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Two decades ago, just a year after The Sixth Sense’s release, filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan made his next big splash in Hollywood with Unbreakable, the superhero thriller starring Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. Unbreakable was met with a decent amount of positive reception and pulled in over $248 million worldwide, and over a decade and a half later, it was revealed that it was just the first chapter of a larger saga.
To celebrate Unbreakable’s 20th anniversary, M. Night Shyamalan recently shared a throwback photo on Twitter depicting his time on the set. However, rather than standing beside any of the actors or crew members in the picture, Shyamalan was joined by two of his daughters, who were adorable little tykes at the time. Take a look:
My, how time flies, especially for a parent. 20 years ago, M. Night Shyamalan’s feature filmmaking career was still in its infancy, and both of his daughters (Shyamalan also has a third daughter) were also just getting started with their lives. Fast-forward to now, they’re both young adults, and while one of them has embarked on a musical career, the other is getting her own filming experience by working on Shyamalan’s Apple TV+ series Servant. As the adage goes, like father, like daughter.
Unbreakable followed Bruce Willis’ David Dunn learning he had special abilities, including super strength, after living through a train crash that killed everyone else on board. He soon crosses paths with Samuel L. Jackson’s Elijah Price, a.k.a. Mr. Glass, a comic book art dealer who suffers from brittle bone disease and is obsessed with finding the person in the world who is his exact opposite. Unbreakable also starred Robin Wright, Spencer Treat Clark and Charlayne Woodard.
For years, Unbreakable was considered a standalone movie, but at the end of 2016’s Split, Bruce Willis cameoed as David Dunn. As such, the story about James McAvoy’s Kevin Wendell Crumb and his 24 separate personalities (including the monstrous Beast) was revealed as the second entry in the Unbreakable trilogy, which is officially known as the Eastrail 177 Trilogy, named after the aforementioned train. Split was also a critical hit and proved its commercial might by collecting $278.5 million globally.
Finally, in 2019, the worlds of Unbreakable and Split collided in Glass, which saw David Dunn being incarcerated in the same mental hospital where Elijah Price and Kevin Wendell Crumb were being held. While Glass also did quite well for itself at the worldwide box office, making just $1 million shy of Unbreakable’s haul, it wasn’t nearly as well received as its predecessors on the critical front.
Still, as things stand now, M. Night Shyamalan is done with the Eastrail 177 Trilogy, with no plans to deliver another sequel. Maybe that will change someday, but regardless of how you feel about the film series as a whole, there’s not question that on its own, Unbreakable delivered a unique and introspective take on the superhero genre. Also keep in mind that this movie came out just four months after X-Men, so the superhero movie craze was still a few years away from taking off.
Nowadays, along with his work on Servant (Season 2 premieres on January 15), M. Night Shyamalan is focused on his next movie, Old, which is intended to arrive in theaters on July 23, 2021. If you’re curious about the other movies that are supposed to come out next year, browse through our 2021 release schedule.