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We now have a Shyamalan Cinematic Universe alongside the Marvel and DC ones. So if you have watched the movie right to the end, you will know that it is set in the same cinematic universe as another Shyamalan film, 'Unbreakable.'
The Shymalan Cinematic Universe
It is interesting to note how 'Unbreakable' came out back in 2000, which was 17 years ago, on the same year the first 'X-Men' movie came out. That was all before the whole superhero renaissance when superhero movies existed in their own worlds. Now, James McAvoy is part of both franchises. Just an interesting observation.
While 'Split' is being marketed as a horror-thriller, it also serves an origin story for David Dunne’s next super villain, The Hoard. While many fans were genuinely surprised by the twist, one very observant Reddit user noticed how the poster for 'Split' actually spoils the movie ending. The poster is similar to the poster for 'Unbreakable', in which there is a glass crack that divides both Bruce Willis' and Samuel L. Jackson's characters.
David Dunne and Kevin Wendell Crumb Have Interacted Before?
It is interesting to note how it is mentioned in 'Split' that the father of McAvoy's Kevin died in a train-related incident. Could it be possible that he died on the same train that Willis' David Dunne survived? That must have been the reason McAvoy's Kevin placed a flower bouquet at the train platform. However, David Dunne was on a cross country type passenger train while this train seemed more like an intercity subway.
But still, if this theory is true, then it has some serious implications to Shyamalan's cinematic universe. This would mean Samuel L. Jackson's Mr. Glass or Elijah, who was obsessed in creating a superhero as his own personal counterpart, unknowingly created another super villain as well.
Why These Three Girls?
The reference to the train incident is not the only example of brilliant foreshadowing in the film. Kevin does mention to the girls he abducted that they are 'sacred food'. One of the girl assumes he is going to feed them to a dog. Turns out they are food for his 24th identity that is waiting to break out.
Now that we are thinking about it, why were these three particular girls taken? It is revealed that Kevin's violent Dennis identity have been watching Claire and Marcia for sometime. Could they have been the one involved in the incident where Kevin was sexually harassed by teenage girls at his workplace? And the innocent, distant Casey just happened to be in the car with the two other girls when they were taken?
What Type of Super Villain will The Hoard Be?
Although Claire and Marcia do not seem like mean girls, there must have been a reason why they were eaten by Kevin's monstrous identity, The Beast while Casey was left alive. After seeing the scars from her stomach due to her abusive uncle, The Beast understands that like Kevin, Casey was abused and is thus, pure.
So, what is the exact nature of this Beast? Is he like another fictional character with split personality from the 2005 Tamil film 'Anniyan'? In that film, the law-abiding Ambi becomes fed up of seeing criminals escaping the law and develops the identity called Anniyan. Anniyan violently murders those he deems evil according to the punishments stated in the Hindu holy scriptures.
Now that it is official Shyamalan will be making a sequel to 'Unbreakable', could it be possible that Kevin, now dubbed The Hoard by the media, will be plotting to take revenge against Mr. Glass for killing his father in the train crash? Seems like an obvious premise.
Another instance where the tie-in to 'Unbreakable' is foreshadowed happens towards the end of the film. Kevin is talking to his other identities through his mirror, and James Newton Howard's background score from 'Unbreakable' starts playing. Not many fans would have picked up on that, although the absolute die-hard Shyamalan fan boys might have.
There is also an even more subtle hint. The young Hedwig personality enjoys listening to Kanye West. One of Kanye's songs is 'Through the Wire' which references 'Unbreakable.' The song goes, "Unbreakable, would you thought they called me Mr. Glass."
It is understandable why, although most people enjoyed this film, the so-called twist ending has audiences, for a lack of a better term, split. The film assumes you have watched 'Unbreakable' and will therefore understand the significance of Bruce Willis' cameo at the end of the film.