FANDOM


Good cannot exist without evil and evil cannot exist without good.
~ Elijah Price

Elijah Price, also known as Mr. Glass, is the main antagonist of the 2000 superhero thriller film, Unbreakable. He is David Dunn's mentor and archenemy, as well as the owner of "Limited Edition" shop and a supervillain.

He was portrayed by the legendary actor, Samuel L. Jackson, who is best known for his portrayal of Mace Windu, Richmond Valentine, Jules Winfield, Frank Tenpenny and Preston Packard.

Personality

Elijah is a remarkably complicated man, in no small part due to the double life he leads as a terrorist and budding supervillain. For much of the film, he appears to be a perfectly respectable member of society; intelligent, immensely knowledgeable in his chosen field of study, and anxious to see the world improved by the presence of a superhero, he even serves as a mentor of sorts to David in encouraging him to achieve his true potential.

However, long before the final revelation, Elijah demonstrates a pronounced obsessive streak - both in regards to comics and in regards to proving David a superhero: in the case of the former, he's prepared to get into an argument with a high-paying customer over the proper use of comic book art, while in the case of the latter, he's willing to go so far as to stalk David at work in an attempt to persuade him. In a further show of obsessive dedication, he risks death or serious injury while pursuing a criminal down a flight of stairs (an incident that ends with Elijah tripping over and shattering several bones) in an attempt to see if the man was actually carrying a gun, as David had suspected.

He also demonstrates a remarkable gift for charisma and manipulation, proving himself able to enthrall his audience with lectures and unexpected topics of conversation: even during a fairly mundane talk with his physiotherapist, he is able to steer the course of the conversation away from his physical therapy and towards his therapist's marriage - to the point that the therapist herself puts aside all talk of work in favor of an extended discussion of her husband. On a much grander scale, Elijah is able to gradually convince both David and his son of the reality of a superhuman, until even the immensely skeptical David finds himself enthralled by the idea.

The finale of the film ultimately reveals that Elijah's obsessions are far more dangerous and violent than first appearances suggest: suffering an intense inferiority complex as a result of his disability, he is driven to find his heroic antithesis by any means necessary, believing it to be the only means of justifying his existence. To this end, he has gone so far as to engineer the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of people in airport bombings, hotel fires, and (most recently) train crashes. Though lacking a criminal organization or henchmen of any kind, Elijah was able to accomplish these acts simply by applying his impressive intelligence to manufacturing explosives and planning unimaginable acts of sabotage - not to mention his noted gift for manipulation: not only was he able to beguile a hotel employee into discussing the structural weaknesses of the building he was planning to incinerate, but he was able to make himself effectively beneath suspicion simply by seeming too helpless to pose a threat; at one point in David's flashback, Elijah is seen limping out of the driver's compartment on the train he sabotaged, but the driver quickly dismisses the sighting without another thought.

In the end, Elijah makes no apologies for his actions, nor does he ever believe that his crimes are anything but justified. However, rather than letting his activities go undiscovered, he decides to reveal himself by shaking David's hand, allowing him to witness the full extent of his efforts to find his opposite; though he is arrested soon after, Elijah is last seen smiling through his tears, overjoyed at his success in validating his own existence.

Biography

Early Life

Elijah Price was born with Type I Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a rare genetic disorder which left his bones extremely brittle: merely being born was enough to break baby Elijah's limbs, as the attending physician quickly discovered. Young Elijah was relentlessly mocked throughout his childhood by the other children in the neighborhood, who often called him "Mr Glass" for his frailty; for good measure, constant visits to the hospital ensured that he remained isolated throughout his childhood, forcing him to seek solace in his one major hobby - reading comic books. However, as deleted scenes reveal, he continued his attempts to try and fit in, often with disastrous consequences: at a visit to a fairground, he attempted to ride one of the rougher rides - only to end up breaking several bones after his improvised safety padding slipped out of the ride.

Eventually, the bullying and potential for further injury got too much for Elijah, and he resolved to never leave the house again. However, his mother came up with a solution: buying a large supply of comics as presents for her son, she would regularly put one of them on a park bench just outside their house, essentially forcing Elijah to go outside to retrieve the comic before it could be stolen by a passer-by. Though this gradually had the effect of boosting his confidence and encouraging him to go outside, he never achieved much of a social life, and Elijah spent much of his time alone.

