San Diego Comic-Con drops highly anticipated previews every year, and on Friday, another buzz-worthy teaser made its debut. The trailer for M. Night Shyamalan's Glass, which is the third film in the director's supernatural trilogy, is here and it puts American Horror Story favorite Sarah Paulson front and center. The first film, Unbreakable, starred Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson as two super humans — one with a super strength and the other with a brilliant mind. In 2016, the director released Split, a horror story about a man with 23 different personalities. The end of the film revealed that the story was a sequel to Unbreakable, and the third installment, Glass is expected to link the stories together. The trailer reveals Paulson's character, and she's skeptical that anything supernatural is afoot.
Paulson stars as Dr. Ellie Staple, a psychologist who works with patients at a psychiatric hospital who believe they are superheroes. The trailer opens with a shot of the doctor, and her narration. "It's amazing to meet you, it is simply extraordinary," she says. "Maybe this will all make sense if I explain who I am. My name is Dr. Ellie Staple and my work concerns a particular type of delusion of grandeur. It's a growing field, I specialize in those individuals who believe they are superheroes." If you're getting major Dana Scully vibes, you're not alone. Paulson appears to be challenging The X-Files' Gillian Anderson for the red-headed skeptic crown.
The trailer then cuts to the three characters from the previous films, Willis' David Dunn, Jackson's Elijah Price, and James McAvoy's Kevin Crumb. Things don't bode well for Dr. Staple, who remains skeptical about the three patient's supernatural pasts, even as she brings the dangerous Mr. Glass and the Beast together.
M. Night Shyamalan's films are known for being full of twists, so it's not clear what might happen. Dr. Staple recognizes that these men are extraordinary, but she isn't buying their identities as superheroes or super villains. In one part of the trailer, she confronts Kevin Crumb. In Split, Crumb fights one of his identities, a sociopath with superhuman strength and abilities who kidnaps three teenagers and holds them hostage. "I have no question there are two dozen identities that live in that body with you," Dr. Staple tells Crumb in the trailer. "But what I am questioning is your belief that you are something more than human."
Fans will have to wait to see the film in order to find out if her patients are truly supernaturally gifted, or if they're having delusions. Of course, Shyamalan is known for big twists, and he is the director of The Sixth Sense, after all. Given the trailer's combo of superhero drama and psychology, it's hard to tell which direction the film will go.
Dr. Staple might be encountering supernatural forces for the first time, but Paulson has plenty of experience playing magical characters. She's one of the stars of American Horror Story, on which she has played a medium and a witch. She also began her television career on American Gothic, where she played a ghost. Paulson seems to be a perfect fit for the spooky worlds of M. Night Shyamalan, and there's no telling what kinds of twists and turns are in store for her character.
It's not yet clear if Dr. Staple is right or wrong about her patients, but Paulson has defended her character's skepticism. When an interviewer for MTV suggested that Dr. Staple was a "killjoy", Paulson explained why this was untrue. "She's not, she's dedicated her life to helping people who have a particular type of delusion," she said. "She's a nonbeliever, it doesn't make her anything other than that. She has an enormous amount of empathy and I think she truly wants to make their lives better and get them to understand what they truly are, which is human."
Even after the two first films, the seemingly supernatural world of the movies doesn't necessarily mean Dr. Staple's patients are superhuman. Fans won't know much else until the film premieres, and this trilogy finally comes together. One thing, though, is certain - Paulson's character is the perfect addition to the cast, and her presence will no doubt add another layer to the already complex storyline.