WARNING: Split spoilers to and fro.
M. Night Shyamalan has never really done things the easy way, so when he builds a connected universe, it's going to be ... complicated.
While chatting with the HappySadConfused podcast, the director revealed the challenge in putting together his next film in the Unbreakable/Split saga (as those who have seen the film know, the final scene in Split revealed that the action actually takes place in the same universe as Unbreakable). But Shyamalan isn't interested in making a straight-up sequel that just tosses the characters from both films into a blender -- instead, he wants to find an angle that actually allows this next film to stand on its own.
Here's an excerpt from his explanation:
"All I can say is this: If Unbreakable was about a guy who is the only person who survives a train wreck, everyone dies and he doesn't have a scratch on him -- how is that possible? That's a high-concept, really cool story. And then this one is three girls get abducted by a person that has this disorder that he believes he's many people, and all of the different personalities are saying there's another personality coming to get them, it's called The Beast. That in and of itself is a really cool thing. This third movie needs to have its own idea. The high concept of that final movie can’t be, 'It’s the final Unbreakable.' There has to be something about that that makes it its own movie … That’s when I'll be happiest, is when it's its own movie. In a way it could be watched by itself."
Though fans might just want to see a direct sequel to Unbreakable, Shyamalan's approach makes a lot of sense. Split was a hit because it was a taut thriller that stood on its own. Unbreakable was the same. But how will he continue the saga of David Dunn (Bruce Willis) without making an outright Unbreakable follow-up? Or heck, how will he continue Split in a way where you don't need to see the first film?
What do you think? What form would you like to see the next film take?