Flying in with a lot of heart and humor, The LEGO Batman Movie, itself a spin-off of The Lego Movie, was one of the highlight films of the past decade. Many who viewed the project felt that it understood who the character of Batman is. Notable aspects were the sound design, which included "pew pew" sounds every time a gun went off, the voice cast, and the humor. A sequel was planned, but unfortunately, will probably never see the light of day.
Director Chris McKay cited a rights issue as a reason for the cancellation. Rights to the Lego Movie franchise now belong to Universal, instead of Warner Bros. Worse for fans is that McKay spoke about specifics regarding the sequel's plot, which sound like a promising idea. Screenwriting duties would have been undertaken by Dan Harmon and head writer for the Loki television series Michael Waldron, both of whom write Rick & Morty for Adult Swim.
When The Lego Batman Movie came out, it was under the Warner Bros. banner of intellectual properties. This meant that not only could DC heroes show up, but also characters from other Warner franchises, such as Harry Potter and The Lord of The Rings. Last year, however, Universal bought the exclusive rights to the LEGO IP. A result means that while Batman and Sauron cannot show up in a LEGO movie, Jurassic Park and The Fast and the Furious can
When talking in an interview with Collider's Steve Weintrub for his upcoming action movie The Tomorrow War, Chris McKay announced there would be no sequel for his beloved 2017 story. "Because LEGO has left Warner Bros. and is now over at Universal, there probably won't be a LEGO Batman sequel, unfortunately" McKay said. "I am so sorry to say that but I don't think they'll be making a LEGO Batman 2." To add some detail, McKay explained what the story would have been like. He starts by complimenting the proposed writers.
"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 a story standpoint. The structure was Godfather Part 2... 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."
Additionally, McKay stated the film was sort of "Boogie Nights-esque." and that "it was going to be really funny." How the very adult 1997 classic is related to the animated film will never be known, yet it sounds intriguing. Sadly with new ownership, the power to create a LEGO Batman sequel is out of McKay's control.
For those who don't know, Dan Harmon serves as one of the co-creators of the amazing Rick and Morty TV show. With the many pop culture references on that project, he seems like a natural fit to write a movie set within the vast DC universe. Harmon is busy working on the announced 70+ episodes of the currently running sci-fi comedy Rick and Morty. He is also involved in the production of an upcoming animated show with an Ancient Greece setting. When asked about how he would have been able to bring the tightly scheduled Harmon on board a feature film, McKay simply replied, "I'm pretty sure we approached Dan about it. I worked with Dan briefly on The Sarah Silverman Show and loved working with him and Rob Schrab." The two creative forces already have a positive history of working with each other.
McKay also discussed what the project would have been about theme-wise. Like The Godfather Part 2 and the first LEGO Batman Movie, a central theme for the animated sequel would have been an evolution on the family concept. McKay explained, "Friendship. And change. It was about how hard it is to change. To commit to change. To stay on the new road you've carved for yourself."
"Especially when maybe you weren't such a good guy to your friends. Your old friends might not be able to see the new you. They might still live in the past. But as the movie (and Robin) finds out... the past might be more complicated than it seems."
That idea holds true, considering Will Arnett's Batman was reluctant to let anyone in as he felt sadness over losing his parents. He eventually starts to let others become close to him, such as his Butler Alfred, his protege Robin, and his crimefighting partner Batgirl. Earlier in the movie he was kept out of the Justice League's anniversary party. In a meta way, the anniversary in the film was the same number of years the team has existed in the comics.
While the first Batman animated Lego movie was an undeniable box office success, McKay talked about how Warner Bros. was hesitant to take Batman seriously, which is something the second part would have changed. "The studio was leery of LEGO Batman being an actual Batman movie so I was constantly told to hold back. Audiences (and subsequent movies like Into the Spider-Verse) 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."
The original title had a great cast, with such voices as Ralph Fiennes, Jenny Slate, Mariah Carey, Jason Mantzoukas, Billy Dee Williams, and Jemaine Clement. The process was too much in the beginning process to have the actors start production, though many were going to come back. Also, a tease was given for the villains and a noteworthy plot aspect. McKay described, "We had lots of great voice actors from The LEGO Movie and LEGO Batman. The villain was going to be Lex Luthor ... and OMAC. There's more of course (lots of Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Lois). There was also going to be a big crossover at one point in the movie that you can only do in a LEGO movie. I'm sure you can guess what it was. The thing that will probably never happen in a live-action movie." Most people probably know who Lex Luthor is, given he was the main antagonist in multiple Superman movies.
Many likely do not understand who OMAC is. For those who are unaware, two OMACs are present in the comics. The original, created by legendary writer and artist Jack Kirby, was an entirely living being named OMAC (One-Man Army Corps). He was essentially a DC version of Captain America who lived in a future setting. The second OMAC, and the one who would have been used for the film, stands for Observational Metahuman Activity Construct. They are cyborg sleeper agents controlled by a satellite Batman himself created. Batman is known for always having a plan, so he invented the cyborgs to spy on those with powers after losing his feeling of trust toward the Justice League. They have never been seen in film, whether live action or animated, so the possibility would be exciting.
Lastly, there was the idea of a crossover he mentioned. Considering that there was a live action scene in the first LEGO Movie, perhaps some DCEU actors could have appeared. Although his statement of not being able to show up in live action brings to mind the more likely possibility of Marvel characters interacting with DC characters. Could the Flash and Spiderman have traded quips? We will never know. Fortunately, McKay could still see his Nightwing live action film be released. This news originated at Collider.