I am one of those guys that absolutely loved The LEGO Movie, I just kind of kept it a secret. I loved LEGO as a kid, and bringing it to life in this amazing movie was an awesome day-brightener for me. Plus, the cast was amazing. But there was one character that I always felt there was more to: President / "Lord" Business (voiced by Will Ferrell). He was supposedly the villain, but I tended to look at him differently. So here is the true story behind President Business in The LEGO Movie.
Before the Beginning of the Story
There was not an enormous scene dedicated to a back story for President Business, but there was still a bit of information that we could catch onto. From what we can tell, before President Business was the President of the world, he was the President of the company known as Octan. Octan, as seen in the movie, was a major company in the LEGO world, which most likely gave President Business popularity from his economical success. This would lead to President Business to eventually start running for the position of President of the World, which he easily accomplished because of his success so far. Sort of like what Donald Trump is trying to do.
From there, President Business realized the true chaos that the world was in. This was back before the borders were placed, meaning that all of the worlds were free to interact together. This at first seems fine, until you realize that many of these worlds are not meant to clash. For example, what if some of the technologically advanced LEGO Star Wars villains decided to attack the technologically un-advanced world of Middle Zealand? Or what if some of the technologically un-advanced LEGO pirates got their hands on the advanced LEGO Star Wars technology and the enormous, flying, fire-breathing dragons of Middle Zealand?
It's safe to say that this chaos was extremely dangerous to all of the LEGO worlds and the lives of all those who lived in it. President Business, desperate to protect his people and his own pride, came up with the idea of the borders to keep the worlds separated. It was not meant to serve as a punishment to the worlds or even to take away their freedom. It was meant to maintain order so as to protect everyone. Unfortunately, there was one growing faction that mistook these actions and eventually turned President Business's inspirational image into the image of an evil tyrant.
The Beginning of the Story
The movie opens a while after President Business becomes the President of the World and establishes the borders between the worlds. This is when we first see the rebellion of the Master Builders who still believe that all of the worlds can still live in unison, even through all of the chaos. They turn President Business into a villain who is trying to imprison the universe, when really he is just trying to protect those who live within each world from the threats of the other worlds.
The opening scene takes place shortly after President Business learned about the Kragle (Krazy Glue). President Business clearly did not intend to use the Kragle immediately, because his plot to use it on the world did not occur until 8 and a half years later. But if he had the Kragle for that long and intended to use it, why would he wait so long???
...Because it was a back-up plan. He was finally finished protecting the world from the chaos that occurred prior by building the borders. But President Business must have feared that there was a chance the borders may not work and took the Kragle as his back-up plan to protect the world just in case.
The Rebellion Heats Up
As we know from the movie, the Master Builders' numbers quickly rose. There was soon an entire army of Master Builders who all opposed the President and tried on many occasions to overpower him (shown above). At some point, President Business must have snapped from both his anger and his fear. He was clearly angry that the rebellion of "hippies" kept trying to oppose him for what he did to protect the world, and afraid of his own pride being destroyed by the same rebellion.
President Business's tragic flaw is not that he is a "corrupt" leader; his tragic flaw is his pride. Being President of the World has to be a huge strain and major cause for stress, especially when everyone in the world is watching and waiting for you to make a mistake. He needed to protect his own name and impress the world, and to do this he needed to accomplish total perfection. He had the right intentions in mind for the world, but eventually the stress from the Master Builders made him so desperate that he lost track of his own path. He remembered his goal, total perfection, but forgot why he was trying to reach that goal.
This stress and desperation made President Business start a war on the Master Builders by hunting them down to imprison them, and turned the "just-in-case" plan of using the Kragle into a reality. It also made his need for a large ego grow even bigger. This is most likely when he finally coined the name "Lord Business" among his associates, to make him feel more powerful when he started feeling as though he was losing his power. President Business was falling. He only had good intentions, but the Master Builders drove him into a desperation that made him lose grip on his goals and morals.
The Resolution of the Conflict
By the finale of the movie, President Business is finally about to use the Kragle to 'perfect' the world. But by this point, the "neutral" party, Emmett, arrives to save the day. Though Emmet is with the side of the Master Builders, he was raised praising President Business and understands his sense of order. He also is able to see President Business's madness, which was caused by the Master Builders, and understands that his idol needs to be stopped. Though he does not initially share the same qualities as the Master Builders, he sides with them once he realizes that the fate of the world depends on it.
In Emmet's final confrontation with President Business, he does not use the violent-attacking plan like many of the Master Builders. He does not even use the secret plotting tactic the other Master Builders used. Instead, Emmet does what no other Master Builder had ever considered doing. He reached out to President Business not as a radical tyrant, but as someone who only wants to protect the world.
This connection and understanding is what saved President Business from his madness. This is when the President realized that he lost track of trying to protect the world and was instead only trying to protect his name. President Business starts to listen to the world again and sees the the faults he had made. He begins to fix his mistakes, starting by ending the assault of the Kragle.
The movie ends with President Business a changed man. He left behind his pride and his controlling-attitude to do what he was supposed to do when he was first made President: protect the world. I hope that this new side of President Business is shown in the sequel. I will always look to President Business as a hero. He may not be the leading character, but he is certainly a tragic hero. He only wanted the best for the world, but his downfall was brought by one tragic flaw (his pride) and the threat of an outside force (the Master Builders).