Warner Bros.’ ambitious plans for a shared LEGO universe fell apart due to a combination of commercial underperformance and general apathy, leading to The Billion Brick Race and a sequel to The LEGO Batman Movie ultimately getting canceled after the Ninjago spinoff and The LEGO Movie: The Second Part failed to pull in the desired box office numbers, with the rights now in the hands of Universal.
That means it’s pretty much over for any hopes of Will Arnett’s blocky Bruce Wayne getting a second solo outing, especially when Universal have plenty of big name properties of their own should they choose to mimic the formula that initially yielded so much success, with rumors already abounding that the next feature-length LEGO outing will rope in characters from Fast & Furious and Jurassic Park.
In a new interview, director Chris McKay, who was initially slated to return for the follow-up, revealed that his ambitious plans for The LEGO Batman Movie 2 would have drawn influence from The Godfather Part II to jump back and forth between distinct timelines, and tell a Justice League-centric story in the process.
“Dan Harmon and Michael Waldron had done a first draft of the script that was really great. It was truly epic, both from an action standpoint and from a story standpoint. The structure was Godfather Part II, a story about Batman’s relationship to the Justice League and Superman now, as well as the formative moments of the Justice League and Batman’s relationship with Superman then.
The studio was leery of LEGO Batman being an actual Batman movie so I was constantly told to hold back. Audiences proved them wrong. I would have quadrupled down on making it as much of a real Justice League movie, with lots of jokes, cameos, intersecting storylines, references, etc. It would have been a very dense movie, as humanly possible.”
WB really don’t have much luck when it comes to adapting the DC Comics all-star team, with the live-action version taking two attempts split across a four-year period with over half a billion dollars funnelled into the production, marketing and distribution. So, it’s not a shock that the animated Justice League found themselves subjected to behind the scenes turmoil, too, although Universal seizing control of the property hardly generated any headlines on a level close to the Joss Whedon and Zack Snyder debacle that was eventually resolved this past March via the Snyder Cut. The LEGO franchise will almost certainly be back, then, just without Batman and his buddies involved.