burning questions

20 Questions We Have About Bright and Its Sequel

Photo: Matt Kennedy/Netflix

The movie Bright — hailed as “The Worst Movie of 2017” by IndieWire — was … a lot. A lot of looks, a lot of big swings at saying something Important about Racism, a lot of dropped plot points. But somehow, the big-budget Netflix feature about cops and interspecies relations has been given the go-ahead for a sequel, with David Ayer (as director), Will Smith (as the police officer Scott Ward), and Joel Edgerton (officer Nick Jakoby) all expected to return. We have a lot of questions about this decision, but we have even more questions about the plot of the second film itself, considering the dozens of threads left dangling at the end of Bright. Here are just a few. (And, yes, we know we’re overthinking this.)

1. Have the Elves always been in power?
So the Elves are supposed to represent the one percent, right? The rich people in their ivory Elven towers, looking down at all us poors, judging as we clean up their waste and probably build those towers for them. But was it always that way? Was there an Elf coup? Did some Ur-Elf amass a great empire and fortune that all Elves through time have benefited from? To be fair to Bright (for some reason), the Shield of Light soldier who gets arrested at the beginning of the movie points out, “You ever notice how most Brights are Elves? And Elves run the world?” That’s a good start!

2. How long has the blended society been around?
Is this a forever thing? As in, since the beginning of time? Various characters reference the ancient wars in which the Orcs chose the “wrong side” and have been paying for it ever since by sitting at the inescapable bottom of a cross-species caste system — does that mean humans and Elves and Orcs and Fairies have always been aware of each other and semi-integrated? If there is a Bible in the Bright-verse, does it mention Brights? Was Jesus a Bright? If there are old Greek myths, would any of the gods be part Orc?

3. What is a Bright?
Are they a mutation? We know they are usually Elves but can be other species, so are they part of a bloodline? Do they come from some ancient civilization that was just all Brights who got dispersed to protect their Brightness after a threat of extinction? This one is fundamental, guys. Can’t leave it unanswered.

4. What did that reported $100 million budget pay for?
Was it like $90 million for Will Smith and $10 million for … everything else?

5. Seriously, what happened to that assassin Elf that got magic’d by Tikka?
When Ward and Jakoby go into the safe house with all the charred corpses on the floor, they find a body in a wall that has been turned into some kind of performance-art project. There’s a half torso of something human-adjacent, and from the breasts down it looks like the body is made of glass — except by “body,” we mean an elaborate formation of tubes that looks like an artist’s rendering of ribs and intestines fashioned into either wings or the corona of the sun. Oh, and those glass intestine wings are radiating light. Ward and Jakoby look sufficiently terrified by it, but they call it in, saying, “Possible Bright at our location.” What? Why? Because someone clearly used magic?

We find out later that the glass body was an Elf assassin sent to kill Tikka the Bright (Lucy Fry), who was in the apartment being “protected” by the Shield of Light, but Tikka snatched the wand from the assassin and magic’d her into a piece of wall art. But when the Elf assassin magic’d the humans, they just turned into burning corpses. Is the glass thing what happens when you magic Elves? Or just the Inferni Elves, who are the Illuminati replacements trying to bring back the Dark Lord? Why was this not very clearly explained?

6. What are the Inferni?
Yes, we know they’re “renegade Elves” and that they eliminated and basically replaced the Illuminati 100 years ago as Earth’s resident creepy band of shadow people you can blame every bad thing in the world for. But do they have to be Elves? Are all Inferni Brights? Are there Inferni familiars, like with vampires?

7. What good was the Shield of Light anyway?
So these Shield of Light guys are supposed to protect Earth from the rise of the Dark Lord. But how? They were protecting the Tikka, but they also all got wiped out pretty handily by the Elf assassin. That bum swinging a sword in the street? He was part of the Shield of Light, and did precisely nothing useful in the movie, besides giving that big speech. The Shield, presumably a militia in dystopian knits, had plenty of opportunities to swoop in and bail Ward and Jakoby’s asses out of trouble when they were shuttling Tikka around the city all night long, being pursued by Inferni killers and angry Orcs. It seems like it should have been their one job to do exactly that: rescue Tikka! Seriously, will the Shield of Light mean more in a Bright sequel? Will we find out their origins? Will they … do something?

8. Why did Tikka’s veins turn black after she used the wand?Does using magic drain a Bright’s life force? Is the only way to regenerate it by getting into that spa under the sacred tree? Are there more sacred tree spas? Can we go?

9. What accent was Tikka speaking with?
Lucy Fry, the actress who played Tikka, is Australian. If she comes back for the sequel, don’t make her do that mystical accent again. It’s so weird.

10. What does an Orc being “blooded” even mean?
How will other Orcs know Jakoby has been “blooded” after a lifetime of being ostracized from his people? Does he get to grow his teeth now? Is that how you can tell?

11. Will Jakoby be a better cop in the next one?
We get it. He seemed pretty new to the force, but even besides that whole thing where he was buying lunch when Ward got shot in the chest, he was kind of a liability in the field. Very charming. Very kind. But now that he’s a hero cop, he really needs to actually be an effective cop.

12. Will the Orc who shot Ward actually matter at all?
Or was he totally a red herring?

13. Can Chance the Rapper be invited to the writers room for the sequel?
He has some thoughts.

14. Can there be fewer graphic fairy murders?
Those things look way too human to watch them get beaten to death. Even one was too many.

15. Are the “Magic Feds” really good guys, then?
The Magic Feds (Edgar Ramirez as Kandomere and Happy Anderson as Montehugh) were very confusing. They were presented as arrogant and brash and pursuing the wand just like everyone else, but were ultimately ineffectual and a nonfactor. Are we supposed to trust these guys, or did Ward and Jakoby just clean up a mess for them and do their jobs by securing the wand, which they will use for their own nefarious purposes in the sequel? The part at the end where they just peacefully left Ward and Jakoby after a mini-debrief in the hospital felt like a real nonevent for some supersecret government agency with some prickly Elves in the field who could have been playing both sides.

16. Can you un-kill Noomi Rapace’s character, Leilah?
She was great at being a magical spooky ninja assassin Elf. And don’t say you can’t because it “wouldn’t make sense.” We’re so far past sense.

17. Can a skinny, rainbow-haired white guy play a minor role as an extremely annoying side villain who gets roughed up by Jakoby and Ward after he gets bounced from a bar for harassing women?
Asking for a friend. No particular reason.

18. Why does the predicted mass of the quantum vacuum have little effect on the expansion of the universe?
Surely $100 million could go a long way to addressing the vacuum catastrophe.

19. Have you considered splitting $100 million five ways and giving $20 million each to filmmakers like Jennifer Phang, Justin Chon, or Gina Prince-Bythewood?
There’s still time.

20. Why are you doing this sequel?

20 Questions We Have About Bright and Its Sequel