Chris McKay’s “The Lego Batman Movie” was a critical and commercial success upon release in February 2017, grossing $312 million for Warner Bros. at the worldwide box office. Such financial success made it not too surprising when McKay announced in December 2018 that he would be returning as the director of a “Lego Batman Movie” sequel. McKay, currently on a press tour for his Amazon science-fiction actioner “The Tomorrow War,” told Collider this week the sequel is now effectively dead. It turns out Dan Harmon and “Loki” showrunner Michael Waldron had secretly been working on the script all this time and even had a draft completed.
“Dan and Waldron had done a first draft of the script that was really great. It was truly epic, both from an action standpoint and from a story standpoint,” McKay said. “The structure was ‘The Godfather Part II,’ 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.”
Waldron confirmed the news by posting on social media a photo of the screenplay draft he wrote with Harmon. Waldron, who will follow “Loki” as the writer of “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and a “Star Wars” project, noted that he “loved this project.” So why the sudden cancellation? It has to do with Lego rights converting from Warner Bros. to Universal.
“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 it.”
Universal and the Lego Group announced in April 2020 a five-year partnership to create new Lego movie franchises. When Warner Bros. owned the Lego rights, the studio had the freedom to use Lego versions of characters in its extensive film library, hence Batman, Harry Potter, and other DC Comics superheroes. Universal won’t be able to use Batman because Universal doesn’t own the rights to Batman, thus “The Lego Batman Movie” sequel is over for now. There’s a possibility Universal and Warner Bros. could strike an agreement to share the character (in the same way Disney/Marvel and Sony share Spider-Man for the time being), but that’s not in the cards right now.
McKay said Harmon and Waldron’s “Lego Batman Movie” Sequel script was about “friendship and change and 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.”
Head over to Collider’s website to read more from the now-defunct “Lego Batman Movie” sequel.