In case of emergency, break Glass. M. Night Shyamalan’s long-awaited follow-up to his unconventional superhero story Unbreakable premiered its official full trailer (watch above) for eager crowds at the San Diego Comic-Con on Friday. The return of steely vigilante David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and his easily shattered nemesis, Elijah Price, aka Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), was teased at the end of the writer-director’s 2016 box-office hit Split, an origin story for Glass‘s other multifaceted major villain, Kevin Wendall Crumb, aka the Horde (James McAvoy). Willis and Jackson, along with co-stars Anya Taylor-Joy and Sarah Paulson, joined Shyamalan onstage — McAvoy called in sick — in Hall H to discuss a movie that’s been 18 years in the making.
According to Shyamalan, Crumb was originally introduced in his first draft of Unbreakable, but he took the character out to focus on the Dunn-Glass dynamic. Years later, the filmmaker revived the character for his own movie, and asked Willis to make a top-secret appearance at the very end. When Split became a hit, Shyamalan had the leverage to ask the film’s studio, Universal, and Unbreakable‘s studio, Disney, to let him make a sequel to both movies that they would share.
“It just doesn’t happen,” Shyamalan remarked about that all-too-rare arrangement. And the trailer takes immediate advantage of the director’s shared universe, showing Dunn, Glass, and Crumb in an asylum under the supervision of Sarah Paulson’s psychiatrist, Dr. Ellie Staple. She tells them that they’re all in there because they believe themselves to be superheroes, even though, as she points out, that’s obviously impossible.
The rest of the trailer shows just how wrong the good doctor is. In short order, we see each of these characters demonstrate their powers, from Dunn’s stunning strength to Crumb’s multiple personalities, which Shyamalan says will reach a whopping 21 in the finished film. For his part, Glass knows he’s not physically strong enough to take on either man, but he’s got the super smarts to recognize the benefit of a good old-fashioned team-up. “That sounds like the bad guys teaming up,” he tells Crumb, an alliance that will obviously pit them against Dunn.
“I just love the complexity of Elijah,” says Jackson. “He’s this really strong character with a really fragile body. And he’s quiet! I don’t actually play the same motherf***** all the time! I like them loud, yes, but this guy is quiet.”
For his part, Willis declined to reveal too much about how Dunn is going to deal with this double threat. “I really can’t share anything, but there are a lot of secrets in this movie that have not been exposed,” the actor promised.
Here’s one thing we do know now: Glass will be in theaters in January and you’re going to want to be there opening night.
Glass opens on Jan. 19, 2019.
Watch: M. Night Shyamalan on the challenge of perfecting Glass:
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