It Took Seeing Bruce Willis On Screen For Samuel L. Jackson To Understand Split

When looking back at the first two decades of the 2000s, box office analysts in the future will come to the undeniable conclusion that superhero movies ruled the roost in Hollywood. Every conceivable type of franchising effort under the sun — sequels, prequels, spin-offs, multimedia crossovers, and now even multiverse-driven storylines that have united multiple different universes into one — has gone on to result in great success, with credit largely going towards comic book adaptations within the last several years. So with Marvel having perfected its winning formula to unleash crowd-pleasing blockbusters on a quarterly basis, filmmakers with an undeniably strong point of view who've been working within these boundaries have had to work overtime to put their own unmistakable stamp on their work.

Leave it to writer and director M. Night Shyamalan to put his own twist on modern superhero mythology. Outmanned and outgunned by both the DC and Marvel machines, Shyamalan took on both major companies with one sneakily clever move: The stealth sequel.

Though initially met with a collective shrug in 2000, Shyamalan's "Unbreakable" has gained a well-deserved reputation as one of the best superhero movies to ever grace the big screen. The fact that it eventually received a sequel is hardly noteworthy. But the way it did so, with a last-second cameo by Bruce Willis reprising his original role as David Dunn over 15 years later in a seemingly unrelated movie, proved immensely shocking and satisfying for audiences ... and for at least one original cast member, too.

'He made me wait long enough!'

With "Unbreakable," Shyamalan opted for a stripped-down and minimalist approach to superheroes. The big costume reveal for David Dunn, a reluctant superhero who didn't even fully grasp his own powers until adulthood, turns out to be a poncho. His biggest hero moment involves saving one family from a despicable home invader. His arch nemesis only truly reveals himself in the movie's final scene — the villainous Elijah "Mr. Glass" Price, played by Samuel L. Jackson.

The popular "Pulp Fiction," "Jurassic Park," and "Star Wars" actor waited just as long as Bruce Willis did to get the call that Shyamalan would be continuing the story he began in 2000. According to the director himself, "Unbreakable" had always been planned as the first of a trilogy ... but those watching 2016's "Split" for the very first time were completely in the dark about this. That includes, apparently, Samuel L. Jackson himself! Back when "Glass" was first set to release, the movie star spoke to Rolling Stone about his experience in finding out about the big secret.

It all started when Shyamalan informed Jackson that he needed to set up a personal "Split" screening for him, with the instructions to, "Call me when it's over." When he finally watched it for himself, Jackson had one predominant reaction about the potential of reprising his antagonistic role in "Glass":

"He made me wait long enough!"

16 years, to be exact. In any case, Shyamalan's inordinately patient strategy finally paid off when he united the (seemingly) disparate worlds of "Unbreakable" and "Split" with 2019's "Glass." The film wasn't exactly a crowd-pleaser, alienating large segments of its own audience with some dramatic third-act twists, but perhaps that and its unusual production history is exactly what makes it so unique from other superhero franchises.