ByAntonio Ferme, writer at
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Antonio Ferme

Warning: Spoilers for The Lego Batman Movie.

The Lego Batman Movie hit theaters this past weekend and it was a huge success with all audiences. From little kids to adults, this movie managed to make the whole family laugh and further develop Will Arnett's Batman who was introduced in .

This is actually one of my favorite Batman movies as it had very entertaining and funny moments while continuing to expand the cinematic universe by introducing not just DC Comics characters — which were in abundance for sure — but many villains from other franchises. And yet I found myself wondering: How eaxctly were they able to use all those characters?

How Did 'The Lego Batman Movie' Get To Use All Of Those Villains?

[Credit: Warner Bros.]
[Credit: Warner Bros.]

The third act of The Lego Batman Movie featured a cluster of iconic pop culture villains such as Lord Voldemort, Sauron, and the Wicket Witch of the West. The geniuses behind the movie created one of the best mash-up scenes in cinematic history and after watching it, we were all curious to hear how it was done. Fortunately, director Chris McKay answered this very question during an interview with EW. He said:

"The Joker needed to up his game and prove himself, and we talked about this being the Joker’s big romantic grand gesture. So in order to do that… 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."

Even though 2017 has barely begun, this scene will easily go down as a highlight of the movie year. After the joy created by watching this scene diminished, many people asked themselves "How was Warner Bros. able to get away with that?" EW asked McKay if licensing was a nightmare.

"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.

But even for the actual Batman villains, even though that’s all [property of] DC, someone still has to go out and find it, you know, the guy that wrote Gentleman Ghost into the issue where he first shows up. I definitely kept a lot of coordinators, producers, and lawyers busy on this movie. I’m sure I drove people crazy."

It appears that Chris McKay inserted his personal favorite villains into the movie and the lawyers had a crazy time getting the rights for all the different characters. However, The Lego Batman Movie is not the first connected universe we have seen made out of Lego in the entertainment world. Lego Dimensions is a video game that connects a huge variety of iconic franchises including:

  • The A-Team
  • Adventure Time
  • Back to the Future
  • DC Comics
  • Doctor Who
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Ghostbusters
  • Ghostbusters (2016)
  • Gremlins
  • Harry Potter
  • Jurassic World
  • Knight Rider
  • Legends of Chima
  • The Lego Batman Movie
  • The Lego Movie
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Midway Arcade
  • Mission: Impossible
  • Ninjago
  • Portal 2
  • Scooby-Doo
  • The Simpsons
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • The Wizard of Oz

Even though it seems like McKay got to use most of the villains he wanted, it turns out there were some characters not included in the mix.

Which Villains Didn't Make The Cut?

[Credit: Warner Bros.]
[Credit: Warner Bros.]

With so many villains in the mix, there had to be a handful of antagonists that Chris McKay and the rest of the team working on the film wanted to use but unfortunately didn't make the cut. McKay responded:

"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.

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."

See also:

While it would have been cool for HAL or Moriarty appear in the movie, most kids probably wouldn't understand who those characters were. Like McKay said, there were already so many characters in the movie, some of which didn't get the full attention they deserve. However, I am hopeful that in the future, we will get to see more characters show up in the Lego universe.


Which other franchises would you like to see appear in upcoming Lego movies?

What other characters would you like to see appear in future Lego movies? Do you like the idea of a Lego cinematic universe? Tell me below!


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