The Lego Movie Update Is Bad News for Lego Batman Fans

Warner Bros. captured lightning in a bottle with 2014’s The Lego Movie. Because there is no inherent narrative to build off of, movies based on toys often fall flat. But director Phil Lord and Chris Miller (21 Jump Street) cracked the code with a story full of imagination and heart.

So, of course, the studio seized the opportunity to spin The Lego Movie off into a full-fledged franchise. In 2017, The Lego Batman Movie and The Lego Ninjago Movie hit theaters. Then, in 2019, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part released. Now the latest development for the franchise changes everything, especially for fans of Will Arnett’s Lego Batman.

Will Arnett at 'The Lego Batman Movie' premiere
Will Arnett at ‘The Lego Batman Movie’ premiere | CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images

‘The Lego Movie’ introduced Will Arnett’s Batman

In The Lego Movie, Chris Pratt and Elizabeth Banks lead an impressive voice cast that includes Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman, and Charlie Day. But the big standout is Arnett. Just two years after The Dark Knight Rises, the Arrested Development star had a blast creating a wildly comedic take on Batman. And fans loved it.

The studio gave Arnett an entire standalone film to develop his parodic version of the character. The Lego Batman Movie wasn’t nearly as successful as the first Lego film. But it did still earn more than $300 million worldwide against a reported production budget of $80 million. So some fans began to hope they could see The Lego Batman Sequel at some point.

Alas, the less-than-expected box office hauls of The Lego Ninjago Movie and The Lego Movie 2 — in which Lego Batman returns — put the future of the Lego movie franchise in question. And now Arnett may never get the chance to reprise the role in any future Lego productions.

But the Lego movie series has just switched to Universal

According to Deadline, Lego has just struck a new five-year deal with Universal Pictures. This contract includes the exclusive development, production, and distribution of theatrically released films. While that might all sound good to Lego fans, it also could limit the potential for more of what we’ve seen so far.

After all, the Universal deal means Warner Bros. is no longer home to the Lego movie franchise. Many recent Lego productions — including the big-screen releases — have centered on characters for whom Warners owns the movie rights. The Lego Movie alone features characters from DC Comics, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

So the switch over to Universal could very well mean Lego Batman disappears along with the Warner Bros. deal. Instead, reports indicate the Universal contract will focus on developing new franchises rather than building on existing ones. If that’s the case, the studio could offer a ton of possibilities for the future.

Lego Batman is likely gone, but new opportunities await

As Deadline mentions, Lego has already teamed with Universal for Jurassic World: The Secret Exhibit as well as Lego Jurassic World: Legend of Isla Nublar. So it’s almost a given that the new deal will involve some extension of the relationship between Lego and the Jurassic Park franchise.

If that’s the case, Pratt could even trade The Lego Movie‘s Emmet for his Jurassic World character Owen Grady, which he’ll reprise in 2021’s Jurassic World: Dominion. While the released Lego films remain with Warner Bros., it doesn’t seem likely Universal will continue to follow the original characters from The Lego Movie.

Rather, we’re betting Universal turns to its own archives for potential new franchises. Much like Warner Bros. turned the focus on Batman, fans can expect Universal to poke fun at one of its own signature movie series. But which will be the first to get the Lego treatment?