An evil genius in a wheelchair and a psychotic serial killer with superhuman abilities join forces to escape from a mental institution in the new TV spot for Glass—the third and final installment in what’s become known as director M. Night Shyamalan’s “Unbreakable trilogy.” The trilogy brings together characters from his 2000 film Unbreakable and his 2016 box-office hit, Split.
(Spoilers for Unbreakable and Split below.)
Unbreakable tells the story of a security guard named David Dunn (Bruce Willis). Dunn is the sole survivor of a horrific train crash who draws the attention of a wheelchair-bound comic-book art dealer named Elijah Price (Samuel Jackson). Price, who has a genius-level IQ, suffers from a rare disease that gives him very fragile, easily fractured bones. He has become convinced that he must have an opposite “unbreakable” counterpart; he thinks Dunn might be that man.
Price is correct: not only is Dunn immune to harm (save for water, his “kryptonite”), he also possesses a kind of extrasensory perception when he bumps into people or touches them. The twist: when Price shakes his hand, Dunn has visions of the art dealer orchestrating many tragic “accidents.” Price has killed thousands of people in his attempt to find his unbreakable man. Price is actually a criminal mastermind who goes by the moniker “Mr. Glass.”
Split tells a seemingly unrelated story about Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), who suffers from severe dissociative identity disorder (or at least The Movies’ idea of such a disorder). He has 24 distinct personalities, one of which is The Beast: a vicious cannibalistic sociopath with apparent superhuman abilities who kidnaps three teenaged girls. In the final scene of Split, Willis appears as David Dunn in a brief uncredited cameo—the only clue that the two stories take place in the same fictional universe.
“I want to believe”
Jackson, Willis, and McAvoy all reprise their roles for Glass. We know from the prior trailer released in July (and a second trailer last month) that all three will end up in the same mental institution, under the care of Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson of Ocean’s 8). Jackson’s Elijah Price has been kept there for years, heavily sedated, and seems to have given up on plotting nefarious schemes. But when David Dunn and Kevin Crumb arrive, he sees an opportunity to prove to the world that people with super powers really do exist.
“This won’t be like a comic book.”
Dr. Staple supposedly specializes in treating people with delusions of possessing superpowers—which seems to involve subjecting Kevin, for instance, to flashing lights in order to provoke his various personalties to emerge. So it’s inevitable that The Beast will show up and that havoc and violence will follow. Price, aka Mr. Glass, is counting on it: he needs The Beast to help them both escape.
“The bad guys are teaming up,” Price says, and a lot of people are going to die unless Dunn steps out from the shadows and dons his trademark hooded raincoat to stop them. In the new TV spot, Staple admits she has always longed to believe in superheroes, and she challenges Price to convince her that the trio’s gifts are real. It’s a challenge she will probably come to regret. As Price says, “This won’t be like a comic book.”
Glass makes its US premiere on January 18, 2019.