Brightburn Ending: What Happened, And What It Means
Warning: Spoilers for Brightburn are in play. If you haven’t seen the film yet, turn around before it’s too late, and come back once you’ve caught up.
When writers Brian and Mark Gunn’s Brightburn was first announced, it looked like a thrilling cross between Superman The Movie and The Omen was about to head our way. And sure enough, the David Yarovesky directed film played out just as we’d hoped it would, right down to its uber-bleak ending.
But there’s more to Brightburn’s finale than just what happened, as a mid-credits sequence opens the door to a wider world of havoc and mayhem. So we’d like to break down Brandon Bryer’s fate at the end of the film, and ask some questions about what it means and what the future could hold for Brightburn.
If you haven’t seen the film yet, this is your last chance to turn away before spoilers are in full effect. But if you’re ready to jump into the Brightburn fray, let’s start with talking about what the ending entailed.
The Ending To Brightburn
After an increasingly disturbing pattern of behavior, Brandon Bryer (Jackson A. Dunn) makes his full turn into becoming the superpowered villain he was seemingly always meant to be. Using his powers to intimidate and murder those who would try to make him answer for his deeds, Brandon eventually kills his parents.
He kill his father Kyle (David Denman) on what’s supposed to be a camping trip, but was secretly Kyle’s attempt at killing his son. Kyle tries to kill Brandon with a hunting rifle, but Brandon’s invulnerability sees him safe and sound. The son kills the father with his heat vision, and returns home just as his mother, Tori (Elizabeth Banks) accepts the fact that her adopted alien son is, in fact, evil.
Brandon returns home after Tori makes a call to Kyle, siding with him on the issue of their son’s villainy, which leads to Brandon’s greatest outburst. He destroys the family home, kills a couple of police officers, and eventually drops his mother from the sky after she tries to stab him with the only thing that could hurt him: the glass from the spaceship he crashed in.
Though he told his mother he wanted to do good, that’s no longer an option at the end of Brightburn, as we see Brandon Bryer wreck a commercial airliner to cover his tracks, and allow himself to go on to commit unspeakable acts. As the world starts to learn of his misdeeds, and his infamous reputation as a menacing force grows, he’s branded with a new name: Brightburn.
Could Brightburn Ever Become A Force For Good?
With Brandon becoming the all punishing villain at the heart of Brightburn’s super-powered universe, there’s still a question of whether he could become a force for good. As a young child, he’s still kind of in that phase where he doesn’t want anyone to tell him what to do, and seeing as he has the ability to use Superman-like powers with a moral code similar to Damien from The Omen, it’s a question that could pan out either way.
On one hand, Brandon could find himself mentored by someone down the road who could keep him in check. Maybe someone else out there will give him the patience and time that it needs to reform a child of his temperament, and humanity could be spared.
Then again, even Tori, his own mother, eventually turned to trying to kill her baby boy. So if your own mother tries to take you out, your position on your adopted species might be a little less than optimal.
It could be hard, but there’s always a slim possibility that Brandon/Brightburn could run into someone else that would change his worldview; but it all depends on how long he holds onto his superiority complex, and how long it’s allowed to grow unchecked by parental or societal figures.
Is There Really A Team Of Super Powered Villains/Heroes In The Brightburn Universe?
During the mid-credits sequence that sees Brightburn’s world turned upside-down by his heel turn, there’s a familiar face spouting conspiracy theories on the internet. He’s credited as a character known as “The Big T,” as played by Gunn family friend Michael Rooker. And in what looks like a rant in full-on meltdown mode, The Big T theorizes that Brandon might not be the only super in the Brightburn universe.
We see a quick glimpse of six supposedly super-powered menaces, and The Big T warns the audience that if they aren’t quickly dealt with, the world could be overtaken by them. While this feels like a natural setup for another entry in the Brightburn universe, there are two things that make this feel like this small moment is an extra bit of seasoning for this mid-credit roll.
First, one of the heroes in the six figure lineup happens to be Rainn Wilson’s Frank Darbo/Crimson Bolt from director James Gunn’s movie Super. While that movie set up its own problems for its central hero, having actual super powers and/or invulnerability was never in the cards. And seeing as he kind of owns the diner in the Brightburn universe, we’re not so sure he’s using that location as a hero base of sorts.
But the second, and more doubtful, proposition is the fact that Michael Rooker’s Big T comes off as an Alex Jones/InfoWars type personality, who really likes a conspiracy theory, but doesn’t provide a lot of evidence to support it. This isn’t a wholesale write-off of there being more supers in Brandon Bryer’s world, but until we see hard proof, we’re going to say that there’s no superteam awaiting the future of Brightburn. But it’d be kind of cool if there eventually was.
Where A Potential Brightburn Series Could Go From Here
There are several distinct paths that the Brightburn series could take from this point. The first of which is a possible super-villain team lead by Brandon Bryer. With Jackson A. Dunn’s ultimate bad seed being a creature of unknown planetary origin, there’s always a possibility that more like him are on this planet, waiting for a leader.
Of course, if Brian and Mark Gunn really wanted to go full Omen with their potential scripts for Brightburn sequels, we’d see Brandon wrestle with the quandary of being good versus being bad, ultimately siding fully and firmly on the villain’s side of the fence and trying to seize ultimate power. Which honestly, isn’t a bad option at all, because it’d be compelling to see a supervillain’s rise to power.
Ultimately, there’s no real limit to where Brightburn could go. The real question is which path the audience, and the creative team behind any hypothetical sequel, would find more rewarding. In which case, continuing the hybridization of The Omen and Superman franchises might be the best option; with the possibility of Brandon being adopted by a Lex Luthor-esque figure offering a hell of a sequel premise.
Seeing another Brightburn film would be a real reward, as this homage to two of director Richard Donner’s best films is a thrilling surprise at the summer box office. But it can’t remain a surprise if it wants to ever see another installment. Audiences attendance will be the key to whether or not Brandon Bryer’s story continues, and with Brightburn currently in theaters, we’ll have to wait to see if this evil is vanquished into cinematic obscurity, or allowed to flourish into something more menacing.
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