Chris McKay Reveals the Plot of the Canceled ‘LEGO Batman 2’
From the age of one to the age of three my daughter was consumed with a burning passion for one thing above all else: Batman. She couldn’t get enough of “Mat-Man” (her preferred pronunciation back then) from the first moment she laid eyes on him in a DC superhero-themed board book. Books begat stuffed animals, stuffed animals begat Fisher Price Little People figures, and Fisher Price Little People figures eventually begat showing her actual Batman cartoons and films.
She liked the Adam West Batman television show, and she was also a fan of vintage episodes of Super Friends. But the Batman thing she loved the most was The LEGO Batman Movie. In fact, love may not be a strong enough a word to describe how she felt about it. The first time she watched it, she sat in frozen slack-jawed amazement for 100-minutes. (If you doubt me, I have the video to prove it.) As soon as it was over, she demanded we immediately start it again from the beginning.
It went like that for years. While I’ve always been more of a Spider-Man fan myself, seeing LEGO Batman through my daughter’s eyes (and seeing it and seeing it and seeing it, over and over) gave me a deeper appreciation for the character, and for that film specifically. So when McKay mentioned in 2018 that work had begun on a sequel, I was really excited. Maybe not as excited as my daughter, but still, pretty excited.
Then, it just never happened. LEGO Batman 2 became the first and biggest casualty of the LEGO film franchise’s 2020 move from Warner Bros. (who owns the movie rights to Batman) to Universal (who, according to the transitive property of equality, must therefore not own the movie rights to Batman). According to IMDb, LEGO Batman 2 is supposed to come out in 2022. Needless to say, it won’t.
This very long introduction is my weirdly personal way of explaining that when I had the chance to interview LEGO Batman Movie director Chris McKay about his new project, the sci-fi movie The Tomorrow War, I would have been derelict in my duty as a journalist — not to mention as a father — if I didn’t at least ask about the LEGO Batman sequel and what had been planned before the project was canceled. Did they get as far as writing a script?
“Yeah, there was a script that Dan Harmon and some of Dan Harmon’s team were working on. And, in fact, they had finished the draft,” McKay told me. He also compared the structure of the sequel’s plot to — hold on to your Bat-cowls — The Godfather Part Ii. The story would have taken place both before and after the events of the first LEGO Batman. I guess if you’re going to make a sequel you might as well take the greatest sequel ever as your inspiration.
According to McKay, here’s the specific story they developed:
It was a story about the Justice League and where Batman was in terms of the Justice League now, and the struggles they were going through, as well as flashing back to how the Justice League came together. [It also featured] Batman and Superman’s relationship, as well as Batman's relationship to a lot of the other members of the Justice League. And Robin, obviously, there was a really great part for Robin.
“I wish there was a way for us to go do that movie,” McKay added, “because that would have been a lot of fun.” He also said the finished draft of the script was “really great.”
If you‘re like me and my daughter and the thought that we missed out on The Godfather Part II of LEGO movies sends you into a spiral of despair, you should know this; McKay did not close the door on moving back into the world of animation — or even to making a different LEGO movie someday. With the rights to LEGO now at Universal, McKay said, “there won’t be a LEGO Batman 2. But maybe there will be a LEGO Fast and Furious or LEGO Jaws or LEGO something that I could possibly work on.”
(I don’t know about you, but LEGO Fast and Furious sounds amazing to me.)
We’ll have much more from our interview with McKay closer to the release of The Tomorrow War by Amazon on their Prime Video streaming service on July 2. Now I’m gonna go watch The LEGO Batman Movie with my daughter for old times’ sake.