The upcoming Glass is the culmination of a saga that kicked off nearly 20 years ago with Unbreakable, delivering audiences a team-up that we never knew we wanted to see so badly. The epic nature of the narrative means there were a lot of moving pieces to bring together, with director M. Night Shyamalan revealing the first cut of the film was more than three hours long.
"The script was really long, it was almost 150 pages and the first cut of the movie was three hours and 20 minutes, it was really long," Shyamalan shared with Digital Spy. "Then it started tightening [and] tightening until we got to the 2.08 that you can see."
Last year's Split saw Kevin Crumb (James McAvoy), a man with a fractured psyche, kidnapping girls to sacrifice to one of his more deadly personas. The film ended with the reveal that the film unfolded in the same universe as Unbreakable, as it featured an appearance by Bruce Willis' David Dunn.
One of the first sequences to be cut from the bloated runtime was a scene which recounted the events of the first two films.
"All she needs to go is, 'My name is Patricia' and you're there," the filmmaker shared of a scene featuring Sarah Paulson's character. "That's a much longer scene in the screenplay where you're reliving the humor and the relationship and the connection to the girls and even realizing she has multiple personalities."
Luckily for fans, Split was able to be enjoyed independently from Unbreakable, an approach he wanted to embrace with Glass.
"I said to [rights owners] Disney and Universal, 'Pretend there's no previous movies and I came to you and I said that I want to make a movie about a hospital that treats people who believe they're superheroes and three of their patients escape'," Shyamalan explained. "'I want to make you that movie, will you make that movie? Oh and by the way, it stars Bruce Willis, Sam Jackson, James McAvoy, and Sarah Paulson. Will you make that movie?' Yes, you'll make that movie... Person XYZ who hasn't seen the other two will come to see that."
This approach paid off for the filmmaker, and will likely pay off for fans, as it brings together various corners of this shared universe of thrilling superhero films.
Glass lands in theaters on January 18, 2019.
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