M. Night Shyamalan Explains How He Navigated Glass’ Complex Backstory

Somewhat unique in that it’s a simultaneous sequel to two standalone films (Unbreakable, Split), Glass presented writer-director M. Night Shyamalan with some unique challenges. Having already detailed his characters’ backstories, he wasn’t sure how much detail was necessary in the new film, so he erred on the side of excess. “The script was really long,” he told Digital Spy. “It was almost 150 pages and the first cut of the movie was three hours and 20 minutes. It was really long—then it started tightening [and] tightening until we got to the 2:08 that you can see.”

Rather than worry about setting everything up and explaining it all over again, Shyamalan decided to treat Glass like another standalone film, recalling a conversation he had early in the process with his studio partners: “I said to 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. 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.’”

Glass arrives in theatres on January 18, 2019. Check out the new trailer below.