[Mild SPOILERS for The LEGO Batman Movie ahead.]
The LEGO Batman Movie may not have been the most obvious or rational step for the brand’s burgeoning cinematic universe to take following 2014’s The LEGO Movie, but it’s proven to be exactly what the universe needed. Coming from director Chris McKay the film takes Will Arnett’s beloved, self-referential version of The Dark Knight and gives him his own standalone movie, centered entirely around his adventures fighting crime in Gotham City and his tumultuous relationship with The Joker (Zach Galifianakis). It gives fans and viewers a chance to get a more in-depth look at just one of the many worlds located within the LEGO Movie universe, and has been met with almost completely positive reviews from critics and fans so far.
One of the most genuinely surprising and positive aspects of The LEGO Batman Movie ended up being the film’s legitimate desire to pay respect to the extensive mythology and universe created in the Batman comics over the years. And as any devoted fan will know that, of course, means putting a heavy focus on Batman’s more notable and beloved villains.
The film features a mind-blowingly large array of antagonists from the Batman comics popping up throughout, ranging all the way from those with just small cameos, to those that play actual roles in the film’s story. But The LEGO Batman Movie also features appearances from a number of iconic, non-Batman villains including Voldemort, Sauron, King Kong, and more. While recently speaking with EW about the film, though, Chris McKay revealed some of the famous movie villains that didn’t make the cut:
“I would have had Kathy Bates from Misery, and [Sherlock Holmes nemesis] Moriarty, and at one point I pitched Daniel Day-Lewis’s character from Gangs of New York and David Carradine from Kill Bill. At a certain point, though, you have to weigh what characters the kids going to get. In LEGO, it’s sometimes hard to get a really quick interpretation of something. I was already worried that we weren’t doing enough with some characters. Also, at one point, we did put HAL from [2001: A Space Odyssey] into the movie, but it was a tough read. Maybe in future movies, we’ll try to bring more characters in.”
The inclusion of those other, non-Batman villains was one of the more shocking and unexpected moments in the film, but one that didn’t take viewers out of the experience either. That’s a testament to the strong tone and world that was created in the original LEGO Movie, which allowed characters from multiple different and iconic properties to interact with each other and at times, show up out of nowhere for no other reason than just to show up out of nowhere. The LEGO Batman Movie manages to keep that trend going, while continuing to tell a Batman standalone story wholly its own.
Unsurprisingly, Arnett’s Batman is expected to return again in The LEGO Movie 2, though there’s no word as of yet on if The LEGO Batman Movie will be getting a sequel of its own. But before either of those films are released, Warner Bros. is set to release The LEGO Ninjago Movie later this year, which promises to keep the tongue-in-cheek, quick-witted humor and action style of its predecessors going. It’s surprising as well, to look back and realize that with just two films, Warner Bros. and LEGO have already created one of the more recognizable and successful cinematic universes in history, where Batman can not only fight The Joker, but even Sauron. So maybe, McKay’s suggestions to include Moriarty or Butcher Bill aren’t so out there after all, and in a possible sequel, could even be added to that list of antagonists.