Here's everything we know about Brightburn 2 so far. Produced by James Gunn and directed by David Yarovesky (The Hive), Brightburn is an unofficial Superman re-imagining that asks the question: what if the Man of Steel had gone down a dark and violent path when he was a child? The movie follows the same beats as the classic Superman origin story at first, showing an alien boy named Brandon (Jackson A. Dunn) growing up in small-town Kansas and discovering he has super-abilities. However, unlike Clark Kent/Kal-El, Brandon decides his powers make him superior to humanity and uses them to murder his adopted family, before unleashing his bloodlust upon the rest of the human race.
For the large part, Brightburn functions as a standalone film, and includes little in the way of obvious setup for a sequel. However, when the credits start rolling, it becomes clear Gunn, Yarovesky, and writers Brian and Mark Gunn (James' brother and cousin) have bigger plans in mind than a one-off "What if?" movie about an evil Superman (or Superboy, depending on how you look at it). Question is, what would Brightburn 2 be about? After all, the majority of the main characters are dead by the time the first movie's over and the credits play out to the tune of (appropriately) Billie Ellish's "Bad Guy".
Turns out, Brightburn includes a credits scene that offers some strong hints about the sequel's plot and other evil versions of famous DC superheroes who could show up in the film. As such, we're going to recap everything we know about Brightburn 2 so far, including the details provided by the original movie's stinger, and the odds of a followup happening in the first place.
Brightburn Sets Up An Evil Justice League For The Sequel
Brightburn ends with a credits scene that shows news footage of Brandon (now nicknamed Brightburn after his hometown) wreaking havoc, intercut with clips from a YouTube conspiracy theory show hosted by an Alex Jones-esque character known as The Big T (James Gunn's frequent collaborator Michael Rooker). As Big T explains, Brightburn isn't the only super-powered being who exists on earth. Rather, according to multiple reports, there are similarly super-human serial killers out there, including a half-sea creature, half-man monster known for sinking ships and a witch who uses rope to choke people and make them tell the truth. So yes, evil versions of Aquaman and Wonder Woman also exist in the Brightburn universe.
It's a clear setup for Brightburn 2 to feature an evil Justice League, complete with its own iteration of DC's Trinity and related superheroes (someone like Cyborg is just begging for a body horror makeover in this mythology). There are a few directions the sequel could go from there, including a story where Brightburn and his peers clash with one another as they try and settle on a plan for world domination. Another possibility is, in an inversion of the 2017 Justice League movie, Brightburn and his fellow super-villains must team up when a powerful hero emerges and threatens to wipe them all out. Whichever way you cut it, "Unite the League" would take on a whole new meaning in the sequel.
Brightburn 2 Isn't Official Yet
At the moment, Sony and Screen Gems have yet to confirm they're moving forward with Brightburn 2. The first movie grossed $17.3 million at the global box office in its first weekend of release, so it's well on its way to covering its estimated $6-12 million budget (assuming it hasn't already). At the same time, the reaction from critics and general audiences has been mixed to positive, so it might be easier to gauge whether word of mouth is there next week. Either way, Brightburn hasn't been a roaring success out of the gate and it might be a while before Sony announces their plans for a sequel... assuming they decide to make one, of course.
One of the factors working in Brightburn 2's favor is Sony itself. The studio is bringing back its biggest franchises over the next two years, including horror brands like The Grudge. They're also trying to launch new ones with upcoming films like Blumhouse's Fantasy Island horror movie reboot, and have already scheduled a sequel to this year's low-budget horror hit, Escape Room, for April 2020. Brightburn 2 could make for a complimentary addition to Sony's future slate of horror offerings, given its evil superhero twist. However, if it does get a green-light, it's unlikely to enjoy a rapid turnaround (a la Escape Room 2).
When Could Brightburn's Release Date Be?
It's difficult to say when, exactly, Brightburn 2 could hit theaters. James Gunn is currently in pre-production on The Suicide Squad and plans to start filming Guardians of the Galaxy 3 as soon as 2020. That wouldn't leave him much of a break between comic book adaptations to turn his attention to a Brightburn sequel, even as a producer and creative consultant only. Then again, now that the Brightburn world's been established, it's possible Gunn will be more hands-off when it comes to the movie and let his family and Yarovesky crack the story on their own time, with less of his input.
Either way, it's safe to assume Brightburn 2 wouldn't release in 2020. Sony already has multiple horror films set to arrive next year, in addition to titles like Jason Reitman's Ghostbusters, Morbius the Living Vampire, and Venom 2 (all of which have more than a touch of horror to them). That doesn't exactly leave room for the Brightburn sequel, even if Yarovesky and his writers were able to have it ready within the next 12 to 18 months. The sequel will presumably take longer to make than its predecessor anyway (again, see the whole evil Justice League setup), so a 2021-2022 release date seems like the more realistic best case scenario.