Who would have thought that the first big movie of 2019 would be an M. Night Shyamalan film? After hitting it big with the 1999 smash ‘The Sixth Sense’, the director enjoyed something of a hot streak in the early 2000s. By the end of the decade, though, his fortunes – and reputation – had taken a turn, leaving the one-time golden boy unsure of himself and widely written off. My how things have changed. Ever since the release of ‘The Visit’ in 2015, Shyamalan has been in the midst of one of the great career second acts.
But while that second act may have started with ‘The Visit’, it didn’t really get underway until the release of ‘Split’ a year later. Featuring a tour de force performance by James McAvoy, the acclaimed film revealed itself in a post-credits scene to be a stealth sequel to Shyamalan’s 2000 sleeper hit ‘Unbreakable’. This positioned Shymalan to enter (or rather return to) the realm of superhero cinema with ‘Glass’, the third and final film in what has been dubbed the ‘Eastrail 177 Trilogy’.
Yes, I said “final.” And so, it seems, has Shyamalan himself. In a recent interview with Vulture, the outlet asked Shyamalan what might be next for his budding superhero universe. After all, if ‘Glass’ is anywhere near as successful as ‘Split’ was, the door would be wide open for a sequel. Shymalan, however, made clear that he has no interest in further sequels, noting that “I have the sequel rights to most of my movies, essentially for the reason to not do them.”
While it might seem a shame to call it a day just as the trilogy moves beyond origin stories and into the realm of full-blown superheroics, there is something to be said for artistic integrity. After all, if this is the story Shyamalan wants to tell, better to tell it and let it be than to run things into the ground. And then there’s the matter of knowing your own limits as a filmmaker. As Shyamalan told Vulture, billion dollar action movies – “matching pyrotechnics against pyrotechnics,” as he puts it – simply aren’t his strong suit.
‘Glass’ stars Bruce Willis, James McAvoy, Samuel L. Jackson, Sarah Paulson, and Anya Taylor-Joy. The hotly anticipated film will arrive in theaters on January 18, 2019.