SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for "The LEGO Batman Movie," which is in theaters now.
If you've seen "The LEGO Batman Movie," then you know that the Dark Knight has his work cut out for him in the feature film. Not only does he take on seemingly every villain in his extensive rogue's gallery in the movie, he also goes toe-to-toe with a number of big bads from other major franchises in the film's third act.
The film introduces the concept of the LEGO Phantom Zone, which is an interdimensional prison that houses the villains from parallel LEGO universes. In addition to containing the bad guys from the DC LEGO universe, it also covers the bad guys in the LEGO "Harry Potter" and "Jurassic Park" and "Doctor Who" universes as well. As "LEGO Batman Movie" director Chris McKay revealed in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the Phantom Zone almost had a few human villains as well.
"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,'" said McKay. "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."
McKay also spoke about the "army of lawyers and producers" that were needed in order to run around and contact all the rights-holders to ensure the franchise crossover could happen. "Fortunately, Warner Bros. made a lot of those movies, but for others, we had go to out and get them," said McKay. "I wanted characters from all over the world. I wanted Daleks. I wanted stuff that has a history and is time-tested, like the Wicked Witch. And I hope people love Gremlins as much as I do. And Sauron. But even for the actual Batman villains, even though that’s all [property of] DC, someone still has to go out and find it, you know, the guy that wrote Gentleman Ghost into the issue where he first shows up. I definitely kept a lot of coordinators, producers, and lawyers busy on this movie. I’m sure I drove people crazy."
The film also prominently features "Harry Potter" villain Voldemort, a surprise move considering how closely franchise creator J.K. Rowling guards her characters. But McKay said working with Rowling was incredibly easy and she had no problem with the film using Voldemort and how they used Voldemort. "The only thing that she gave us was, like, spell suggestions and things like that that Voldemort should say. It was all really positive and helpful. It was never ‘I’m uncomfortable with that.’ I can’t say enough good things about working with her."
Directed by Chris McKay from a script by Seth Grahame-Smith, the 3D animated spinoff of “The LEGO Movie” features a Batman who must overcome his fear of being part of a family, take responsibility for his adopted son, and learn the importance of teamwork if he hopes to stop The Joker’s takeover of Gotham City.
Opening Feb. 10, “The LEGO Batman Movie” stars Will Arnett as Batman, Michael Cera as Robin, Zach Galifianakis as Joker, Ralph Fiennes as Alfred Pennyworth, Rosario Dawson as Batgirl, Mariah Carey as Mayor McCasskill, Jenny Slate as Harley Quinn and Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face.