With the conclusion of Glass, M. Night Shyamalan has the ability to create an entirely new universe of superheroes in a Glass sequel.
Spoilers ahead for Unbreakable, Split, and Glass.
Thanks to an incredible performance by James McAvoy, Split received acclaim both from critics and fans alike. However, it was the film’s surprise connection to 2000’s Unbreakable that really caught everyone’s attention.
When Glass was announced, it was clear Shyamalan had plans to bring together all three main characters to give us a conclusion to a trilogy no one saw coming.
Glass didn’t quite land as well as Split, but it was a satisfying ending to David, Elijah, and Kevin’s stories. Better yet, it kicked the door wide open for more films to take place in this brand new universe.
There’s something to be said for this trilogy marking the end of Shyamalan’s vision. Glass didn’t offer us a happy ending, but it did give us a hopeful one. To leave on an ambiguous note with so much untapped potential makes these movies ripe for discussion. We don’t always need everything packaged neatly and tied up with a perfect bow.
In fact, the opposite allows the movies to live on in many different forms in the heads of the trilogy’s biggest fans.
In a way, that parallels Glass’ ending where Casey, Joseph, and Mrs. Price choose to release the video as proof that superheroes exist. They want to see who is awakened by the footage. Similarly, who knows who may be inspired by Shyamalan’s subtle and grounded version of a shared superhero universe.
Why a ‘Glass’ sequel could open up a new era
When we find something we love, it’s hard to give it up. What if, instead, Shyamalan continues to add to this shared universe with new films every few years or so?
It’s working for J.J. Abrams, who has made three Cloverfield movies since 2008. He’s found a way to make the films in secret, adding to the overall mystery of the franchise. Each one has had a different tone and purpose in expanding the universe.
Cloverfield established the story, introducing us to the monsters that fell from the sky. Made with found footage, it was vastly different from 10 Cloverfield Lane, which acted more like a thriller and only connected to the first film by the end. With The Cloverfield Paradox, we got a straight up sci-fi film that connected a lot of dots and answered some major questions.
While Unbreakable and Glass were similar in tone, Split was a thriller similar in a lot of ways to 10 Cloverfield Lane. Shyamalan has already proven he’s capable of handling different genres, so it would be interesting to see him test his own abilities moving forward.
What if he continued to delve into the mystery of the organization whose members sport a black clover tattoo while simultaneously branching out and exploring the lives of different superheroes who were awakened once they saw the footage released by Casey, Joseph, and Mrs. Price?
There are infinite possibilities here. Shyamalan could either direct all subsequent films or hire other directors to see what their take on the universe would be. The latter option would allow for stark differences in genre and tone, and make each movie feel even more unique.
Much like Marvel did with Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: Ragnarok, and Black Panther, Shyamalan could allow different creative teams to bring their own style and set of experiences to the table in order to highlight different kinds of superheroes. It doesn’t matter the genre, or the character’s age, race, nationality, or orientation. It opens up this universe to a world of possibilities we’re only just starting to explore in mainstream franchises like DC and Marvel’s cinematic universes.
But a Glass sequel (and any subsequent movies) must have rules. Unbreakable was so interesting because of how grounded it was. David Dunn went most of his life never knowing he was special, and even by the time he started leaning into his powers, Elijah told him he was probably only using one percent of his entire potential.
These movies don’t feature heroes who look like those we see in comics. They’re meant to be the inspiration for the over-the-top superheroes we’re used to seeing on the page or the silver screen. They’re meant to look ordinary on the surface, but once you delve a little deeper, you’ll see how different they are. How truly extraordinary they’re capable of being.
If we get a Glass sequel or any additional films in this universe, I hope Shyamalan sticks to what worked best for these three films — the blurring of the line between human and superhuman. The more believable this universe is, the more it has the potential to live on in the minds of all those who wish we could truly live in a world like the one we saw in Unbreakable, Split, and Glass.
The question now is whether or not Shyamalan is even interested. According to Digital Spyhttps://www.digitalspy.com/movies/a819457/m-night-shyamalan-unbreakable-2-split-universe/, the director isn’t planning a Glass sequel, but he also seems to have a “never say never” attitude.
Here’s to hoping that changes, and that we won’t have to wait 18 more years for something new!