Warning: The following contains spoilers for Bright.
Netflix's foray into big-budget blockbuster movies with Bright may not have see the resoundingly positive critical reception the streaming giant would like, but the urban fantasy action cop drama certainly has a number of redeeming factors, not the least of which is the fascinating mythology surrounding its modern-day alternate fantasy reality in which Humans, Elves, Orcs, and more all live in present-day Los Angeles.
With a world that teases government organizations and secret societies as complex as those seen in Harry Potter and gritty street-level police drama like David Ayer became famous for with Training Day and End of Watch, Bright did not shy away from building a complicated lore, and, while it could be all a lot to take in, it still developed a fascinating world ripe for a potential franchise. With a sequel already in the works, we can expect to see more from this universe, exploring this 2,000-year-old lore even further.
Related: Netflix’s Bright Ending Explained
Page 1 (this page): The Dark Lord, Magic, Wands, and Brights
The Dark Lord
The Dark Lord is a powerful evil entity that wants to enslave the world in his magic. 2,000 years ago, he came to power through his use of dark magic, death, and destruction. Armies or Orcs sided with him in an attempt to spread his influence.
Uniting against the power of the Dark Lord, a simple Orc farmer, Jirak, who had not pledged himself to the Dark Lord or even been "blooded" by his own people, stood up against the forces of darkness. Rallying to his cause, the 9 races of the world stood shoulder to shoulder, bringing their own magic to bear against the Dark Lord, killing him.
Despite his death, a prophecy states that the power of 3 wands could be sufficient to bring him back from the dead so he can kill billions and enslave the world in the influence of his magic once more.
Bright exists in a world that looks very much like the one we live in, only there are a number of fantasy elements injected, namely a number of races like Elves, Orcs, and Centaurs. While magic is very much a part of the lore, it is not in active use, and in some cases appears to even be hotly debated as a myth or conspiracy theory.
Because magic was a primary tool of the Dark Lord's, its use, and information about its existence is highly regulated, so while this world grows out of a magical fantasy setting, it's far more grounded and similar to the real world, with most weapons, machines, and other technology functioning by their traditional means instead of having any kind of magical augmentation.
Magical wands are items of immense magical power. Described as being "like a nuclear bomb that grants wishes," wands can be used for a variety of purposes from attack to defense or healing, but presumably, have near infinite applications if the wielder is proficient enough.
Wands are exceptionally rare and highly regulated due to their clear potential for misuse. In addition to their inherent destructive potential, the union of 3 wands would supply enough magic to return the Dark Lord himself from the grave, so it's clear a wand is no trivial matter.
Wands can only be wielded by a special being called a "Bright." Brights aren't their own races, but special people within their own race. Brights are almost exclusively known to be Elves, but once in a great while, a human Bright will appear. If it's possible for an Orc or other race to also be a Bright, it's so infrequent that it's virtually unknown, or the Brights that do exist in other races have just never had an opportunity to come in contact with a wand.
If anyone that isn't a bright touches a wand with their bare skin, they are completely consumed by its magic, exploding in a wave of magic that can kill everything in the near vicinity. However, merely being a Bright in and of itself isn't enough to properly wield a magic wand. Knowing the proper spells is necessary to use different magical applications, and without proficient training, the more powerful spells can be very threatening to inexperienced brights.
- Bright (2017) release date: Dec 22, 2017