Why Is David Called “The Overseer” In ‘Glass’? Bruce Willis’s Character’s New Persona Is Years In The Making

Universal Pictures

M. Night Shyamalan returns to theaters on Jan. 18 with Glass, the third installment of his Unbreakable superhero trilogy. The film combines the stories of both 2016's Split and 2000's Unbreakable, showing where Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson), and David Dunn (Bruce Willis) are now. Unbreakable ended with David beginning to embrace his new life as a superhero. But every superhero needs an alias, right? What does David's name "The Overseer" mean in Glass?

In Glass, David is known by his alter-ego, The Overseer, which is actually a very appropriate name for him. In Unbreakable, he adopted his role as Philadelphia’s vigilante, taking action whenever he sensed someone was in danger, thanks to his ability to see people’s crimes whenever he touches them. And, with Elijah’s encouragement to use his powers for good, his ability to sense people’s crimes allowed him to rescue children from a janitor who invaded their home and killed their parents.

But taking on a new identity also shows how much David’s changed in 18 years. In Unbreakable, he was reluctant to admit he’s not an average guy, despite how much his son Joseph and Elijah (who now goes as Mr. Glass) insisted he was meant to be a superhero. So becoming The Overseer means that nearly two decades later, he’s fully embraced his role as a protector.

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Being The Overseer does have serious consequences for David, though. He is institutionalized and put under the care of psychiatrist Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson), who specializes in treating those who believe they are superheroes. And he finds himself in treatment with both Elijah and Kevin, who David found out about at the end of Split, in the scene that revealed that the two movies were connected. Dr. Staple has developed a treatment for what she believes is a disorder causing delusions of possessing superpowers, using a flashbulb technique to force Kevin’s various personalities to come out whenever she flashes it in front of him.

But Elijah, whose only power is his extraordinary intelligence, finds a way to manipulate Kevin, making him take on the persona of The Beast, the super villain personality that he manifests at end of Split. Knowing how powerful The Beast is, Elijah wants to use Kevin’s super villain personality to escape, joining forces to go on a rampage that’d wreak havoc in Philadelphia. And it’s up to The Overseer to stop them from escaping, while still finding a way to prove that he does actually have superpowers.

In a mini trailer introducing his new persona, David says, “I need to find these girls before he comes back,” referring to a group of cheerleaders seen in the first official trailer. That means that this could be the ultimate showdown between David and both of the super villains, serving as the definite way to end the trilogy.

And given how David was seemingly free to use his superpowers for 18 years without his abilities being questioned, Glass will have to answer some of fans’ biggest questions, including why he was institutionalized now rather than earlier, and how Elijah has been developing his super villain persona without being in contact with the outside world.