Ever since the twist ending of “Split” revealed that the film was a sequel to “Unbreakable” last year fans have been waiting to see where this series would go next in the promised third entry from M. Night Shyamalan. Now we have at least an idea of where this series is headed thanks to the San Diego Comic-Con trailer for “Glass” which will hit theaters in 2019. It’s a trailer I was personally very excited to see and now I’m ready to break down the details and take a closer look at what this it has to offer. Let’s take a peak into the first trailer for “Glass”. As always you can watch the trailer in full at the end of this post. Here we go!
The trailer begins with our first new character of the film Dr. Ellie Staple, played by Sarah Paulson, who calls whoever she’s talking to “extraordinary” and provides a bit of exposition to the audience which is actually her talking to her yet to be seen patient or patients. She is a psychologist who specializes in dealing with people who have delusions of being superheroes or super human which says a lot about this movie universe. The characters we’re going to see are truly unique with their abilities or capabilities being outside of the spectrum of normal human understanding. It’s not the first time this was implied but it does reinforce the “real world” setting of the movie. We also hear her call her profession and “growing field” which might imply that since David Dunn discovered his powers in “Unbreakable” that normal people have been assuming they have abilities as well. Basically the whole first 40 seconds is Dr. Staple setting the mood telling us, and her patient(s), that the idea of being a superhero is considered a mental illness and that such powers are not believed to exist in their reality.
Then we see them, the characters who make up the film’s trinity. On the left we see the movie’s namesake, Samuel L. Jackson’s Elijah Price aka Mr. Glass who we learned in “Unbreakable” has brittle bone disease and is now in a wheelchair. In the middle we have James McAvoy’s Kevin Wendell Crumb aka The Horde who suffers from dissociative identity disorder and houses 23 personalities as well as a 24th known as the Beast that has become a dominant personality. Finally on the right is Bruce Willis’ David Dunn, who has the powers of strength and invulnerability as well as the ability to see the crimes of those he touches. Dunn is shown to be held in place by chains which means while the world may see his “powers” as ridiculous they still fear his strength. These are the three we’ll spend most of the film with and it’s absolutely awesome to see them all in the same room.
The trailer progresses into a reminder of who these three characters are. First we hear about Dunn as we’re reminded of his powers and his story from the first movie including his surviving a train crash. Dunn himself describes his ability to detect peoples’ crimes by touching them. Meanwhile we see what Dunn has been doing since “Unbreakable”. He says he works in “security” which means he has put his abilities to good use representing those who need his help either directly or in the shadows. We’re even directly reminded that Dunn’s story was explored in “Unbreakable” as the “from the writer and director of ‘Unbreakable’” card shows up just as Dunn’s backstory is being delved into. Dr. Staple acknowledges that Dunn believes he is a protector, emphasizing the word “believe” as if implying his willingness to act as a “superhero” has only made things worse. What’s more important in these shots is we see a man bump into Dunn and trigger his powers. This is, in fact, Crumb and the coat he is wearing looks like the same coat Crumb wears when his younger personality Hedwig takes over. So we know this is the moment Dunn identifies The Horde. Why that’s important plays into the scenes yet to come.
Then we see acknowledgement that Shyamalan also wrote and directed “Split” and Kevin Wendell Crumb takes center stage. We see the return of one of his feminine personalities named Patricia which is interesting because Patricia, along with Dennis and the young Hedwig, were the three personalities that conspired to free The Beast in “Split”. At the end of that movie it seemed that The Beast had taken over Crumb’s body permanently but since we see Patricia, and over the course of the trailer other personalities as well, still controlling its clear these personalities not only still exist but are able to take “the light” away from The Beast and control the body. We do see Hedwig skating around a group of cheerleaders saying “The Beast is coming for you guys” which is a callback to The Beast’s tendency to attack women and “feed” on those who are untouched and thus in his eyes not yet pure. This could be the followup moment to Crumb literally running into David Dunn especially since it looked like the innocent Hedwig was in control of Crumb’s body in that encounter, complete with the coat, and is now skating around in the warehouse. This could foreshadow the first super powered run in between Dunn and The Beast since Dunn’s powers would have tipped him off to the kidnapping of the cheerleaders. Dr. Staple acknowledges Crumb’s split personalities but questions whether Crumb could ever be “more than human”. We then get lingering shot of Glass who declares “and yet it is true” essentially telling the doctor that while it may be unbelievable, even to him, he knows that Dunn and Crumb are, in fact, super powered individuals.
Glass finally gets his time to shine with Samuel L. Jackson providing the voice over which is fitting seeing as the movie is named after his character. Glass admits his bones are easily damaged and that he has had 94 different injuries associated with his disorder. We saw a few of them in “Unbreakable” including one that put him in the wheelchair he now presumably remains in during “Glass”. Staple comments on Glass’s high IQ which could essentially be his superpower. Glass declares “this isn’t a cartoon” once again driving home how real the danger is in the context of the film. He’s telling Dr. Staple that despite everything her profession tells her superpowers exist and Dunn and Crumb should not be ignored as simple mental patients. It’s not a cartoon where lives can be saved and damage avoided. There are real consequences to underestimating everyone involved. We saw Glass in “Unbreakable” talk about how he felt comics were a way of preserving history before they were caught up in the mass media machine. Glass clearly believes that the consequences and realities of powered individuals has been watered down and romanticized and he is telling Dr. Staple the world will learn the reality of these powered humans soon enough.
