Thank the moviegoing public because Split is a hit. That means writer/director M. Night Shyamalan is already at work on the sequel and, in a new interview, he got into a few details of what that sequel could be. Also, he revealed an alternative ending to the film.
If you don't know the secret of Split yet, you should go see the movie or click here and spoil yourself, because I'm about to get into it.
Recently on Twitter, the director wrote the following:
I have an 11 page outline for my next film in my bag. I can't tell you what it is, but If you've seen #Split...
— M. Night Shyamalan (@MNightShyamalan) February 4, 2017
If you've seen Split, you know it's a film that links to Unbreakable, the 2000 Shyamalan hit which starred Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson.
But him working on that isn't really news. What's news is what he said on the HappySadConfused podcast. There, Shyamalan floated a possible idea for the film:
My thought bubble would be — again don't hold me to this — but Elijah never got out of the institution. He was just a guy who believed this, but David doesn't quite 100 per cent believe it that way, he just thinks that he is particularly meant to do this and is kind of faded a little bit. Like this idea of comic books that Elijah was saying the comic book world is based on reality, that it's real — there's no other evidence for this. It's this crazy guy who has this bone disorder who's in an insane asylum. But then [the news story at the end of Split] comes up and he's like, 'Oh my God, he's right.'
Personally, as a fan, that would be kind of shocking. In the 16 years since Unbreakable, David Dunn hasn't truly embraced his powers? I'd be disappointed. But, then again, it makes more sense than the timid man going out and being a superhero. In reality, he might just try to forget.
Anyway, Shyamalan explained that his current outline is very detailed, the story very intricate and it still needs work. He wants the film to work not just as a sequel to Unbreakable or a sequel to Split. Much like each of those films, he wants it to function as a standalone as well:
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.
That feels like a very tall order, especially when you've already told two stories full of crucial backstory. Nevertheless, I would have said the same thing if you told me Shyamalan was going to take Split and make it into an Unbreakable movie.
Finally, in what might be the most shocking revelation in the interview, Shyamalan reveals he completed an animated, original ending of Split which was eventually cut.
There was another version of the credit sequence which was comic book, which was graphic images of The Beast and then David Dunn and then Elijah and then them all mixing together. When I saw it done I was like, 'This is a fucking home run,' and then when I put it on the movie it didn't work… It's one thing to say, 'You saw an origin story,' but to go into other characters… David Dunn is reacting to the news of The Horde. End of story. If you keep going it starts to undermine the movie you just saw.
Here's hoping that scene makes it onto the Split Blu-ray.
As for when the Split/Unbreakable sequel will happen, it's just about when Shyamalan feels he has the script right. At least Unbreakable and Split fans now know he's working on it as we speak.