Universal's double-header theatrical panel kicked off with a first look at "Glass," filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan's follow-up to 2016's "Split" and 2000's "Unbreakable."
Shyamalan, who moderator Yvette Nicole Brown credited as kicking off the big-screen superhero craze with "Unbreakable," revealed that he was advised against mentioning the words "comic book" or "superhero" in campaign materials because it was deemed too "fringe."
An origin story about the hero David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and villain Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson), "Unbreakable" also originally included Kevin Wendell Crumb, the antagonist of "Split," but the character was pulled out because he made the story too "unwieldy."
It was fitting that Shyamalan & Co. came to Comic-Con to debut the trailer for “Glass” because “The Sixth Sense” director said he was inspired to make its predecessor, “Split,” at the convention. He recounted that he got the idea to make the movie after he ran into James McAvoy at a party when the actor was promoting one of the recent iterations of "X-Men" films. McAvoy, whose hair had been closely cropped for the role of Professor X, inspired the look of the character he'd play in "Split," the filmmaker revealed.
Though McAvoy was not present on the panel (he was sick and shooting in Canada, Shyamalan reported) stars Willis, Jackson, Sarah Paulson and Anya Taylor-Joy were on hand to introduce the world premiere trailer for "Glass" and to answer audience questions.
Jackson, who plays the titular character, says he was drawn to the role because of the character's complexity.
"He has a fragile body but his mind is so strong," said Jackson, who also praised the fact that the character is "quiet."
"I don't actually play the same mother ... all the time," he said to huge laughs from the audience. Though he did concede that he has an affinity for the "loud ones."
“Glass” hits theaters Jan. 18.