As he grew older, Elijah began to ponder the existence of a superhuman: drawing on his extensive knowledge of comic books, he came to believe that superheroes had once been a reality in history, that people with "real" superpowers had been lionized in history as mythical heroes and eventually exaggerated beyond reality by the modern entertainment industry. He even theorized that, if he represented the frailest a human being could be, perhaps there might be someone in the world who stood at the opposite end of the scale - someone who couldn't be injured like most humans. This was to form a lifelong obsession, beginning simply with him studying the newspapers for stories of people who'd survived catastrophic disasters without being harmed; however, this gradually grew to dangerous extremes.

As an adult, Elijah's devotion to comic books gradually inspired him to start his own comic book art gallery, Limited Edition; though regarded as a perfectly respectable business by the general public, it was also to become Elijah's workshop - his office becoming a planning center for continued attempts to locate his superhuman antithesis. Here, he would make bombs, plan future acts of sabotage, and chart the patterns of survival in catastrophes throughout the world - some of them planned by him, some entirely accidental.

Just prior to the events of the film, Elijah had begun his search for his opposite in earnest by bombing an airplane and burning a hotel to the ground, both incidents resulting in hundreds of casualties. Disappointed by the absence of survivors, he continued...

Present Day

The film begins with Elijah orchestrating a train crash, killing a hundred and thirty passengers and crew. However, this time there was a survivor: David Dunn, a humble security guard. Seeking him out, Elijah plants a business card on the front of David's car, inviting him to Limited Edition; however, after hearing the eccentric art dealer's theory, David isn't convinced and leaves under the impression that he's being scammed.

Undeterred, Elijah follows him to the football stadium where he works, gradually charming him into an extended conversation. However, while walking past a queue of people waiting to be allowed into the stadium, David reveals an instinctive power to sense criminal behavior or past wrongdoings by touch, intuiting that one of the men in line is carrying a gun. Though Elijah considers this further proof of superhuman powers, David is once again dismissive. However, Elijah decides to follow the man out of the stadium, but trips while descending a flight of stairs and shatters several bones - though he is vindicated when he discovers that his quarry is indeed armed.

Now wheelchair-bound for the next few weeks, Elijah is assigned to physiotherapy and, as luck would have it, his therapist is David's wife, Audrey. Over the course of their time together, he learns that David supposedly injured himself in a car accident, ending his football career; however, Elijah believes that David faked his injuries and abandoned his future in sports in favor of his marriage to Audrey - a theory eventually proved true. David continues to disbelieve Elijah's theories of superhuman resilience, citing an incident in which he almost drowned, and considers ending their discussions after his son almost shoots him in an attempt to prove his powers exist. However, Elijah eventually convinces him that this vulnerability to water is merely a superhuman Achilles Heel, and encourages him to use his powers to seek out wrongdoers.

After doing so - managing to rescue two children from a murderous home-invader in the process - David attends an exhibition at Limited Edition to celebrate: here, Elijah congratulates him on finally discovering his true purpose in life, and shakes his hand. However, David's power to sense wrongdoing reveals Elijah's crimes to him - including the train crash - and he can only stare in horror and disbelief as his mentor reveals himself, claiming that the deaths were all justified as a means to find a true superhero.

Overwhelmed with emotion, Elijah explains that he finally knows his purpose in life - to be the arch-villain to David's hero, even going so far as to suggest that his childhood moniker, "Mr. Glass," should have alerted him to the fact that he was always a meant to be a villain. Unable to bear the truth, David leaves. The final captions reveal that David led police to Elijah, who was committed to an institution for the criminally insane. Despite his imprisonment, Elijah was satisfied that he finally achieved his goal in finding a superhero and justifying his own existence as a supervillain.

Do you know what the scariest thing is? To not know your place in this world. To not know why you are here. That's... just an awful feeling. I almost gave up hope. There were so many times I questioned myself. But I found you... so many sacrifices, just to find you. Now that we know who you are, I know who I am. I'm not a mistake! It all makes sense. In a comic, you know how you can tell who the arch-villain's going to be?! He's the exact opposite of the hero, and most times they're friends like you and me! I should've known way back when. You know why, David?! Because of the kids!! They called me Mr. Glass.
~ Elijah Price's final speech to David Dunn.

Fifteen Years Later

In the 2016 psychological horror thriller film also written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan Split, at the end of the film David Dunn appears eating at a restaurant and talks about Mr. Glass regarding his connection to The Horde, Split's main antagonist, as they both have supervillain nicknames.