We see the return of Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke, the lone survivor of the trio of kidnapped girls in “Split” who was spared by The Beast for having been literally scarred and thus considered pure in The Beast’s eyes. Casey appears to want to help Crumb and his personalities as the quick shot we see shows an expression of worry on her face while one of Crumb’s personalities says emphatically, but not aggressively, “no way” before Casey takes Crumb’s hand. There’s not a lot here to tell us whether Casey will be a major important plot character or a simple cameo recalling “Split”, but it’s exciting to see her involved nonetheless considering she is one of the few with a true understanding of how Crumb’s mind works and the threat The Beast presents to an unsuspecting world. She’s not the only one we see either as later on in the trailer we see Joseph Dunn, David’s now grown up son, and Elijah’s mother Mrs. Price both with Casey as pictured above. It’s neat to see this film fully committing to exploring the united lore of both “Unbreakable” and “Split” by not only bringing together three characters, but also important people in their lives. The three look like they are standing outside of a red building, consistent with the color of the hospital, so maybe Dr. Staple wanted to bring in individuals to get through to each of the the subjects and not just Crumb whose only real connection to the world is through his only surviving victim from his past crime.
We get a montage of shots that include Dunn taking out his coat that has become his “super suit” of sorts and we also see the possible apprehension of The Horde as Crumb is brought to his knees with spotlights on him and gunmen surrounding him. We also see Dunn pushing what looks to be swat members into a storage container and bending a metal pipe or pole to lock the container closed. This is likely from another of Dunn’s encounters with The Horde as he is eliminating the variables by getting the armed swat members out of his way to take on The Beast himself. He likely feels they are putting their own lives at risk and he is saving them from entering a situation they can’t fully control. This whole time we continue to get voice over narration from Glass about how super powered people really do exist. This is all complimented by a not so subtle pair of shots in a dark comic book store, one shot showing the word “heroes” the other showing the word “villains” both in neon lights representing the colors of Dunn and Glass. The heroes are bathed in green light to represent Dunn’s green coat and the villains are in purple light which is Glass’ color of choice. Glass says he’s been waiting for the world to see that “we” exist acknowledging his own belief that he, himself, is a super powered individual. The irony is he’s possibly the only one who could legitimately have the delusions of grandeur Dr. Staple is there to solve as we have yet to understand whether his high IQ is a superpower or just a normal human trait.
We see that Glass meets the Horde. Under what circumstances we’re not sure but he requests to “meet The Beast” and not moments later Crumb literally slithers up to Glass, likely with The Beast in control. Another personality tells Glass “I hope for your sake that he likes you” referring to how The Beast would likely kill Glass if he didn’t like him. This is the beginning of a partnership we see develop in the final 23 seconds of the trailer. Glass, probably leaning on the legacy of great super villains and likely holding a grudge against David Dunn and the world for the events and revelations of “Unbreakable”, sees The Beast as the man he can’t be. The Beast is unstoppable while Glass is merely an intelligent and easily physically broken man. A lot of super villains, especially the main ones, lean on sidekicks and partners to get the job done. Glass could easily see The Horde as his so-called sidekick. It would be very smart for the two of them to team up if Dunn serves as their united foe. Glass even says “that sounds like the bad guys teaming up” pretty much confirming that The Horde and Mr. Glass will have a partnership, one serving as the brains and the other the ultimate brawn.
The final second of the trailer get pretty intense. Glass is shown talking about how “a lot of people are going to die” on a microphone, possibly talking to Dunn using the PA system of the psych hospital they are in. Dunn responds with “don’t do this” before breaking down a door and making his way to presumably try to stop the new team of Mr. Glass and The Horde. A few quick shots give us a look into the likely climactic fight between The Horde and Dunn that we all can expect.
One important moment is seeing Dr. Staple helping someone out of the water which could very well be Dunn. We see Dunn fall into the water several times in this trailer and it’s important to remember that Dunn’s inability to swim and water in general is his biggest weakness according to the lore presented in “Unbreakable”. Staple helping him out of the water could be a moment of acknowledgement that she believes that superpowers exist and she could serve as an ally to Dunn in the final fight against The Horde and Glass.
The remainder of the trailer is composed of frankly awesome looking action shots including a great moment where The Horde/The Beast is running using all fours across an open field like an animal which is keeping in line with what we’ve seen from this personality’s animalistic nature in the past and even in this very trailer. Looking closely you can see Glass on the right side of the screen so either he’s unleashing The Beast or simply trying to tame him. The trailer closes with Glass saying his name to someone with an accent implying it’s possible his narration was part of an interview with someone other than Dr. Staple. As the title card appears we are left wondering what else to make of this trailer and the epic showdown it promises to present.
Personally I’m thrilled as the prospect of “Glass”. I like the idea, I like that “Unbreakable” and “Split” are both getting a sequel and I think that these characters will make for a great original superhero film that may finally prove M. Night Shyamalan is truly back to his prime. Enough of the potential narrative is left out to keep us wanting more and the visual style, including the appearance of the three main characters’ signature colors (green, yellow and purple) and the visual representations of the number three from the main characters to the number of windows in each shot are all part of Shyamalan’s unique style of film making that helped earn him credit as a prodigy director in his early days. We’ll have to wait until next year to see if this sequel lives up to expectations. “Glass” hits theaters on January 18 as one of the first big releases of 2019.