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Good cannot exist without evil and evil cannot exist without good.
~ Elijah Price
Now that we know who you are... I know who I am. I'm not a mistake! It all makes sense! In a comic, y'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, y'know why David? Because of the kids! They called me Mr. Glass...
~ Elijah's most famous quote.
Elijah Price, also known as Mr. Glass, is the main antagonist of the Eastrail 177 film trilogy, serving as the main antagonist of Unbreakable, the unseen overarching antagonist in Split and the titular villainous main protagonist of Glass. He is David Dunn's archenemy and former mentor, as well as the owner of "Limited Edition" shop and a supervillain.
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 - highly 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. Elijah has been a recluse throughout his entire life, as a child refusing to leave his home for fear of breaking himself, and acting rather antisocially on several occasions as an adult.
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.
19 years later, little has changed in his personality, although he remains much more silent and lifeless than usual due to his lengthy time in prison. He doesn't even speak to his mother when she comes to visit, showing that his more human emotions have significantly dulled. Of course, this is all an act. When seeing Kevin Wendell Crumb and "The Beast" that resides within Kevin's consciousness, he speaks to Kevin and convinces The Horde to join him and to allow The Beast to meet him. Once he sees the power of 'The Beast' and his ability to climb walls, he's amazed and extremely pleased that another supernatural person exists, and offers 'The Beast' the chance to prove to The Horde and to the world the power of 'The Beast'. When David Dunn's son Joseph reveals that Kevin's father was one of the fatalities of the same train crash David was in, instead of attempting to apologize to 'The Beast' for his actions, he smiles, ecstatic to know that he created 'The Beast' as he created David, and explains to 'The Beast' that without his intervention, 'The Beast' would've never had to be born. It is at this moment that he truly accepts himself as a mastermind who creates superheroes and supervillains, and even on the verge of death, he is still happy because he knows that in the end, he succeeded in his purpose by creating two superhumans and exposing the existence of superheroes and supervillains to the world.
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 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.
The film begins with Elijah orchestrating a train crash, killing 130 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 is not convinced and leaves under the impression that he is 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 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.
In the 2016 film, Elijah was mentioned by David Dunn who was eating at a restaurant during a news report about Kevin Wendell Crumb. One waitress talked about a similar case with a crazy guy in the wheelchair that they put away 15 years ago and who was given a weird name too. When the waitress wonders what his name was, David says "Mr. Glass."
In the 2019 film, Elijah is surprised to see David and Kevin being taken into custody and sent into the same asylum he's been held for many years. The three are being held by Dr. Ellie Staple, who tried to persuade them that there is no such thing as superhuman powers and that they actually have mental illness.
However, David, Elijah and Kevin all refused to accept this as it turns out that Dr. Staple is part of an anti-superhuman society that is willing to refute any evidence regarding to supers and that she plans to kill him, David and Kevin to accomplish it.
Being aware of Staple's true intentions, Elijah forms an alliance with Kevin to expose the existence of supers to the world.
After getting his outfit out of the evidence locker and watching Kevin as the Beast kill an orderly, Elijah informs him that one of the Horde is going to have to get them out. Dennis is elected and poses as an orderly where they move through the underground. When confronted by some guards, Dennis states to Elijah to move his wheelchair forward. Elijah does and Kevin assumes his Beast identity to kill the guards.
To that end, Elijah escapes. Once outside, Elijah arranges a fight between David and Kevin in the institution's grounds.
However, Kevin soon learns from David's son Joseph that Elijah is the one responsible for his father's death in the same train crash, leading The Beast to crush Elijah's shoulder before harshly punching him in the chest, shattering Elijah's ribs and puncturing his lung. To make matters worse, Elijah collapses from blood loss and falls out of his wheelchair, breaking his legs. Meanwhile, Dr. Staple sends over several armed men to kill David by drowning him in a pothole filled with water. Elijah later dies in his mother's arms from a combination of severe bone fracture trauma, blood loss and respiratory failure. In his final moments, he proclaims that he is not a mistake while his mother agrees and tells him that he was spectacular.
Following Kevin's death at the hands of the armed men, Staple seems to have accomplished her goal in killing the supers, but it turns out that Elijah anticipated the possibility of being killed and previously hacked the security cameras into recording the events before sending the footage to his mother, Joseph Dunn and Casey Cooke, prior to his demise. Joseph, Casey and Mrs. Price would later expose the footage to the public in revenge for the deaths of Elijah, David and Kevin, thus exposing the existence of those with superhuman abilities and leaving Staple's efforts in vain.
There are unknown forces that don't want us to realize what we are truly capable of. They don't want us to know the things we suspect are extraordinary about ourselves are real. I believe that if everyone sees what just a few people become when they wholly embrace their gifts, others will awaken. Belief in oneself is contagious. We give each other permission to be superheroes. We will never awaken otherwise. Whoever these people are who don't want us to know the truth, today they lose.
~ Elijah's final message to the world
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 Teletubbies 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.
Go to where people are... You won't have to look very long. It's okay to be afraid, David. Because this part won't be like a comic book... Real life doesn't fit into little boxes that were drawn for it.
~ Elijah telling David what to do next.
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 in Unbreakable.
First name: Mister. Second name: Glass.
~ Elijah in Glass.
Everything extraordinary can be explained a way, and yet it is true. I think deep down you know this. Everything we will see and do will have a basis in science. But, it will have limits; this is the real world, not a cartoon. And yet some of us don't die from bullets. Some of us can still bend steel. That is not a fantasy.
~ Elijah dissuading Patricia's doubts of The Beast's powers.
You're nine forever, right? That's incredible. You can see the world the way it really is, always: A kid who can never grow old.
~ Elijah meeting Hedwig.
I assume you were sent here to be an avenging angel. How much do you want to avenge us?
~ Elijah questioning The Beast's determination.
That sounds like the bad guys teaming up.
~ Elijah and The Horde join forces.
You're fighting for the broken. You've found your purpose.
~ Elijah telling The Beast his purpose.
It's all evidence, you see? If that train crash hadn't happened, Kevin wouldn't have been left alone with his mother. If Kevin's mother wasn't allowed to continue to abuse him, then The Beast wouldn't have had to be born. What are the odds that David Dunn and Clarence Wendell Crumb would be together that day? Amazing! I created you as I created David. It just took longer: 19 years. They almost convinced me I was crazy! I create superheroes. I truly am... a mastermind.
~ Elijah explaining his motives to The Beast.
I wasn't a mistake, Mama.
~ Mr. Glass' last words to his mother before succumbing to his injuries.
Each of the three protagonists of the Unbreakable Trilogy (David Dunn, Elijah Price and Kevin W. Crumb) have their own distinctive colors: David's colors are dark shades of green, Kevin's colors are shades of yellow and Elijah's colors are shades of purple.