Here’s Why Bruce Willis Appeared at the End of Split

Buena Vista Pictures

The revealing twist at the end of M. Night Shyamalan’s Split was its shared continuity with Unbreakable, a movie the director released more than 16 years ago.

Bruce Willis reprised his Unbreakable role as superhuman security guard David Dunn in a scene at the end of the film, sipping a cup of coffee in a diner. He’s watching a TV news reporter try to explain the actions of James McAvoy’s villain called “The Horde.”

“The rumors coming out of the scene are almost unbelievable,” she says.

“This is like that crazy guy in the wheelchair that they put away 15 years ago,” one diner says.

“And they gave him a funny name, too. What was it?” asks her companion.

“Mr. Glass,” Dunn answers, knowingly, referring to Samuel L. Jackson’s comic book-obsessed villain from the 2000 film:

Viewers got a clue that the two films might be connected much earlier, though, when Anya Taylor-Joy’s Casey Cooke references the “King of Prussia mall,” a megamall in the suburbs of Philadelphia, the same city where Unbreakable is set.

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In the final moments of Split, McAvoy’s Kevin Wendell Crumb is on the loose and is considered a public menace. The aura of his multiple personalities — combined with the unbelievable strength and agility of his darkest personality, “The Beast” — sets up the next film, which Shyamalan is reportedly writing.

If 2000’s Unbreakable was Shyamalan’s deconstruction of comic books at the dawn of Marvel’s cinematic reign (X-Men had just come out that summer), then the post-credit scene in Split is his version of how Marvel movies reliably tease future films with fan-pleasing glimpses of incoming characters. (In 2012, The Avengers, teased the arrival of Thanos as the villain for 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War.)

While Unbreakable 2 may not be as flashy or bombastic as anything from Marvel or DC, the comic book movie industrial complex has become strong enough to allow Shyamalan to at last conclude the Unbreakable story fans have wanted since 2000.

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