Earlier today, Samuel L. Jackson wrapped up his shooting for Glass, an upcoming thriller written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The film, set to release in January 2019, will be a sequel to 2016’s Split, which in turn was a stealth sequel to 2000’s Unbreakable. Jackson is reprising his Unbreakable role of Elijah Price, a.k.a. self-styled supervillain Mr. Glass, from which the new movie gets its name.
Production of Glass began in October, and shooting has taken place in Philadelphia. In a tweet, Shyamalan announced not only that Jackson is done filming his part, but also that there’s only one week of shooting left for the film as a whole.
As for Shyamalan fighting back tears: The trilogy has long been a dream of his, and, if all goes according to the current plan, nearly two decades will have separated its first and third installments. Split wasn’t advertised as a follow-up to Unbreakable, but in the film’s final scene, a long-missing character shows up: David Dunn, the protagonist of Unbreakable, played by Bruce Willis. Shyamalan has even said that the character of Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), Split‘s terrifying centerpiece, was originally written into Unbreakable. And though the writer/director ended up cutting Crumb from the movie, everything will come full circle when the Beast – Crumb’s ultimate alter-ego – faces off.
The critical and financial success of Split – which grossed more than $278 million worldwide on a production budget of only $9 million – was a welcome bright spot for Shyamalan, who has turned out a handful of disappointing movies in recent years (be it critically or financially). Following The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs – each a classic in its own right – films like Lady in the Water, The Last Airbender, and After Earth established Shyamalan as an inconsistent albeit sometimes brilliant writer and director.
But by returning to the universe of Unbreakable (which has turned out to be the same universe as Split), Shyamalan appears poised to deliver a crowd-pleaser. It’s exciting to witness the fruition of a creator’s passion project, and it’ll be interesting to see what ideas have been brewing in Shyamalan’s head for the past 17 or so years. With Jackson, Willis, and McAvoy sharing the screen for Glass, Shyamalan has set expectations rather high – and if all the pieces click into place, he could have a new fan-favorite on his hands.