This weekend, Warner Bros. will release the first of their highly-anticipated LEGO Movie spin-offs, The LEGO Batman Movie, which brings back Will Arnett as the voice of Batman. Later this year, fans will be introduced to another corner of the LEGO universe with The LEGO Ninjago Movie, slated for release on September 22. While we wait for the first trailer's release, Warner Bros. has shared new images, featuring Jackie Chan as Master Wu, Justin Theroux as the villainous Lord Garmadon, Dave Franco as Garmadon's estranged son Lloyd, and the ninjas in his "super squad," Kai (Michael Peña), Zane (Zach Woods), Cole (Fred Armisen), Jay (Kumail Nanjiani) and Nya (Abbi Jacobson).
USA Today debuted these images, and also spoke with Dave Franco and Justin Theroux about their characters. Justin Theroux is described as the "black-helmeted, four-armed supervillain" who tries to rule over Ninjago City. Standing in his way is a team of teenage ninjas, lead by Lloyd. The movie is said to be a, "mix of the martial-arts genre and Japanese kaiju movies with giant monsters and robots," but the father-son relationship between Garmadon and Lloyd lies at the heart of this movie. Here's what Justin Theroux had to say in a statement.
"It's about a son having to live with this father who's a threat to Lego-manity (but) more about the son's journey of forgiving him and learning to accept him for who he is."
Inspired by the wildly popular LEGO line of toys, Ninjago is the story of six young ninja tasked with defending their island home, called Ninjago. By night, they're gifted warriors, using their skills and awesome fleet of vehicles to fight villains and monsters. By day, they're ordinary teens struggling against their greatest enemy: high school. Dave Franco revealed that his character Lloyd suddenly boasts a lot more confidence when he becomes the Green Ninja in this super team.
"He has much more confidence and wants to do everything he can to protect his home. They may be really cool as ninjas and the Ninjago world adores them, but at school they're the geeks and nerds who are ignored."
Fans got their first look at Jackie Chan's Master Wu in The Master: A Lego Ninjago Short, which was attached to prints of Storks back in September. Master Wu not only serves as the teacher of the Ninjago super team, but he is also Lord Garmadon's brother. This new report also reveals that Jackie Chan's own celebrated stunt team filmed the martial arts sequences in live action, which the filmmakers animated over for the film. When asked about Lloy's relationship with Master Wu, Dave Franco had this to say, likening their relationship to Daniel and Mr. Miyagi from The Karate Kid.
"It sometimes takes Lloyd a little while to grasp the lessons that Master Wu is trying to instill within him."
This new report also reveals that Garmadon, who is also described as an "operatic sociopath," left both Lloyd and his mother Koko, played by Olivia Munn, when Lloyd was just a baby. Justin Theroux has a theory about what made him so evil, while praising the "insane" world of Ninjago, which will include his character riding a massive mechanical shark with legs, and frequently asking Lloyd about his mother, and if she's seeing anyone romantically. Here's what the actor had to say below.
"I think he's suffered a series of slights and cuts over the course of his life when people question his narcissism, so it's made him more and more evil as a result. Ninjago is one of the most insane places in the universe. So much of it makes no sense. It feels like it came out of the mind of a kid rather than out of the minds of some people sitting in a writers' room."
The LEGO Ninjago Movie marks the feature film directorial debut of Charlie Bean (Tron: Uprising). It is being produced by Dan Lin, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and Roy Lee, who previously collaborated on the worldwide box-office phenomenon The LEGO Movie, along with Maryann Garger (Flushed Away). Chris McKay, Seth Grahame-Smith, Jill Wilfert, and Keith Malone are serving as executive producers. The screenplay is by Hilary Winston & Bob Logan & Paul Fisher, story by Kevin Hageman & Dan Hageman and Hilary Winston & Bob Logan & Paul Fisher, based on LEGO Construction Toys. The LEGO Ninjago Movie will hit theaters on September 22, going up against Lionsgate's Granite Mountain starring Josh Brolin and Miles Teller. Take a look at these new photos from The LEGO Ninjago Movie below.