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A few years ago Will Smith put out one of the more bold and ambitious concept movies we’d seen in some time. Unfortunately, that movie was nearly universally panned. It was a sad moment when the dreams of Bright were dashed thanks to a flat story and an odd interweaving of fantasy elements and urban crime. The idea was solid, but the execution was lacking. That being said, they are going to take a second crack at this thing with insider Daniel Richtman reporting that Bright 2 could start filming as early as this fall.
The idea of Will Smith returning for Bright 2 has been kicking around for a few years now without much in the way of solid production information. The film rights are owned by Netflix, but there had been some stalling around who would be available to return when/ if they did the film. There seemed to be an insistence on bringing back at least the core team that included stars, Will Smith and Joel Edgerton. But it looked like they were going to move on from original director David Ayer and writer Max Landis in favor of Louis Leterrier. Richtman’s notes appear to confirm this and Leterrier will be in the director’s chair.
Additionally, it looks like Evan Spiiotopoulos (Snake Eyes, Beauty and the Beast) and T.S. Nowin have taken over the script. Will Smith will return to his role as Daryl Ward and Edgerton will play Nick Jacoby once again. There are three supporting female roles listed as well, none with any actress attached at this point. From the early notes, there is still a major fantasy element to this thing involving retrieving a wand for the Dark Lord.
Netflix originally released Bright back in 2017 and it was one of the first original major motion picture projects for platform. Under an urban fantasy vibe, it told the story of Will Smith as LAPD officer Daryl Ward who is teamed with his partner Nick Jacoby. The latter just happens to be the force’s first orc on the beat. Yup, this is a world that imagines fantasy elements and creatures living day-to-day with humans in the city center. Again, it was a high-concept undertaking that had considerable buzz when it first was coming out on Netflix.
But that buzz quickly died off when Will Smith and Bright ended up being a massive critical bomb. With a feeling that they bit off more than they could chew with the story, critics panned this thing hard and it ended up at 27% on Rotten Tomatoes. Most felt like the bones of a good idea, and a very cool world was alive in this, but the execution was completely lacking. It ended up being a bit too preachy without enough actual world-building to get the viewer fully invested.
That being said, even with the critical negativity, likely because Will Smith was involved, Bright quickly had a sequel announced with the leads planning on returning for a second story. But it sat in some production hell over the last four years while they ironed out the details. It looks like most of that has been settled and they are set to start filming. This is a chance for a real reset on what could end up being a franchise if they can get the sequel story alive and humming.