Universal replaced Warner Bros. as the LEGO Group’s partner for theatrical films in April 2020, following disappointing box office returns for 2017’s The LEGO NINJAGO Movie and 2019’s The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part.
Chris McKay – who helmed The LEGO Batman Movie after working as an editor on The LEGO Movie – told Newsweek that the new deal means the future of the LEGO Cinematic Universe, and all the franchises that could entail, is now wide open.
“We’ve talked a lot about different versions of LEGO movies,” McKay said. “What can you do with a LEGO movie? What are the other things that people wouldn’t expect? There’s been a lot of conversation about that, and we’ve all been trying to figure that out.
Neither of those franchises are brand new to the brick – an official Fast and Furious set launched last year, while Jaws appeared as an option in the 150th BrickHeadz poll – so if subverting expectations is the name of the game, McKay and co. may have to dive a little deeper into Universal’s back catalogue.
Perhaps more important than simply surprising audiences, though, is retaining the whimsy and joy so perfectly encapsulated by The LEGO Movie in 2014 – at least according to McKay.
“LEGO’s so fun and freeing,” he explained. “Animation is freeing, to be able to be wildly creative. And I like telling non-cynical stories, for kids especially. I think that we’ve got enough movies out there that teach you to be cynical and jaded. There’s something about being able to just be joyful and have fun and be silly.