When shared universes are the name of the game, it seems like every superhero movie comes with the baggage of knowing all the connections. Marvel Studios owns the MCU which stretches across the big screen, broadcast television and Netflix. The Tobey Maguire Spider-Man and the Andrew Garfield Spider-Man movies are separate from both each other and the MCU, but Marvel Studios now has access to the rights, so Tom Holland's Spider-Man is in the MCU, but X-Men and the Fantastic Four are still separate. That's a lot to keep track of.
While the various DC properties don't have the same character rights issue of Marvel Studios, they still voluntarily maintain multiple universes across television and the big screen. Supergirl and Constantine (at least the character) have been absorbed into the Arrowverse, but Gotham is still it's own universe, then of course they're all separate from the big screen DCEU, and now The LEGO Batman Movie brings in yet another DC entity.
Fortunately for LEGO Batman, the rules are quite a bit looser, because the Lego universe has its thumb in almost every pie when it comic book franchises. The LEGO Movie was a revelation to this fact, demonstrating an ability to cross pollinate franchises due to the shared foundation of Lego bricks. This enabled scenarios such as Batman hanging out with Han Solo on the Millennium Falcon, even though Star Wars and Batman belong to different studios.
Thanks to the Flash and the Speed Force in the Arrowverse, the multiverse has been brought to DC television. While this multiverse could hypothetically include all DC properties, including the DCEU, it's unlikely the Arrowverse will cross over with its big screen cousin, but some new cross-promotions have LEGO Batman meeting up with LEGO members of the Arrowverse.
Fun bits like this are a great example of the appeal behind the LEGO franchise, and likely a big reason the movie has rave early reviews. While shared universes and consistent continuity are enticing for some of the more serious superhero productions, fans of franchises like DC sometimes just want to see characters in fun situations, which this format can do without consequence with its more comedic tone.
So when you go see LEGO Batman, don't worry about shared universes or franchise continuity or character rights. Just like Will Ferrell's character "The Man Upstairs" learned in The LEGO Movie, some of the toy company's sets may "belong" together, but sometimes throwing it all together is way more fun.
Source: The CW
- The LEGO Batman Movie (2017) release date: Feb 10, 2017