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It's no secret that superhero movies are the most popular genre in filmmaking. The audience is for each comic book adaptation is massive, rabid, and willing to shell out cash in order to see each new blockbuster. This type of box office success is necessary, given the massive budgets for movies within the Marvel Cinematic Universe or DC Universe. But M. Night Shyamalan is putting his own spin on the genre, and that includes his budget.
Before superhero movies became commonplace, M. Night Shyamalan crafted an ultra-realistic and twist on comics books with 2000's Unbreakable. But he always planned a trilogy, and the twist ending of 2016's Split revealed they were set in the universe, with the character set to collide with the upcoming release of Glass. It's an exciting crossover film not dissimilar to The Avengers, and it turns out that Shyamalan had the MCU's ensemble projects in mind while making the project. As he recently said:
It's clear that M. Night Shyamalan had a very specific vision. And through his upcoming crossover film, he's hoping to bring just as much excitement, thrills, and action to the screen as the MCU does with its massive budgets. And in a matter of days, moviegoers will get to see his efforts on the big screen.
M. Night Shyamalan's comments to Vulture reveal that the director is aware of Glass' similarities with big budget superhero movies like Avengers: Infinity War or Suicide Squad. After establishing two different origin stories, the Sixth Sense director will have all the characters collide, in a movie that has steadily been building up fan anticipation since Bruce Willis appeared in the final moments of 2016's Split.
The superhero genre definitely makes the most money in the box office, but each blockbuster is not produced without its price. Installments in the MCU and DCEU cost hundred of million of dollars, depending on which franchise it is. As such, wild box office success is necessary to keep the shared universe afloat. While the MCU has had a string of successes in Phase Three, the DC Universe had a few box office missteps, especially Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon's Justice League.
On paper, M. Night Shyamalan's Glass does have everything that should make up a successful superhero movie. He's got a killer cast, with the likes of Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, James McAvoy, and newcomer Sarah Paulson squaring off in the psychological thriller. And while superhero fatigue is a fear that comic book filmmakers have, Shyamalan has a very specific perspective, and will hopefully bring something wholly new to the sometimes bloated genre.
M. Night Shyamalan has also been planning this trilogy since before Unbreakable hit theaters in 2000. So given the extra decade and change of development, one would assume that the iconic director will really deliver when Glass hits theaters.
Unbreakable might have been released back in 2000, but M. Night Shyamalan was always planning for it to be the start of a trilogy. In fact, there's interviews stating as such from years ago. But no one expected David Dunn and Mr. Glass to return to the silver screen when his recent thriller Split arrived in theaters. That movie told its own story... until right before the credits rolled, that is.
Since M. Night Shyamalan hadn't been vocal about his interest to return to the Unbreakable franchise, no one expected Bruce Willis' David Dunn to pop up during the final moments of Split. Suddenly things became much more clear, especially regarding the powerful abilities of James McAvoy's Kevin/The Horde. Once The Beast took over, he was able to do feats of strength and was seemingly invulnerable. Instead of the villain being the sole superpowered figure, the connection to the Unbreakable franchise makes it clear that there are others out there.
Split helped to set up one of the villains of Glass, as James McAvoy's Horde look like a formidable foe for David Dunn to battle during the course of Glass. But he won't be the only character returning. Anya Taylor-Joy will also be reprising her role as Casey, the soul survivor of Split. It's unclear how she'll factor into the narrative of the upcoming crossover film, but she's seen briefly in trailers interacting with both Kevin and Elijah's mother Mrs. Price (Charlayne Woodard.)
But as far as the cast goes, Glass does seem like a definite sequel to Unbreakable. While Robin Wright won't appear as David Dunn's wife Audrey, the rest of the film's main cast is returning to reprise their roles, and continue the narrative they began just after the millennium. Obviously the bulk of the focus will be on the continued antagonist relationship between David and Samuel L. Jackson's Elijah Price/Mr. Glass. At the end of Unbreakable, it was discovered that Mr. Glass fancied himself a real-life supervillain, and had orchestrated the train crash that opened the film, and kickstarted David's discovery of his powers.
Actor Spencer Treat Clark will be reprising his role as David's son Joseph Dunn. Joseph was just a kid in Unbreakable, and helped David test his superpowers and develop this heroic code. It's unclear how large his role will be in the movie, but Glass recently released a short video including a scene with his father. And with Charlayne Woodard also returning as Elijah's mother, the gang's all here to see the trio of protagonists face off.
Comparing Glass with movies like Marvel's The Avengers franchise is certainly a bold prediction for M. Night Shyamalan, especially considering how high the Marvel Cinematic Universe is currently riding. Avengers: Infinity War did the impossible, as the Russo Brothers balanced its massive cast for a project that had both action and heart. Moviegoers will just have to see if Glass is quite as enjoyable, and if Shyamalan achieved his goal on a fraction of the budget.
Glass hits theaters on January 18th, 2019. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.