Director Chris McKay's The LEGO Batman Movie is unquestionably a follow-up to The LEGO Movie - featuring not only the same animation style but also a shared lead character -- but the connections are surprisingly slim. Will Arnett's incarnation of the Dark Knight is clearly the same, and there are mentions of Master Builders, but the titular hero pretty much lives in his own world beyond that. As you might guess, this approach was taken for a specific reason, and it's why Chris Pratt's Emmet and Elizabeth Banks' Wyldstyle don't wind up making cameos in the animated blockbuster: the filmmakers really wanted it to specifically be a Batman movie.
I brought up the lack of Emmet and Wyldstyle when I sat down to talk with producer Dan Lin at the LEGO Batman Movie press day in Los Angeles earlier this month, and asked why it was ultimately decided that they shouldn't be in the film. Lin admitted that it was something they definitely considered, but at the end of the day they made a decision to keep them out of the spin-off. Said the filmmaker,
Yeah, we talked about it a lot. You can imagine the natural inclination is to include Wyldstyle and Emmet -- they were so popular from the first movie, as well as other characters. We said, 'You know what? Batman should have his own movie.' He'll meet up with Emmet and Wyldstyle in due time, so fans will see that pairing again, but we want to build to that. This time, tell Batman's own story -- a story we haven't seen before in the movies about what Batman really struggles with when he has everything in the world. He's got money, he's got adoring fans, he's got great vehicles, great gadgets, but when he goes home he really has nothing.
To further Dan Lin's point, having Emmet, Wyldstyle, or any of the other LEGO Movie characters appear would somewhat undercut everything that The LEGO Batman Movie is doing with its story and ensemble. If Batman can just lean back on his relationships with the heroes from The LEGO Movie, that makes Alfred, Robin and others far less significant in the broad view. By just ignoring Emmet and Wyldstyle, the cast in The LEGO Batman Movie feel that much more important to the emotional journey that the titular hero goes on.
You can watch Dan Lin talk about the relationship between The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie in the video below!
The LEGO Batman Movie is in theaters now. Be sure to stay tuned for more from our interviews with the cast and filmmakers here on CinemaBlend!