Towards the end of The LEGO Batman Movie, the film takes an unexpected turn from being a standard – if parodic – DC Comics adaptation to becoming something else entirely. Director Chris McKay explains why they took a different course of action with the franchise and what it means to upcoming LEGO movies going forward. Spoilers ahead!
In an Entertainment Weekly interview, Chris McKay explains that the decision to have the final act involve Joker breaking villains from across the LEGO multiverse out of the Phantom Zone actually came from his love for film in general.
“I loved the [Richard Donner’s] 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. But in our world, we can do something like that and unleash all these characters into Batman’s world.”
Including many of these characters in The LEGO Batman Movie was a big challenge in and of itself for good reason. While Warner Brothers is able to make use of any characters LEGO themselves have the license to, there’s the fact that since a substantial number of these characters are owned by different studios – say, the Wicked Witch of the West being owned by MGM – and they need permission before they can include them in their films. The good news for McKay is that the suits had a good plan for that.
“You need an army of lawyers and producers who are willing to run around and do all the hard work of finding out all the rights-holders. Fortunately, Warner Bros. made a lot of those movies, but for others, we had go to out and get them. I wanted characters from all over the world. I wanted Daleks. I wanted stuff that has a history and is time-tested, like the Wicked Witch. And I hope people love Gremlins as much as I do. And Sauron… I definitely kept a lot of coordinators, producers, and lawyers busy on this movie. I’m sure I drove people crazy.”
McKay also added that there were a lot of ideas for LEGO versions of villains who would ultimately be left on the cutting room floor – among them, Anne Wilkes from Stephen King’s Misery, Professor Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes, William Cuttings from Gangs Of New York, Bill from Kill Bill, and HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. The biggest reasons that these characters didn’t appear in the movie itself should be fairly obvious – not only would kids not “get” who those characters even were, but most of these works were either family-unfriendly or a bit too esoteric in nature for this kind of a movie for such cameos to be viable.
The LEGO Batman Movie is in theaters right now. In addition, two more LEGO movies – The LEGO Ninjago Movie and The LEGO Movie Sequel – will be released on September 22, 2017 and February 8, 2019 respectively.
Source: Entertainment Weekly