Director, stars to return for sequel to Netflix orc cop drama 'Bright'

Will Smith, left, and Joel Edgerton in a scene from the Netflix film "Bright." (Matt Kennedy/Netflix)

Filmmaker David Ayer is returning to Netflix to write and direct the sequel to his unexpected sci-fi hit "Bright."

The fantasy buddy cop action-comedy, starring Will Smith as a Los Angeles Police Department officer forced to partner with a mystical orc, played by Joel Edgerton, was widely panned by critics just before its December 22 release, but fans were undeterred, with more than 11 million Netflix users streaming the film in its first three days of release.

The public response, along with its 88 percent audience approval rating on review site Rotten Tomatoes, was great news for streaming service bosses, as they had already ordered a "Bright" follow-up, and now they have confirmed Ayer's involvement in the sequel.

Leading men Smith and Edgerton are also expected to reprise their characters.

Netflix officials announced the news in a quirky video posted on social media on Wednesday, with the footage disguised as a "leaked" orc audition tape, in which two aspiring actors explain why they would be perfect castmembers, citing their talent for action scenes, while insisting working alongside Will Smith would be a dream come true.

The clip ended with the message, "Bright The Sequel is confirmed," before a string of suggested titles appeared onscreen, including Bright 2, Brighter, Bad Boys in Mordor, Orcs Gone Wild, The Last Inferni, and Wand Wars.

"ANNOUNCEMENT: Orc auditions for the @BrightNetflix sequel are now closed," read the caption for the video. "Thank you. Have a nice day."

With a second movie in development, "Bright" is now set to become the first blockbuster film franchise from a streaming service.

Screenwriter Max Landis wrote the plot for the original release, which was directed by Ayer.

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