The year 2014 was a notable one in film with the release of movies like Guardians of the Galaxy, Maleficent and Big Hero 6, which brought old, well-known characters to life in new and different ways. Yet one film in particular, The LEGO Movie, went a cut above the rest and even managed to create a whole world and identity out of some of the world’s most popular toys. It put writer/directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller further on the Hollywood map and established a new franchise for Warner Bros, including sequels and spinoffs. The LEGO Movie Sequel isn’t due until 2019, but next year will see the release of both The LEGO Ninjago Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie.
Will Arnett is set to reprise his role of Bruce Wayne from The LEGO Movie for LEGO Batman, alongside newcomers to the franchise Zach Galifianakis as The Joker, Michael Cera as Robin, Rosario Dawson as Batgirl and more. Chris McKay (LEGO Movie‘s animation supervisor) is directing the spinoff movie from a script by Seth Grahame-Smith of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter fame. The LEGO Batman Movie also has the distinct advantage of coming on the heels of this year’s box office hit Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Whereas, the live-action Batman featured a weathered, older Caped Crusader, LEGO Batman will instead have his own juvenile set of quirks to deal with whilst in animated form.
Like all versions of the classic character, LEGO Batman will be an eccentric billionaire with a penchant for parties, only this time around he’ll also have the broody personality to match. According to director McKay, it’s going to take a lot to get this Batman out into Gotham City and socializing. In a new interview and photo from EW, McKay teases that it’s actually Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) who works his magic on the moody Dark Knight by making him a promise he can’t refuse:
“In all the Batman movies, there’s always a big gala, but one of the things Batman doesn’t like doing is going out and seeing people and carousing as Bruce Wayne. He thinks Bruce Wayne is a bummer. He’d much rather be doing Batmanny things. But fortunately Alfred entices him to come out of the Batcave by telling him, ‘Look, if you go out tonight to this gala, you can have a tuxedo dress-up party.’ So in this shot, this is one of the many tuxedos that Batman tries in a sort of dress-up party montage like Sex and the City.”
In the new picture, The LEGO Movie franchise shows what it does best, which is taking an idea or concept and exaggerating it heavily to comedic proportions. We already know Batman would rather be hidden away than playing up his Bruce Wayne persona for the benefit of Gotham City, so it became a matter of just how the writers would make their character do un-LEGO Batman like things. Thus, they decided to entice him with a tuxedo dress-up party. McKay admits, “We wanted to have fun and have things that were silly and ridiculous and also very LEGO-y: The fact that you can just pop different costumes on people really fast, which is something we did in the first movie.”
However, there’s even more to this story than meets the eye, as the scene also became an inside joke for the director. The dress-up montage is backed by the Al Jarreau song “Girls Know How” from 1982 Michael Keaton movie Night Shift. Keaton, as many will remember, played the title character in Tim Burton’s Batman and Batman Returns, and the references to Batman reportedly won’t stop there. There will also be references to both Suicide Squad and Batman V Superman in LEGO Batman, plus fans can of course expect a lot more absurdity when the movie hits theaters early next year.