Samuel L Jackson had no idea that 'Unbreakable' had a sequel until he watched 'Split'
Jackson played disabled comic art gallery owner Elijah Price aka Mr Glass who was born with Type I osteogenesis imperfecta, a rare disease that makes his bones extremely fragile
When M Night Shyamalan's superhero thriller 'Unbreakable' premiered in 2000, it wasn't received particularly well at the box office. However, critics unanimously praised it for its music score, aesthetics, and the actors' stellar performances, and it went on to gain a sort of cult following. Shyamalan had promised at the time that he would be helming a sequel, but those plans had to be put on the backburner after its poor commercial performance.
However, with the release of 'Split' in 2016, fans were treated to another one of Shyamalan's patent twists. Bruce Willis, who portrayed the protagonist David Dunn in 'Unbreakable', made a surprise appearance in the final minutes of the 2016 film, indicating that both took place in the same universe and that 'Split' was, in fact, the much-anticipated sequel.
Samuel L Jackson, despite starring in 'Unbreakable,' was also one who was reportedly kept in the dark about 'Split' being the follow-up to the 2000 thriller. Jackson played disabled comic art gallery owner Elijah Price aka Mr Glass who was born with Type I osteogenesis imperfecta, a rare disease that renders sufferer's bones extremely fragile and prone to fracture. He spends his life in search of someone 'unbreakable', a worthy hero to face off against.
Talking to Vulture about the surprise, Jackson said: "I remember when Night called me last year to say, 'I need you to watch this movie I just made, and after you watch it, I’ll tell you what I’m thinking'. So I watched 'Split', and at the end of it, we get Bruce in the café and the woman talks to him about Mr Glass."
Jackson, no doubt surprised, said he asked Shyamalan whether this meant that a sequel was indeed happening, to which the director referred to Unbreakable's poor opening weekend and jokingly replied: "Well, it depends on the opening weekend."
Those fears proved to be entirely unfounded, with the James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Betty Buckley-starring 'Split' proving to an enormous success. Made on a relatively paltry budget of just $9 million, it collected $40 million on its opening weekend and went on to earn $278 million worldwide. It was Shyamalan's most successful venture in close to 20 years.
'Unbreakable' was the first in the so-called 'Eastrail 177 Trilogy', with follow-up 'Split' more akin to a 'backdoor sequel' and filmed substantially as a standalone film. The trilogy is set to conclude with 'Glass,' which will see Willis' Dunn face off against James McAvoy's Kevin, who is a manifestation of 23 different personalities. Jackson's Mr Glass will return to pull the strings as well.
Similarly, Spencer Treat Clark and Charlayne Woodard will reprise their 'Unbreakable' roles, while Anya Taylor-Joy will return as her 'Split' characters. 'Glass' is set to premiere on January 19, 2019.