The DC Extended Universe isn’t the only Cinematic Universe currently being developed over at Warner Bros.; the studio also has a LEGO film universe making its way down the pipeline, building from the critical/commercial success of The LEGO Movie in 2014. LEGO Batman, a spinoff featuring the LEGO Movie‘s version of the titular character (voiced by Will Arnett), will serve as the next brick in that wall (pardon the joke).
So far, Arnett’s Arrested Development costar Michael Cera has been lined up to voice Robin in the LEGO Batman movie, while Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover trilogy, Birdman) will provide vocals for LEGO Joker in the film. Today, the news has emerged that Rosario Dawson will lend her voice to another key member of the Batman comic book mythos… the LEGO version of that character, to be exact.
THR is reporting that Dawson will voice Barbara Gordon – daughter of Gotham Police Commissioner Jim Gordon and the super-hero Batgirl – in the LEGO Batman feature film. The project is being directed by LEGO Movie animation supervisor Chris McKay – who swapped LEGO films after he was originally set to call the shots on The LEGO Movie Sequel (which Rob Schrab is now handling) – and is being scripted by Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter novelist/screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith. The latter is involved in shaping both the LEGO Cinematic Universe and DCEU, with Grahame-Smith also reportedly onboard to write and direct The Flash (starring Ezra Miller).
Dawson, for her part, is no stranger to comic book projects across different mediums. She co-created the Occult Crimes Taskforce comic book mini-series in the 2000s; starred in both of Robert Rodriguez’ Sin City movies; and voiced Artemis in the 2009 Wonder Woman DC animated feature film, in addition to voicing Diana Prince herself in the animated DC movie, Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, that was released in early 2015. Dawson is also now part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, having played the Hell’s Kitchen-based nurse Claire Temple in the Daredevil Netflix series; she will reprise that role in the upcoming Jessica Jones and Luke Cage Netflix shows, too.
LEGO Batman, according to LEGO Movie writers/directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller – who are producing all of the upcoming LEGO films – will examine a simple, yet difficult question: “Can Batman Be Happy?” As such, much of the comedy in LEGO Batman should be derived from the title character’s interactions with his crime-fighting team – including both Robin and Batgirl – and the film’s comical examination of just how difficult it can be to work alongside Bruce Wayne, for the same reason that it’s hard to say if the Dark Knight will ever cheer up.
Spinoffs centered around supporting characters from hit movies are always a tricky prospect, simply because… well, usually they started out as supporting characters for a good reason (read: they were not originally designed to sustain a full-blown narrative on their own). However, it sounds as though McKay and Grahame-Smith are approaching LEGO Batman much the same way that past Batman films – both live-action and animated – have: making the Dark Knight part of a colorful ensemble, where the side players are just as interesting (if not more so) than Bruce Wayne.
That angle has worked well in the past, and could do likewise with McKay’s LEGO Batman – meaning, the film won’t have to survive on Arnett’s Bat-puns alone (as delightful as they are).
LEGO Batman opens in U.S. theaters on February 10th, 2017, followed by Ninjago on September 22nd, 2017, The LEGO Movie Sequel on May 18th, 2018, and Billion Brick Race on May 24th, 2019.