None of director M. Night Shyamalan's films — not even the most successful — have yielded a sequel. There may have been a market for them, but somehow audiences weren't asked to come back and see a Sixth Sense 2 or a Signs 2. Some new textual evidence suggests that a Shyamalan follow-up movie might finally be on its way. It's 17 years after the release of his superhero subversion thriller Unbreakable, and the director may be seriously developing another chapter. Shyamalan's new movie Split ends with a hint a sequel is in the works, and it's possible that an Unbreakable 2 could happen.
In Split, James McAvoy plays Kevin, a man who dealt with the abuse he endured as a child by developing 23 different personalities. A few of those personalities kidnap three young women and keep them imprisoned while they await the arrival of a new and heralded being. Kevin's 24th personality is revealed to be a bestial one with inhuman strength and speed. One of his captives (Anya Taylor-Joy) escapes, but Kevin is not captured. In a diner, a news station reports on the killer they're calling "The Hoard." A woman in the diner makes a connection between that fugitive and another criminal from years before. In a surprise cameo, Bruce Willis appears as Unbreakable's David Dunn and assures the woman that he also remembers "Mr. Glass."
"Mr. Glass" is the childhood nickname of Samuel L. Jackson's character in the 2000 film. He's man with a rare bone disorder who always imagined himself to be a supervillain in need of a nemesis. Mr. Glass orchestrated several deadly events to find Dunn, the "unbreakable" man he knew must exist, and then made him into the hero he required.
The reference to these characters in Split could be considered solely as a fun Easter Egg for long-time Shyamalan fans. But the director has spoken out in the past about his desire to continue the Unbreakable story. In a 2015 interview with Screen Rant, Shyamalan confirmed that he was at least toying with the idea, though Unbreakable 2 would have to be "a whole new movie." He said:
It's the most ripe for a revival of any of his movies, considering the subject matter. The first Unbreakable came out the same year as the original X-Men and eight years before the first Iron Man paved the way for Marvel's reliable box office domination. Done well, a new Unbreakable film could leverage and comment on the current mainstream popularity of the superhero movie. The irony of the shift in the business isn't lost on Shyamalan. In a Collider interview, he recalled getting pushback on the concept from the studio: "I remember when I made it, Disney was literally like, 'Comic books?! There’s no market for comic books!' That’s all they make now!"
The Split reference suggests that the Unbreakable 2 is that much closer to becoming a reality. Could that new idea Shyamalan mentioned involve merging those characters with another story? Because "The Hoard" is still on the loose at the end of Split. And since he's something more than human, it would take a man like David Dunn to catch him.