Split director M. Night Shyamalan must feel relieved after one of his movies comes out in theaters, because it means he can finally talk about the top-secret twist ending. Apparently, that final cameo from Bruce Willis’s Unbreakable character meant a lot more that we already thought it did. And that ending that everyone’s talking about? It was almost completely different.
Shyamalan dropped by the HappySadConfused podcast to gab about the ending, and he explained that the original version of the ending embraced the movie’s superhero roots in a much more explicit, much more comic-booky way.
“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,” Shyamalan said, explaining that the animation featured Willis and Samuel L. Jackson’s Unbreakable characters. However, the finished version didn’t work with the rest of the movie, as Shyamalan explained:
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.
The director also discussed his high standards for a sequel to Unbreakable and Split, a film he’s already finished writing an outline for. One of his ideas centers around Willis’s character, David Dunn, finally realizing how much like a comic book the world really is. Perhaps Dunn didn’t fully buy into Elijah’s superhero rantings until he saw that news story at the very end of Split.
David doesn’t quite 100% 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.”
Shyamalan also said that the sequel, which doesn’t have an official title or release date yet, would have to be a standalone movie in its own right. It can’t just be “David Dunn versus the Horde,” in other words.
“This third movie needs to have its own idea. The high concept of that final movie can’t be, ‘It’s the final Unbreakable,’” he said.
Listen to the podcast for the full interview here.