The director says he'll follow his new horror hit with a sequel ... but it's not what you might expect. Massive spoilers ahead!
Before you read any further, we have to warn you that the ending of Split features a jaw-dropping twist that we are going to discuss below. So, if you have not seen the movie or heard or read about it elsewhere, you are advised to proceed with caution or stop reading entirely.
Otherwise, let's descend ....
Still with us?
Okay, here we go: in Split, James McAvoy plays a young man named Kevin afflicted with DID (dissociative identity disorder). His mind contains 23 separate personalities, some more dominant than others. He kidnaps three teenage girls in preparation for the arrival of a 24th personality, known only as "the Beast," an aggressive and murderous entity so powerful it can alter Kevin's physical nature, making his skin tougher and giving him more strength. The Beast also has grandiose plans for showing the world its abilities.
At the end of the film, Kevin escapes capture and becomes the subject of a massive manhunt, with the police nicknaming him "The Horde." In a coda before the credits roll, we see a group of people sitting in a diner watching a news report about The Horde on TV. As some familiar music plays underneath, one woman asks, "Wasn't there another guy with a weird name 15 years ago?"
The man next to her responds, "Mr. Glass" -- a reference to the villain played by Samuel L. Jackson in Shyamalan's 2000 movie Unbreakable -- and we see that it is BRUCE WILLIS, clearly playing David Dunn, the man-turned-superhero from Unbreakable. As Dunn's eyes slowly turn upward toward the TV, we realize that after thinking for 105 minutes that Split is a horror movie, it is actually a supervillain origin story that takes place in the same universe as Unbreakable ... and sets up a sequel.
It's possibly the director's best and most exciting twist since The Sixth Sense and completely changes the movie you've been watching. Shyamalan told io9 that The Horde was in the original script for Unbreakable but had to be cut for length. So when he started writing Split, he thought it was time to bring the character back:
"I said 'Can we make a sequel that they don't realize is a sequel? Can we make an origin story without telling them it's an origin story until the last moment of the movie? So it plays as a thriller and becomes an origin story?' So that was the idea from go."
And now the big question: Does this mean that a full-on Unbreakable sequel (Split is more of a "semi-sequel") is next for Shyamalan?
"I do intend on making a final Unbreakable movie and I’m intending on doing it next. It’s the final movie of these two movies put together."
Shyamalan has spoken on and off about an Unbreakable sequel ever since the original came out, and with Split doing gangbusters at the box office ($40 million in its opening weekend, way above most estimates), he may finally have the momentum and leverage to do it.
If you saw Split, what did you think of the twist? Are you excited at the prospect of seeing the Unbreakable story continue at last?