characters. As to why...
It’s a narrative issue. Whenever you raise the stakes, you can’t unraise them. So once you introduce girls being abducted, there’s a ticking clock that doesn’t allow for the breadth of character development that I wanted to do in Unbreakable with David, his wife, and his kid.
It’s interesting to note that the way things shook out, the first two movies in what’s eventually become an interconnected trilogy (fans have taken to calling it the “Eastrail 177 Trilogy,” named after the train crash in Unbreakable) only reveal their true identities to audiences in their very last scenes. Unbreakable was sold as a supernatural thriller like Shyamalan’s Sixth Sense; it was only in the final minutes that it became fully clear that what it was instead was a cleverly disguised superhero and supervillain origin story. And Split similarly saved the surprise of its connection to Unbreakable for that final epilogue with Willis.
Which begs the question: What twist does Shyamalan have waiting at the end of Glass? We’ll find out when the film opens in theaters next Friday.
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