He is set to return in 2019 sequel Glass.

Quotes

It's a classic depiction of good versus evil. Notice the square jaw of Slayer-common in most comic book heroes. And the slightly disproportionate size of Jaguaro's body to his head. This again is common, but only in villains... The thing to notice about this piece... The thing that makes it very, very special... is its realistic depiction of its figures. When the characters eventually made it into the magazine they were exaggerated... as always happens. This is vintage.
~ Elijah describing his art.
Do you see any Telletubbies around here?... Do you see a slender plastic tag clipped to my shirt with my name printed on it?... Do you see a little Asian child with a blank expression sitting outside in a mechanical helicopter that shakes when you put a quarter in it?... No?... Well that's what you see at a toy store? Any you must think this is a toy store, cause you're in here shopping for an infant named Jeb. One of us has made a gross error and wasted the other person's valuable time... This is an art gallery my friend. This is piece of art...
~ Elijah refusing to sell his art.
This is one of seventeen original drawings by Fritz Champion remaining in the world. It's value will triple every year... This piece is to be treasured. To be cherished... To be coveted by every single one of your banker friends that think they're better than you.
~ Elijah telling the businessman about his art.
So let's get some of the usual questions out of the way. Why am I using a cane? Raise your hand if you were thinking that. I fractured my leg. It's the fifth time I've done that particular bone. It didn't really heal well this time. Raise your hand is you're wondering who the hell breaks the same bone five times? I have something called Osteogenesis Imperfecta. It's a genetic disorder. I don't make this particular type of protein very well and it makes my bones very low in density, very easy to break. I've had fifty-four breaks in my life. I have the tamest version of the disorder... Type one. There are type two, type three, and type four. Type four's don't make it very long... That ends our lecture on the medical anomaly known as Elijah Price.

~ Elijah explaining his disorder.
How certain are you that you haven't been sick in your life?
~ Elijah's question to David.
Seventy-five percent? That's not nearly good enough for me. I'm extremely skeptical.
~ Elijah response to David's answer.
Your answer to my question. It's one thing to have never been injured in your life, but to state that you've never taken ill, well that's a whole new level.
~ Elijah answering David's question.
There are probably only four or five individuals in the world who can claim more knowledge of comics than myself. I've spent a third of my life in a hospital bed with nothing else to do but read. I have studied the form intimately. I have seen the patterns in them... The references to social and cultural events and the atmosphere that surrounded them. I've come to believe that comics are our last link to the ancient way of passing on history. The Egyptians drew pictures on walls about battles, and events. Countries all around the world still pass on knowledge through pictorial forms. I believe that comics, just at their core now... have a truth. They are depicting what someone, somewhere felt or experienced. Then of course that core got chewed up in the commercial machine and gets jazzed up, made titillating - cartooned for the sale rack. This city has had its share of disasters. Well publicized ones. It was around the time of that plane crash, when it first entered my head. And there it stayed, as I waited and watched the news over the years... And then one day I see a news report on a train accident and its sole survivor who was miraculously unharmed. And just like that, an idea blossoms into the flower of possible reality.
~ Elijah explaining more about his question.
If there is someone like me in the world, and I'm at one end of the spectrum... Couldn't there be someone the opposite of me, at the other end? A person who can't be hurt like the rest of us. A kind of person they were talking about in those stories. A person they believed was put here to protect the rest of us. Guard us.
~ Elijah's belief.
Technically no. I gambled that you would attend the church service. I just waited for you.
~ Elijah explaining to David that he did not stalk him.
Not money. But I appreciate your healthy cynicism in the manner. It will be wise for both of us to proceed with greatest caution.
~ Elijah's response when David asked him what he wants.
We've already begun.

