While “The Lego Batman Movie” continues a very important brand for Warner Bros., there was nothing particularly careful about the highly anticipated follow-up to “The Lego Movie.” The filmmakers not only had plenty of fun taking potshots at the history of Batman on the big screen (including Zack Snyder‘s most recent movie), but the picture seriously went all in when it came to the villains. In the first act, Joker (Zach Galifianakis) assembles almost every bad guy you can imagine from the history of DC Comics including such random figures as Condiment King, but in the film’s truly bonkers climax, Batman and his friends must face off against non-canon figures like Sauron, Agent Smith from “The Matrix,” Godzilla, Voldemort, and more. It’s beautifully insane, and the film’s director Chris McKay reveals he had more ideas up his sleeve.
Talking with EW, the filmmaker shared his inspiration for the wild finale, and who he also had in mind to appear, but wound up not making the cut.
“I loved the [1978 Richard Donner-directed] ‘Superman‘ and the idea that the Phantom Zone, in our world, could possibly house all of the villains from other Lego universes. It’s almost like ‘Cabin in the Woods.’ Or, in ‘Last Action Hero,’ when Charles Dance says, I can go into all these movies and I can bring out Jack the Ripper or King Kong. When I was younger, watching that movie, I was somehow expecting a scene between King Kong and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and I was always bummed it didn’t go there. [Laughs.] But in our world, we can do something like that and unleash all these characters into Batman’s world,” McKay said.
“I would have had Kathy Bates from ‘Misery,’ and [Sherlock Holmes nemesis] Moriarty, and at one point I pitched Daniel Day-Lewis’s character from ‘Gangs of New York‘ and David Carradine from ‘Kill Bill.’ At a certain point, though, you have to weigh what characters the kids going to get,” the director added about the characters that were under consideration for the finale. “In Lego, it’s sometimes hard to get a really quick interpretation of something. I was already worried that we weren’t doing enough with some characters. Also, at one point, we did put HAL from [‘2001: A Space Odyssey‘] into the movie, but it was a tough read. Maybe in future movies, we’ll try to bring more characters in.”
Essentially, it sounds like the villains that would’ve played strictly to the adults in the audience didn’t work in the context of “The Lego Batman Movie” and that makes a lot of sense. The movie does a good job of working for a wide-range of ages and those characters might’ve tipped it too far in one direction.
As for the grander Lego cinematic universe, it might seem that ‘Batman’ is a standalone, but McKay teases there is a framework being built, and that the real world interaction we saw at the end of “The Lego Movie” hasn’t been forgotten.
“Everyone says this, but for lack of a better phrase, there’s a Lego cinematic universe that we’re building that has a sci-fi premise, as far as the world that the movies are taking place in for the majority of the running time, and the other world that’s out there,” he explained. “I think over the course of the movies, we’re building out the relationship between those. There’s no mandate necessarily to do that, but we are very actively working to find all of the rules and develop that relationship between the real world and the Lego world. You’ll start to see it in what we’re doing with ‘Ninjago‘ and what what we’re doing in ‘Lego 2.’ ”
Sounds like they’re taking a pretty chill approach to creating a connected universe, but the movies will still interlock (sorry) in certain ways.
Fascinating stuff for sure. “The Lego Batman Movie” is now playing everywhere.