Well, things just keep getting worse for Will Smith. For those who enjoyed the 2017 Netflix movie Bright, you never got a sequel. However, there was that spin-off animated movie we got last year that showed us that universe in the era of feudal Japan. It was actually pretty good, much better than the movie itself. After watching the spin-off, titled Samurai Soul, I was more interested in seeing more spin-off movies that would take place in different time periods. I think most fans would take that over a direct sequel to the 2017 David Ayer movie.
Bright wasn’t too well-received by critics and audiences, but it gained a lot of viewers. Like, over a million. No matter how poorly received it was, that amount of views surely got Netflix thinking about a sequel. Now I wouldn’t really say no to a Bright sequel. I personally dug the fantasy and atmosphere behind it, where magical creatures co-exist with regular humans in the modern era. What Samurai Soul did was dive deeper into the very history of it, which confirmed that the orcs were always considered to be an inferior race. Everything the movie tried to explain and show, that animated spin-off did it better.
So, while there aren’t any other spin-offs apparently being worked on, Netflix did consider a sequel. The only problem was an obvious one, in which David Ayer didn’t really deliver a movie that many people liked. Like many other mediocre movies, Bright had a good foundation with an interesting idea, but the execution was off. What did keep me interested in Bright was Will Smith as LAPD officer Daryl Ward and his partner, officer Nick Jakoby, the first orc ever to become a cop.
It was clear that Bright was having trouble finding its own genre. Was it trying to be a buddy cop movie or a fantasy/action movie or a cop drama? Actually, it seemed like a combination of all three. There were all the elements of police brutality and corruption, along with racial profiling and discrimination, except the races in this movie weren’t real. We all got the messages it was trying to send, but I just saw it as Will Smith being a cop with an orc. That’s definitely a cool premise, but I think Bright might have taken itself a little too seriously.
Speaking of Will Smith, I’m sure everyone and their mother knows about his slapping incident at the Oscars. I really hope he and Chris Rock work things out, but Will Smith is now facing multiple consequences. On top of being banned from the Academy for ten years, Netflix has postponed several of his upcoming projects. One includes an action movie called Fat and Loose and the other is, you guessed it, the Bright sequel. While Fat and Loose is reportedly just put on hold, Netflix has completely scrapped the Bright sequel.
These aren’t the only projects starring Will Smith that have been put on hold. Another Netflix movie in the works called The Council has been put on hold, along with the National Geographic program Pole to Pole that is now set to release in the fall. And of course, the biggest movie of his that is being put on hold is the next Bad Boys movie. Oh boy, now that one is disappointing. Can we say the same about Bright 2 being canceled? I would certainly say no.
Now I think we should wonder if Netflix was really going to go past the development stage with Bright 2. Did it even ever really build any momentum after Netflix ordered the sequel in 2017? The last progress I’ve heard about it was Netflix approached The Incredible Hulk director Louis Leterrier to direct the sequel. That was two years ago and nothing concrete was ever reported after that. No confirmed director was ever announced and I can’t imagine Will Smith putting that at the top of his to-do list.
I’m not really surprised Netflix canceled the Bright sequel. Despite the first one gaining many viewers, not too many people were pumped for a sequel. The animated spin-off was an unexpected surprise that really hit well with fans. In my opinion, that is what Netflix should be focusing on. Give us another spin-off that dives even deeper into the history of the Bright universe. Visit another time period and introduce more races that live in it. Samurai Soul showed us the orcs and the elves, but also introduced goblins as another race. They can certainly take it a few steps further, probably to the point where they can develop a whole series.
Needless to say, that is the more beneficial option over a direct sequel to the Bright movie. And to be honest, even if that Will Smith drama never happened, I still wouldn’t totally believe Bright 2 would really happen. For all I know, Netflix already had someone in mind and was ready to green light the sequel. But if there was a director lined up, that news probably would have been already announced. On top of that, I think Will Smith and Joel Edgerton have moved on and are busy with other projects. They were the two saving graces of Bright and if they’re not involved, then a direct sequel is not needed.
Personally, I still think another spin-off is the right move for Netflix and the Bright universe. Despite the mixed reception of the movie, it’s still an intriguing world filled with many story possibilities. None of them really need the involvement of Will Smith and can be separate from the events of the movie. Another spin-off can show us more of the Bright world before and after the events of Samurai Soul. If we get more of that, then the Bright franchise (if you can call it that) can have a future.
What are your thoughts, Bright fans? Are you disappointed by the cancellation of the sequel? This wasn’t totally surprising news, but maybe something better can come out of it. But make no mistake about it, this won’t be the last Will Smith project to be canceled.