Lego's Ninjago Feature Lands Tron: Uprising Director Charlie Bean

I’ll be the first person to admit how annoyingly negative I get whenever I’m talking about movies that are based on toy properties, with Trolls bearing the brunt of my sub-anger. But I haven’t got a single problem in the world with the Lego brand, which successfully transitioned into the video game market, as well as TV animation, with the Cartoon Network series Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu. A couple of months ago, Warner Bros. announced they’d be producing a feature adaptation of NInjago, and they have just hired animation director Charlie Bean to helm the project, according to The Hollywood Reporter. I wonder what it says about the scope of the project for Warner to have hired a first time filmmaker. But much like a Lego construction, you gotta start somewhere I guess.

Bean is most recently responsible for directing eight of the nineteen episodes of the animated spinoff Tron: Uprising for Disney XD, which is a pretty solid resume entry as far as fast-paced and exciting animation is concerned. While he also directed the British Cartoon Network series Robotboy, the bulk of his career has been writing and storyboading such action-oriented Cartoon Network series as The Powerpuff Girls and Samurai Jack, though he started out as a layout artist on such classic toons as Batman: The Animated Series, Ren & Stimpy and Tiny Toons Adventures. It’s a wonder he hasn’t transitioned into film before now.

Ninjago will take off from the TV series and will feature ninjas and samurais going up against all manner of enemies such as dragons, snake men and the evil warlord Lord Gagmadon, who has returned from his underworld banishment to again rise to power. The screenwriters are brothers Dan and Kevin Hagemen, who both write for Masters of Spinjitzu and have story credits on Hotel Transylvania and The Lego Movie, the star-studded animation coming next February from directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, both of whom will serve as producers on Ninjago along with Warner-based Lego Movie producers Dan Lin and Roy Lee. Both of those guys are mostly known for darker thrillers and action flicks, so that’s another good sign Ninjago will be more interesting than just a generic money grab.

If you’d like to see what Bean is capable of, you can find the entire first season of Tron: Uprising streaming here (opens in new tab) on Netflix. Or if you don’t have a Netflix account, you can watch the full first episode below.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.