~ Elijah, when David tells they are not proceeding.
Why is it, do you think, that of all the professions in the world... you chose protection?
~ Elijah asking David why he choose his job.
You could have poured coffee in Starbucks, you could have learned to install track lighting in office buildings, you could have told people their horoscopes on the internet... You could have been one of ten thousand things... but in the end, you chose to protect people. You made that decision... and I find that very, very interesting. Now all I need is your credit card number. That last part was a joke.
~ Elijah pointing out that despite all the options he had he choose protection as his job.
How did you know that man you bumped was carrying a weapon?
~ Elijah asking how he know the stranger had a weapon.
You have good instincts when it comes to things like that?
~ Elijah inquiring about David's power.
Characters in comic books are often attributed special powers. X-ray vision, things of that sort.
~ Elijah talking about comic book powers.
It's an exaggeration of the truth. Maybe it's based on something as simple as instinct. Like being able to touch someone and tell whether they've done something wrong... Or the level of what they've done wrong.
~ Elijah's belief on comic book powers.
Or he might have been carrying a silver handled gun tucked in his pants.
~ Elijah, after David tells him that the stranger may not be carrying anything.
The car accident you were in... Was there anyone else involved?
~ Elijah's last question before leaving the stadium.
There have been three major disasters in this city over the last four years. I've followed each one of them... A Seven-three-seven crashes on take off. One hundred and seventy-two die. No survivors... A hotel fire downtown. Two hundred and eleven die. No survivors... And am Amtrak train derails seven and half miles outside of the city. One hundred and thirty one die. One survivor. He is unharmed. I've spoken with your husband about his survival. I suggested a rather unbelievable explanation. Since then, I've come to believe, that my explanation, however unbelievable, is in fact, true.
~ Elijah to David's wife Megan.
It's a mediocre time Mrs. Dunne. People are starting to lose hope. It's hard for many to believe that extraordinary things live inside themselves as well as others... I hope you can keep an open mind?
~ Elijah explains more of his belief to Megan.
I own a comic book museum. It's called the Limited Edition.
~ Elijah explaining his business.
I believe comic books are based loosely on reality - I believe there are real life equivalents of the heroes in those books that walk the earth - I believe your husband is one of those individuals. I'm glad you brought up fate Mrs. Dunne. I'm becoming a strong believer in it... See, David refuses to speak with me any longer... And when I saw your name on my insurance list of approved physical therapists... It was like fate had intervened... We were meant to speak to each other.

~ Elijah on fate.
Look at this. I just noticed this today. This is from the Sentryman series. A color version of this was actually used in the second issue. Look at this eyes. What do you see? It's fear. He was scared. They were being honest in the beginning you see. They let him be human. They turned him into a garden variety hero later... Then he was brave all the time. I followed the guy in the army jacket. He had a silver handled gun tucked in the back of his pants. Were you really injured in that car accident in college? Because I think you faked it. I think you took the opportunity to end your career - no questions asked. And I think you did it, of all things, for a women... Not only do you have the physical traits of a hero, down somewhere in there, you have the moral code of one too. You were ready to sacrifice everything for what's right. Where can you find that these days? Only thing you didn't realize is that you were giving up a part of yourself when you gave up football. The physical part. And you need that part desperately to feel balance again... You can have it back now. This was all just make believe before. What if there was someone the opposite of me? What if?... I now believe you are the genuine article Mr. David Dunne. The kind of person we knew existed, from our history. It's time for someone like you. Bad is winning. I can feel it.
~ Elijah telling David it's time to be a hero.
...David. It's Elijah. It was so obvious. It's referred to over and over. That's the key you see. The repetition across time. That means at some point it was all based on common thought, a common event - a fact. It was this one issue that brought it back for me... Century Comics One-Seventeen. That's where this group, the Coalition of Evil, tried to ascertain the weakness of every superhero. ...Because they all have one. Just like you. The cells that make up your muscles and your bones react to forces that act upon it, slightly different from than mine. That's clear... Your cells react to bacteria and viruses slightly differently than mine... That's also clear...But for some reason, you and I react the exact same way to water. We swallow it, we choke. We swallow too much of it, we drown. However unreal it may seem, we are connected, you and I, we are on the same curve... just on opposite ends. The point of all this is, we now know something we didn't... You have a weakness... Water. It's your krpytonite. You hearing me David? Call me back... I got rugby practice in an hour.
~ Elijah's message on David's answering machine.
David, it's okay to be afraid. Because this part won't be like a comic book... Real life doesn't fit into little boxes that were drawn for it. Go to where people are... You won't have to look very long.
~ Elijah telling David what to do next.

Trivia

  • Elijah Price is considered - alongside John Doe, Kylo Ren and General Zod- to be one of the greatest delusional villains in fictional history.
  • Fan theory further speculates that the father of Kevin Wendell Crumb, aka The Horde, could've been killed in the same train derailment that David Dunn was the only survivor of. If this proves true, then Price not only created a superhero, David, but a supervillain as well, Kevin, as he was raised by his abusive mother due to his father's death.