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 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 an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.