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Hello Darkness, my new friend.
―Tagline

Orion and the Dark is a 2024 fantasy adventure film adapted from the best-selling 40-page picture book Orion and the Dark by author and illustrator Emma Yarlett.

The film marks DreamWorks Animation's second feature film exclusively being distributed by Netflix. The film was released on February 2, 2024.

Premise[]

Orion seems a lot like your average elementary school kid – shy, unassuming, harboring a secret crush. But underneath his seemingly normal exterior, Orion is a ball of adolescent anxiety, completely consumed by irrational fears of bees, dogs, the ocean, cell phone waves, murderous gutter clowns, and even falling off of a cliff. But of all his fears, the thing he’s the most afraid of is what he confronts on a nightly basis: the dark. So when the literal embodiment of his worst fear pays a visit, Dark whisks Orion away on a roller coaster ride around the world to prove there is nothing to be afraid of in the night.

As the unlikely pair grows closer, Orion must decide if he can learn to accept the unknown – to stop letting fear control his life - and finally embrace the joy of living.

Plot[]

Orion is a severely anxious 11-year-old with an extensive list of irrational fears. He journals his fears in his diary and is nervous about being rejected by his school crush, Sally, at an upcoming planetarium field trip. One night, after a sudden blackout, Orion is greeted by Dark, the embodiment of his worst fear, in his bedroom. Tired of Orion's constant complaints about him, Dark offers to take Orion on a trip to help him overcome his fears by showing him the benefits and wonders of nighttime. Along the way, it is revealed that an adult Orion is telling the story to his young daughter, Hypatia, to help with her fears.

During their travels, Dark introduces Orion to his fellow night entities Sleep, Insomnia, Quiet, Unexplained Noises and Sweet Dreams. Dark convinces them to let Orion witness their work, to which they reluctantly agree. As they travel, Dark shows Orion how Quiet removes surrounding sounds, Sleep induces people to slumber, Insomnia induces anxiety and wakes some people up, Unexplained Noises makes various noises outside homes, and Sweet Dreams generates wonderful dreams. Initially, Orion's anxious behavior interferes with the night entities' jobs, but as Orion warms up to and eventually befriends Dark, he helps the night entities in their tasks. Additionally, Orion briefly encounters Light, Dark's nemesis who brings daylight in the mornings while Dark brings nighttime in the evenings.

Continuing their journey, Orion inadvertently remarks how Light seems preferable to Dark, as Light makes him feel safe and warm. Feeling dejected, the other entities abandon their nighttime duties in exchange for working during the day. Angry and saddened by their abandonment, Dark stops on a mountaintop. A guilty Orion pleads with Dark to move before Light passes through and disintegrates him but Dark stays still and vanishes as Light passes through him, abandoning Orion. Now alone, Orion sits on the mountaintop, which he realizes is the back of a flying turtle, ashamed of his actions.

With the story ended, the now adult Orion and his daughter Hypatia walk through the city to the planetarium, Hypatia is shocked by his ending and suggests a different narrative. As she takes over the story, Orion, now alone at the beach, is met by Hypatia who promises to help him. She recites a poem she has written based on the story so far and the night entities return, having witnessed the chaos brought by endless daylight without nighttime to maintain the natural balance of the world. Remembering Dark to be the literal embodiment of Orion's worst fear, they realize Orion needs to sleep and dream about Dark to bring him back.

With Sweet Dreams' help, the two children enter Orion's subconscious and successfully summon Dark from the memory of the first time they met in Orion's bedroom, but the reunion is cut short when his closet door opens and reveals a black hole which tries to pull Dark in. Finally learning to accept his fears, Orion jumps in to save Dark, while Quiet softly wakes him up right in time for them to get out of the dream. Dark reappears, restoring the natural order of the world, and returns the children to Orion's house before bidding them farewell. After Dark's departure, Hypatia is now stuck 20 years in her past with no way to return home. However, the story is resolved as a young boy named Tycho arrives in a time machine to bring Hypatia back.

The story ends again, and it is revealed that an adult Hypatia is telling the story to her son, Tycho. Finishing the story, Hypatia goes outside to say goodnight to her father and mother, the now much older Orion and Sally, as the scene cuts back to the start with a young Orion and Sally gazing at the stars on the Planetarium field trip.

Cast[]

  • Jacob Tremblay as Orion Mendelson
    • Colin Hanks as Adult Orion Mendelson
  • Paul Walter Hauser as Dark
  • Angela Bassett as Sweet Dreams
  • Natasia Demetriou as Sleep
  • Golda Rosheuvel as Unexplained Noises/Debbie
  • Nat Faxon as Insomnia
  • Aparna Nancherla as Quiet
  • Ike Barinholtz as Light
  • Carla Gugino as Orion's Mom
  • Matt Dellapina as Dom Mendelson, Orion's Dad
  • Nick Kishiyama as Tycho
  • Mia Akemi Brown as Hypatia
    • Shannon Chan-Kent as Adult Hypatia
  • Jack Fisher as Richi Panichi
  • Werner Herzog as Narrator

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Trivia[]

Video[]

References[]

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Feature Films: Antz (1998) • The Prince of Egypt (1998) • The Road to El Dorado (2000) • Shrek (2001) • Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002) • Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003) • Shrek 2 (2004) • Shark Tale (2004) • Madagascar (2005) • Over the Hedge (2006) • Shrek the Third (2007) • Bee Movie (2007) • Kung Fu Panda (2008) • Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008) • Monsters vs. Aliens (2009) • How to Train Your Dragon (2010) • Shrek Forever After (2010) • Megamind (2010) • Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011) • Puss in Boots (2011) • Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012) • Rise of the Guardians (2012) • The Croods (2013) • Turbo (2013) • Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014) • How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) • Penguins of Madagascar (2014) • Home (2015) • Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) • Trolls (2016) • The Boss Baby (2017) • Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017) • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) • Abominable (2019) • Trolls World Tour (2020) • The Croods: A New Age (2020) • Spirit Untamed (2021) • The Boss Baby: Family Business (2021) • The Bad Guys (2022) • Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022) • Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken (2023) • Trolls Band Together (2023) • Kung Fu Panda 4 (2024)

Co-produced Films: Chicken Run (2000) • Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) • Flushed Away (2006)
Upcoming Films: The Wild Robot (2024) • Dog Man (2025) • How to Train Your Dragon (2025)The Bad Guys 2 (2025) • Gabby's Dollhouse: The Movie (2025) • Shrek 5 (2026)
Feature Films in Development: Mice & MysticsThe JumblesKevinRebel SkiesKlande Evil Alien Warlord CatSpy Toys
Direct-to-Video Films: Joseph: King of Dreams (2000)
Digital films: Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans (2021) • Orion and the Dark (2024)
Canceled Films: TuskerThe WandererTortoise vs. HareTruckersMe & My ShadowMonkeys of MumbaiRumblewickB.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly OperationsGiants: Forces of NatureLarrikinsZodiacSpooky Jack

Television
TV Specials: Shrek the Halls (2007) • Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space (2009) • Merry Madagascar (2009) • Scared Shrekless (2010) • Kung Fu Panda Holiday (2010) • Gift of the Night Fury (2011) • Madly Madagascar (2013) • Trolls Holiday (2017) • How to Train Your Dragon: Homecoming (2019) • Trolls: Holiday in Harmony (2021) • The Bad Guys: A Very Bad Holiday (2023)

Shorts: Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party! (2001) • Shrek 4-D (2003) • Sinbad and the Cyclops Island (2003) • Far Far Away Idol (2004) • Club Oscar (2005) • The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper (2005) • First Flight (2006) • Hammy's Boomerang Adventure (2006) • Secrets of the Furious Five (2008) • B.O.B.'s Big Break (2009) • Legend of the Boneknapper Dragon (2010) • Donkey's Caroling Christmas-tacular (2010) • Megamind: The Button of Doom (2011) • Thriller Night (2011) • The Pig Who Cried Werewolf (2011) • Night of the Living Carrots (2011) Book of Dragons (2011) • Gift of the Night Fury (2011) • Secrets of the Masters (2011) • Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos (2012) • Almost Home (2014) • Rocky and Bullwinkle (2014) • Dawn of the Dragon Racers (2014) • Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Scroll (2016) • Bird Karma (2018) • Bilby (2018) • Marooned (2019) • To: Gerard (2020)
TV Series: Toonsylvania (1998) • Invasion America (1998) • Alienators: Evolution Continues (2001–2002) • Father of the Pride (2004–2005) • The Penguins of Madagascar (2008–15) • Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness (2011–2016) • DreamWorks Dragons (2012-2018) • Monsters vs. Aliens (2013-2014) • Turbo FAST (2013–2016) • VeggieTales in the House (2014-2016) • All Hail King Julien (2014-2017) • The Adventures of Puss in Boots (2015-2018) • Dinotrux (2015-2018) • The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show (2015-2017) • Dawn of the Croods (2015-2017) • Noddy, Toyland Detective (2016-present) • Voltron: Legendary Defender (2016-2018) • Home: Adventures with Tip and Oh (2016-2018) • Trollhunters (2016-2018) • VeggieTales in the City (2017) • Spirit Riding Free (2017-2020) • Trolls: The Beat Goes On! (2018-2019) • The Boss Baby: Back in Business (2018-2020) • The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (TV series) (2018-2019) • Harvey Street Kids (2018-2020) • The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants (2018-2020) • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018-2020) • Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny (2018-2019) • 3Below (2018-2019) • Where's Waldo? (2019-2020) • Archibald's Next Big Thing (2019-present) • Dragons: Rescue Riders (2019-2022) • Fast & Furious: Spy Racers (2019-2021) • Cleopatra in Space (2020-present) • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts (2020) • Rhyme Time Town (2020-2021) • Madagascar: A Little Wild (2020-2022) • Wizards (2020) • Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous (2020-2022) • The Mighty Ones (2020-2022) • Doug Unplugs (2020-2022) • Trolls: TrollsTopia (2020-2022) • Gabby's Dollhouse (2021-present) • Go, Dog. Go! (2021-2022) • The Croods: Family Tree (2021-2023) • Dragons: The Nine Realms (2021-2023) • Team Zenko Go (2022) • Pinecone & Pony (2022-2023) • The Boss Baby: Back in the Crib (2022-2023) • Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight (2022-2023) • Abominable and the Invisible City (2022-2023) • Not Quite Narwhal (2023-present) • Dew Drop Diaries (2023-present) • Fright Krewe (2023-present) • Curses! (2023-present) • Megamind Rules! (2024-present) • Jurassic World: Chaos Theory (2024-present)
Upcoming TV Series:Megamind vs. The Doom Syndicate (2024) • Felix the Cat (TBA) • Bearbrick (TBA)

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