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Before the modern superhero craze kicked off, there was M. Night Shyamalan’s 2000 film Unbreakable, the story of David Dunn, a man who discovers he’s near invincible, and Elijah Price, whose bones oppositely are easily broken. Despite earning mostly positive reviews and considered as one of Shymalan’s better projects, plans to do a sequel never came to fruition. However, the man behind Signs and The Sixth Sense has a new idea regarding how to pick up the broken pieces and continue this story: send it to the small screen.
Over a decade after Unbreakable hit theaters, Shyamalan told IGN that he would be willing to do a follow-up to the film in the form of a limited-run TV series, and even has ideas on how to go further. Said the director:
As a way continue the story, yes. That would [interest me]. I really love where we are. Could you do a six-episode Unbreakable series on Netflix or HBO? Yeah! That's cool. I even had an idea of doing a story that goes in one form, and a second part that's in another form, and a third one's in a different form. You never do the same form.
If there’s basically zero chance of a theatrical sequel, heading to TV would be the next best route to take. Superhero stories have been enjoying success on television over the last several years, from the CW’s The Flash to ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and even more are on the way including Legends of Tomorrow and Heroes Reborn. Since it’s hard to picture an Unbreakable series being green-lit for one of the broadcast networks, Shyamalan seems to have a good idea in terms of thinking of HBO or Netflix as a possible home. Not only do are these platforms more comfortable with doing shorter seasons, but typically they allow for more creative freedom.
Making the series a limited-run also gives Shyamalan a better chance of bringing back the original actors. It’s extremely doubtful that Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson would commit to a full season given their busy film schedules, but if the show doesn’t last too long and has plenty of prestige surrounding it, they might have more interest in reprising their roles. It could be similar to how HBO’s True Detective is recruiting big names for each of its seasons. If Willis and Jackson aren’t keen on returning, then the project could always go the soft relaunch route and introduce new characters living in the same world.
In addition to his September film The Visit, Shyamalan is currently working on the Fox series Wayward Pines. Given his recent box-office bombs like The Last Airbender and After Earth, if HBO, Netflix or any channel/streaming service is interested in reviving Unbreakable, Shyamalan should have more time for TV on his hands. Still, it would be better to leave Unbreakable alone rather than green-light a poor sequel series and breaking the overall story…how ironic if that were to happen.