The critical/commercial success of Warner Bros. Animation’s The LEGO Movie led to WB fast-tracking an entire LEGO Movie shared universe – though not, per se, one that maintains a strict continuity between installments, a la the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While a direct followup titled (fittingly so, given the first movie’s self-reflexive style of comedy) The LEGO Movie Sequel is scheduled to arrive in 2019, WB will first release a pair of spinoffs with distinctly different genre flavors; namely, DC superhero romp The LEGO Batman Movie and the martial arts/ninja-style adventure, The LEGO Ninjago Movie.
The LEGO Ninjago Movie is being co-written by Dan and Kevin Hageman: the story writers on Hotel Transylvania and LEGO Movie, who have also worked on the Cartoon Network animated TV series Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu in the past. It turns out that the LEGO Ninjago Movie will feature the same main characters as the Masters of Spinjitzu TV series – including, Master (or Sensei) Wu, Lloyd, Kai, Nya, Jay, Zane, and Cole. However, those LEGO characters are being voiced by different people in the Ninjago movie.
Brickset (via /Film) uncovered the voice cast for the LEGO Ninjago Movie in the catalog for WB’s 2016 Licensing Expo, where the studio is promoting its upcoming tentpole releases. Martial arts movie legend Jackie Chan is lending his voice to Master Wu in the film, while Dave Franco (Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising) is voicing Lloyd, Michael Peña (Ant-Man) is voicing Kai, Abbi Jacobson (Broad City) is voicing Nya, Fred Armisen (Portlandia) is voicing Cole, and Silicon Valley costars Kumail Ninjiani and Zach Woods are voicing Jay and Zane, respectively.
Here is the official synopsis that has been released for The LEGO Ninjago Movie:
Ninjago is the story of six young ninja tasked with defending their island home, called Ninjago. By night, they’re gifted warriors, using their skill and awesome fleet of vehicles to fight villains and monsters. By day, they’re ordinary teens, struggling against their greatest enemy: high school.
The original LEGO Movie established a family-friendly tone – one that incorporates adult humor yet remains foremost accessible to younger filmgoers – that will be carried over to the larger LEGO cinematic franchise, as is evidenced by this plot summary for the Ninjago movie. However, at the same time, LEGO Movie writers/director Phil Lord and Chris Miller – who are producing all of the upcoming LEGO films – have expressed a desire for each installment to have its own distinct feel, style, and creative “voice”, so to speak.
LEGO Ninjago Movie‘s voice cast will no doubt help the movie to find its own unique style of action/comedy, seeing as it features many a fan-favorite comedic actor and/or cable TV series star. The cast will be assisted in that respect by the film’s director, Charlie Bean: a longtime animation veteran who served as a storyboard artist on such cartoon TV shows as Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, and The Powerpuff Girls before he turned to directing on such animated TV series as Disney XD’s TRON: Uprising. Generally-speaking, the people working on the LEGO Ninjago Movie have a proven knack for silly, high-energy cartoon action that seems befitting of a film like this.
The LEGO Batman Movie opens in U.S. theaters on February 10th, 2017, followed by The LEGO Ninjago Movie on September 22nd, 2017, The LEGO Movie Sequel on February 8th, 2019 and Billion Brick Race on May 24th, 2019.