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M. Night Shyamalan's upcoming movie Glass is a strange beast since it's technically a direct sequel to two different movies. Not only is it finally reuniting us with David Dunn and Elijah Price nearly 20 years after Unbreakable, it's also following after the events of Split. With so much mythology to work with, Shyamalan acknowledged that it initially looked like Glass was going to be a tale stretching over three hours. The director recalled:
The script was really long, it was almost 150 pages and the first cut of the movie was 3 hours and 20 minutes, it was really long. Then it started tightening [and] tightening until we got to the 2.08 that you can see.
Because Unbreakable and Split are set in the same world, it's understandable that M. Night Shyamalan wanted to dedicate plenty of time to ensure that fans of one or both of those movies would be properly caught up. Plus, one also has to account for people checking out Glass who haven't necessarily seen Unbreakable or Split. Still, it's rare that movies longer than three hours are released, so as Shyamalan mentioned, eventually there came a point where he started to tighten Glass up. Now the movie is a little over two hours, which is a more digestible runtime for the average moviegoer.
During his interview with Digital Spy, M. Night Shyamalan all mentioned that there's no need for Glass to "rehash" either of its predecessors, pointing to a scene in the Glass trailers where Patricia, one of Kevin Wendell Crumb's many alternate personalities, is speaking with a group of cheerleaders she's kidnapped. Shyamalan explained:
All she needs to go is, 'My name is Patricia' and you're there. That's a much longer scene in the screenplay where you're reliving the humor and the relationship and the connection to the girls and even realizing she has multiple personalities.
While it's fine for a sequel to remind audiences of certain events that happened in preceding movies, it can't come at the expense of the story that's being told now. That's not to say that M. Night Shyamalan wasn't worried about Glass appealing to moviegoers who aren't familiar with Unbreakable and/or Split, but he realized that Glass needed to stand on its own, even going so far as to pitch Glass to Disney and Universal as if it were a standalone movie.
As the final chapter of the Eastrail 117 trilogy, Glass will see Bruce Willis' David Dunn, a.k.a. The Overseer, pursuing James McAvoy's Kevin Wendell Crumb, whose most dangerous alternate personality, The Beast, has allied itself with Samuel L. Jackson's Elijah Price, a.k.a. Mr. Glass. Glass is also bringing back Anya Taylor-Joy, Spencer Treat Clark and Carlene Woodard as Casey Cooke, Joseph Dunn and Mrs. Price, respectively, while Sarah Paulson will appear as Dr. Ellie Staple, a psychiatrist who specializes in treating patients who believe they're superheroes.
Glass opens in theaters on January 18, 2019. If you're interested in other movies that are coming out next year, browse through our 2019 release schedule.