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For a director known for his twists, M. Night Shyamalan really outdid himself when the end of 2016's Split revealed that the film existed in the same universe as the director's 2000 movie Unbreakable. Now the upcoming Glass will unite the characters from those two films to complete the trilogy. More than that though, Glass will also tie back to the beginning with never-before-seen footage from Unbreakable, as M. Night Shyamalan explained:
In particular, we had Joseph, his son, played by the same actor, Spencer. Spencer is now 30-years-old. So it was wonderful to see the same character. And you do see -- I don't want to give too much away -- but you do see moments of the original Unbreakable, scenes you didn't get to see. You'll see the same actor change, you know, 18 years on camera in front of you, which is really powerful.
Based on M. Night Shyamalan's comments here, it sounds like the Unbreakable footage that will be included in Glass will, at least in part, feature Spencer Treat Clark's Joseph Dunn. The actor is reprising the role he played 18 years ago as David Dunn's son who is now grown up. This alone will give the film some connective tissue, but the movie will also have footage that we haven't seen before of him as a kid that was cut from Unbreakable.
In his conversation with Fandango's Erik Davis, M. Night Shyamalan talked about how we will see the actor and his character change before our eyes. Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson's characters may look pretty much the same, but Joseph has grown from a child to an adult, and we will see that juxtaposition onscreen with his character in the present and in the unseen Unbreakable footage.
In describing this, M. Night Shyamalan also compared it to Richard Linklater's Boyhood, where actor Ellar Coltrane grew up onscreen. Unbreakable was something of a journey of discovery, as Bruce Willis' David Dunn found out what he was capable of and that the idea of superheroes and supervillains was not quite as fantastical as it once seemed. Along with him for the journey was his son Joseph, so to see Joseph remain a part of the story in Glass feels right.
This also shows that although Glass won't recap Unbreakable and Split for the audience with a lot of exposition, it will reference those former films in a unique way through some sort of flashback type footage that will feel both familiar and new to the audience.
Naturally, M. Night Shyamalan didn't give any sort of details about how much Unbreakable footage is in Glass or what the content of that footage might be, so we are left to speculate. In Unbreakable, Joseph idolized his father and was excited to be a part of his superhero origin story. So maybe the never-before-seen footage will be of Spencer Treat Clark's Joseph participating in more tests of strength with his David Dunn.
Whatever it is, it will presumably pair with Joseph's story in Glass in the present. We haven't seen much of Spencer Treat Clark's character in the trailers, but what we have seen shows him standing alongside Anya Taylor-Joy's Casey Cooke and Charlayne Woodard, who plays Elijah Price's mother. So the three characters perhaps closest to the three principal characters will come together for some reason.
Glass breaks into theaters on January 18. For all of the biggest movies to look forward to in the new year, check out our premiere guide.