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With the release of 2016’s Split, writer/director M. Night Shyamalan pulled off his greatest twist yet: Managing to create a successful shared cinematic universe that doesn’t belong to Marvel or DC. The secret to his success? Not telling anyone what he was doing in advance.
The climactic reveal of Split — that it took place in the same world as his 2000 film Unbreakable — was, in many ways, a classic Shyamalan reveal, in that it was something that no-one saw coming, yet deepened everything that had come before, and added a new level that made a rewatch seem essential at the first available opportunity. And yet, it was also something audiences had seen earlier, in 2008’s Iron Man: A surprise indicator that the universe the audience had believed the movie existed in was actually far larger than it had originally appeared to be.
From The Hollywood Reporter: