Fantasy/crime sequel Bright 2 is still going ahead, although production has been delayed due to the schedule of Will Smith. The first Bright was a 2017 urban fantasy movie set in a modern day world with fantasy creatures such as orcs, elves, dwarves and centaurs living alongside humans, and sees Smith as a bigoted human police officer reluctantly partnered with the first orc to ever wear a badge. Together, they must keep a magic wand and the elf girl who wields it out of the hands of a doomsday cult, as well as other assorted criminals and corrupt cops.
Bight cost Netflix $90,000,000, the most it has ever spent on an original film, and had such confidence in its success it ordered a sequel before it had even debuted. Critics were mostly unimpressed with the film, criticizing the likes of the poor worldbuilding of its setting, the derivative crime plot glossed by superficial fantasy equivalents, and the film shying away from properly exploring the implications of society being stratified along lines of species, with what racism it does address being portrayed with ham-fisted allegory. Audiences were far more receptive to its mashup of genres, with the film racking up 11 million view in its first weekend alone, making it one of the service’s most viewed original titles ever, and also leaving it with an 84% Rotten Tomatoes score after nearly 20,000 ratings.
The news of the delay of Bright 2 came from ComicBook.com, who interviewed Bright’s star Lucy Fry about her appearance in crime drama Godfather of Harlem. Production was slated to begin earlier this year after it was confirmed that Smith would not be reprising his role as Deadshot in The Suicide Squad. However, little information about the film has been forthcoming, and it now appears to have been indefinitely delayed due to Smith’s packed filming schedule. Speaking to ComicBook.com, Fry stated
“We were going to do it this year, and then it didn't happen because of Will’s schedule. I really hope they do another one because I had so much fun making that movie. So, I just hope we get to do it again.”
Urban fantasy, a story using fantastical elements in the setting of a modern day city, is an ever-increasingly popular subgenre in literature, with some of the most successful variations being Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake books or Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, both revolving around their eponymous paranormal investigator. It’s often difficult to properly pull off in TV and film, with some better attempts being the movie The Night Stalker and its TV series continuation of an investigative journalist prying into a hidden underworld of monsters; HBO movie Cast a Deadly Spell that sees HP Lovecraft as a detective in a modern world of magic; Russian movie Night Watch that has magical immortals engaged in an eternal Cold War on the streets of Moscow; the criminally cancelled TV series Constantine, based on the Hellblazer comics and their occult detective star; and the immortal Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Bright’s popularity seemed to be in part on account of much of its audience being unfamiliar with the subgenre’s tropes, thus perceiving it as something new and revelatory rather than a poorly thought out mess of uninspired concepts, especially in comparison to that which already exists. It did admittedly have a few good ideas, but the lackluster way in which they were portrayed meant they had little impact. Bright 2 will most likely go ahead sooner or later, if for no other reason than the amount of money Netflix spent making the first one, but it should focus more on realizing the world in which it’s set if it wants to be any good.