Despite the deluge of comic book adaptations that have made their way to the big screen in the last decade, M. Night Shyamalan‘s Unbreakable remains one of my favorite superhero movies of all time, and proves beyond a doubt that Shyamalan can be an extremely masterful filmmaker when he takes his time with a story and sticks to the basics – like character development – which he overlooked with The Last Airbender. So I was intrigued to see today on MTV’s Splashpage the elusive director talking explicitly about a possible sequel to his 2000 thriller and its connection to his planned ‘Night Chronicles’ trilogy, of which the upcoming Devil is the first part.
“I cannibalized the idea for the sequel to Unbreakable for one of the ‘Night Chronicles,’ Shyamalan told MTV’s Josh Horowitz. “It was such a cool idea for a villain, and it was actually originally in the script for Unbreakable, and it was too much. There were too many villains, so I pulled this villain out and was like, ‘I’ll make this the second flick.'”
But as time went on, Shyamalan’s villain came to be co-opted into his upcoming ‘Night Chronicles’ trilogy, which he will neither write nor direct, though he conceived the stories and will produce – a smart move after The Last Airbender received such negative criticism. “I fleshed it out more and more, and thought, ‘This could be a standalone movie,” he continued. “I’ll just say it: the third ‘Night Chronicles’ movie is what would have been the sequel [to Unbreakable]. So now I need to come up with a new idea.”
I, for one, hope Shyamalan develops a bad case of writer’s block. Unbreakable was a fantastic movie – probably the director’s best – but not one that requires a sequel. What made the film great was its hidden (spoilers ahead!) setup: it’s a superhero origin story disguised as a slow-paced drama about a failed marriage. What makes the movie work is that we don’t realize we’re watching Bruce Willis becoming a hero almost until the very end; it’s one of the few Shyamalan “gotcha” twists that really works (unlike in The Village). A sequel could only be another superhero movie, which would lack the magic and mystery of the original. Still, I’m intrigued that a character and storyline that Shyamalan had planned for Unbreakable or its sequel will be coming to the screen as the third installment of the director’s ‘Night Chronicles’ project.
Until then, we’ll have the trilogy’s first installment, Devil, in theaters September 17, followed by Twelve Strangers, a thriller seemingly inspired by Sidney Lumet‘s Twelve Angry Men – about a jury deliberating a murder case – this time with supernatural elements. You can check out the full MTV interview below: