‘Orion And The Dark’ Ending Explained & Spoilers: Did Orion Really Overcome The Fear Of The Dark?

Charlie Kaufman is indeed one of the most interesting minds working in Hollywood currently. He has criticized the kind of movies being made there in recent years. Now he has written Orion and the Dark, the new Netflix animated film directed by Sean Charmatz. Based on the book of the same name by Emma Yarlett, the film is a story about a young boy who has a list of a gazillion things he is scared of. The list is headlined by something (or someone) called the Dark, who later meets him and takes him on a journey. This journey becomes a legendary tale that shapes Orion’s future.

Spoilers Ahead


Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?

Orion, the only child of his caring parents, had a huge problem dealing with his fears. His entire existence was controlled only by his fears, and he wasn’t able to do anything about it. He had a diary, though, in which he expressed all his fears, and it was there that he confessed his attraction to his classmate Lisa. But he was terrified. One day, she asked him if he would come to the planetarium, as the school was taking them on a trip. His parents would have sent him, but it was Orion himself who didn’t want to go because of the Dark. Besides that, it was the class bully, Richie Panici, who scared him. His parents were worried about him, but fortunately, the Dark came to meet Orion one night and took him outside his comfort zone, showing him the secrets of the night. Orion’s 24 hours with the Dark made a lot of changes in both of their lives. 


How Did The Dark Help Orion Face His Fears?

The Dark met Orion with a smile and got him relaxed, telling him how he had come to meet him because he was so impressed. A lot of people were afraid of him, but it seemed Orion was topping the chart in his intensity of fear. The Dark didn’t like that, as he was just a child and needed more familiarity with him to calm down. Orion was taken on a journey where the Dark played a few games with him, like accidentally dropping him from the sky, breaking the fall at the very last moment. At first, Orion was more scared than ever before, but then the Dark introduced him to other employees of the Night, namely Quiet, Insomnia, Unexplained Noises, Sleep, and Sweet Dreams. When Orion saw them at work, he relaxed and figured that they weren’t as bad as the Dark.


How Did Orion Continue The Story?

It turns out that this was all a story that Orion was telling to his daughter Hypatia, who was having trouble sleeping. She told him that the story wasn’t working for her because she could clearly see what her dad was trying to do. He was making it seem like he overcame his fears when he was a kid because of his experience with the Dark; all in the hope that the story would help Hypatia as well. She was smart, and the facts of fear were not leaving her mind. According to her, fear was natural as it was an evolutionary mechanism, and simple stories like Orion was trying to tell weren’t going to solve her problem. So Orion continued the story and brought in the character of Light, who engulfed Dark and sent him to an unknown place. 


How Can We Be Sure That Orion Overcame His Fears?

In his story, the older Orion started adding more twists and turns, using all his imaginative powers to create a compelling narrative for Hypatia. She was keen on listening to a ‘true’ story rather than some absurd fiction, which didn’t really interest her. Orion tried keeping up with the demands and came up with fantastical tales of how when Dark was absent, the world was filled with Light, yet people were scared. Nobody could function. The employees that worked for Night found themselves of little to no use in the daytime. The young Orion tried finding Dark, but he seemed to be buried deep within the recesses of his mind. He had to explore his own psyche to find him, and if he died in his mind while doing so, he would die in reality as well. He found Dark at the very end of his subconscious mind, and they were sucked in by a black hole of the unconscious. Hypatia was now in this story as a character, helping young Orion find the Dark. When Orion and Dark were almost sucked in by the black hole, it was Quiet who whispered that he had a field trip to the planetarium to go to. Just the sheer love he had for Lisa brought him out of his nightmare.

The film ends with pure Charlie Kaufman magic as we discover that the whole saga is being narrated by Hypatia to her son while the much older Orion is sitting outside on the porch with Lisa. It seems like he married her after all. The story continued as young Orion had to get Hypatia back to her own time, but a lot of time monsters attacked Tycho. Tycho was a character added to the story by Hypatia’s son. So, we see how the story is improved by Orion’s progeny. There was no fear in Hypatia’s son’s mind. He went to sleep quite easily, and it seemed like the generational sense of dread was dissipating. Now the real question is: did Orion ever really meet the Dark? Of course he did, but I think he did so more in a psychological sense. He must have had to face the terror of going to the planetarium, where he sat beside Lisa for the first time. He must have faced it when he asked her out and then later, when he married her. He must have had to choose love over fear, which he had never been able to do, if his own story is to be believed, at least the part about his school life up until he met the Dark. One has his own demons to fight in one’s psyche, and Orion would never become the loving and caring father had he never truly done that. So, perhaps he needed Hypatia to take the story forward, but he had overcome his fears. His loving gestures and sheer tenderness in the end towards Lisa were proof that he was happy with how he had lived his life, and Lisa too was grateful to be beside such a man. 


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Ayush Awasthi
Ayush Awasthi
Ayush is a perpetual dreamer, constantly dreaming of perfect cinematic shots and hoping he can create one of his own someday.

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