Warning: Spoilers for Artemis Fowl on Disney+ are ahead.
Kenneth Branagh's Artemis Fowl movie is a standalone adventure in its own right, but let's break down the ending and what it could mean for any future sequel. Disney could have another franchise on their hands if they want. There's also some flash forward stuff at the end of Artemis Fowl that may require clarification, too.
Artemis Fowl (Ferdia Shaw) is a very cool kid with a genius intellect, a landline phone, and sick skateboard moves. (The book series that Artemis Fowl is based on was published in the early aughts — can you tell?) When his father (Colin Farrell) is kidnapped by a fairy named Opal Koboi (Hong Chau), he puts his research and tech skills to the test to free him, making some supernatural friends along the way. That includes going up against the Lower Elements Police Reconnaissance (LEPRecon) division from the realm of fairies, trolls, centaurs, and dwarfs.
After fighting off the corrupt LEPRecon army, the officer who Artemis captured for information and then befriended, Holly (Lara McDonnell), returns to the castle and uses her magic to heal Dom (Nonso Anozie) and free Artemis' father. Safely returned, he gives her a list of names to investigate: Opal Koboi's known associates. Meanwhile, Artemis declares himself a criminal mastermind and gives Opal Koboi a ring to threaten her. Artemis, his dad, Holly, and Mulch (Josh Gad) are a team now.
So what was going on with those black and white flash forwards? Mulch was imprisoned at the beginning of the movie and provided narration from his cell. In the final moments of the movie, Artemis and his father then take a helicopter to rescue him.
Apparently, Artemis Jr. arranged for Mulch to be arrested so that he could tell the human authorities and about the existence of fairies, and frighten them into calling off the media storm and leaving the Fowl family and their associates alone. It's not the most well-thought out plan, but Artemis is only 12 years old.
When you finish watching on Disney+, it's clear that there is absolutely potential for a sequel. Eoin Colfer's novel series has eight volumes, and the film skips over some major elements from the first book while also bringing in the antagonist from the second book — making it more of an origin story for the titular hero rather than the first in a series of adventures. Plus, minor characters like Briar Cudgeon (Josh McGuire) and Foaly (Nikesh Patel) become more important in later books.
The only caveat is that there isn't really a sense of urgency to the ending of Artemis Fowl. There isn't a cliffhanger. No new mysteries present themselves. The creators have allowed for the film to standalone if audiences don't respond with cries for a sequel — but since it's a Disney production, if this thing takes off, expect a whole slew of sequels to follow. It's how Disney rolls.