Entertainment

Netflix Is Making a Sequel to 'Bright' Whether You Like It Or Not

Bright Netflix Sequel
Matt Kennedy/Netflix

Towards the end of December, Netflix released Bright, a big budget fantasy action drama starring Will Smith as a human cop and Joel Edgerton as his Orc partner. The David Ayer directed thriller was, for the most part, pretty bad, with many critics (and Chance the Rapper) pointing out the heavy handed social commentary on race relations wasn't exactly a great fit with the film's frantic shoot-outs and repetitive one-liners. After being mocked on the internet for a week, it looked like the Bright universe was coming to a close. Even magic can't save a flop.

But you know who did watch Bright? 11 million people over about three days, according to Nielsen. So, clearly, casual viewers either ignored the less than stellar reviews or simply could not resist the prospect of hearing Will Smith deliver dialogue like, "I'm the motherfucker with the wand!" Either way, the movie was a hit and now it looks like Netflix, which has never released a sequel to one of its own original movies, is officially in the franchise game.

And they're bringing back Ayer, Smith, and Edgerton for the sequel. While plot details are clearly under wraps, it's safe to assume that the movie will deal with the fallout of the movie's explosion-filled ending. (Spoiler alert for Bright: Smith's character Daryl Ward is the rare human who can wield a wand without blowing up into a million pieces.) It's worth noting that Bright's writer Max Landis, who was reportedly paid $3.5 million for his spec script but has recently been accused of sexual assault, is absent from the official announcement; Ayer will be reportedly take over script-writing duties for the sequel.

The announcement even arrived with a cheeky sequel confirmation video that also features a few orcs auditioning for the movie. (One of them even makes a joke about Alien Nation, a movie many Bright detractors name-checked in their reviews.) Check it out below.

So, is there a possibility that Bright 2: Turn Off the Dark ends up being anything other than terrible? Maybe. There are action movie series that have improved with sequels and Ayer, who wrote Training Day and directed End of Watch, has made enjoyable movies in the past. (Don't forget he also directed Suicide Squad.) But the buddy cop genre is mostly based on the relationship between the leads -- think of Smith and Martin Lawrence in Bad Boys, or Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon -- and it's unclear if audiences are really begging for more of Smith and Edgerton's "shut up" filled banter. The first movie had flashes of inspiration and wit. But the core of the movie was broken. Throwing more money at the problem probably won't fix it. 

Ultimately, it doesn't matter: Tons of people watched Will Smith fight elves over the holidays and now we've been cursed with Bright sequels for the foreseeable future. There's no magic wand that can save us from that.

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Dan Jackson is a staff writer at Thrillist Entertainment. He's on Twitter @danielvjackson.