David Ayer is getting some backup on his upcoming sequel to Bright. Netflix has recruited screenwriter Evan Spiliotopoulos to pen the script for the sequel to the action fantasy, which starred Joel Edgarton and Will Smith as two odd couple policemen working in an alternate reality Los Angeles where all manner of magical creatures walk the warring streets.
Spiliotopoulos is no stranger to the fantastical, having penned a number of DTV Disney animated movies before writing the screenplays for the blockbuster fantasy films Beauty and the Beast and The Huntsman: Winter’s War. Max Landis (American Ultra) wrote the initial spec script for the first film and reportedly landed quite the paycheck (to the tune of $3-4 million) after igniting a bidding war, which Netflix eventually won. However, Landis won’t return for the sequel. THR‘s sources say that’s due to creative disagreements between Landis and Ayer, who was originally set to pen the script for the sequel when the project was first announced. Aside from Suicide Squad, Ayer’s previous writing credits have been pretty consistently centered on ground-level action from Training Day to Fury, so Spiliotopoulos certainly seems like a sensible candidate to help build out the fantasy elements.
Bright is set in an alternate present day populated by disparate races like orcs, fairies, and elves, who live side-by-side with humans. The first film revolved around the first orc cop allowed on the force (Edgerton), who teams up with Smith’s police officer to stop an evil elvish plot to bring about the return of a dark lord. Outside the novelty of the concept, Bright was a pretty painfully generic movie, both as a fantasy and a two-hander cop drama, and it made surprisingly little use of its possibilities by keeping the action confined to just a few locations. That wasn’t a budget choice — the film cost $90 million and was Netflix’s big move to show they could compete with studio blockbusters — but it did leave audiences wanting more of the magical world beyond the streets of L.A..