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If you're going to build something, there's nothing better to use than LEGOs. In fact, The LEGO Movie franchise has handily turned into one of the most reliable cinematic universes ever since the first film debuted back in 2014. With so much success, all eyes are on The LEGO Ninjago Movie to carry the franchise forward, and producer Dan Lin recently revealed to audiences at San Diego Comic-Con that the style and techniques established by directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller play a significant role in the direction of the new spinoff. Lin explained:
Chris and Phil, Lord and Miller, directed the first movie and then produced this movie with me. Chris McKay, who directed LEGO Batman also produced this movie with me, so we really have a team now that's worked on all of these movies and it's all about setting the right work environment, and also casting the movies right.
So if you consider yourself a fan of The LEGO Movie, then it sounds like you're in for a treat with The LEGO Ninjago Movie as well. Lord and Miller were the first to truly dive into LEGO as a storytelling device on the silver screen, and their work has set a standard for what audiences look for when they see a LEGO-themed movie. With them helping to produce the brand new Ninjago spin-off (in addition to The LEGO Batman Movie's Chris McKay), it seems like a safe bet to assume that the off-beat and self-aware humor (with a healthy dose of heart thrown in for good measure) established three years ago will carry over.
Then there's the casting, which Lord and Miller have an apparent affinity for. The LEGO Ninjago Movie has assembled (pun intended) an insane cast of comedic talent that includes Dave Franco Justin Theoreaux, Olivia Munn Michael Pena and Abbi Jacobson -- just to name a few. They know how to work well with large groups of funny performers, so we fully expect that to be on full display in the final cut of this latest LEGO film.
As fans of their work, it's good to see that Lord and Miller have found franchises that work well with their particular styles. The duo recently made headlines when Lucasfilm CEO Kathleen Kennedy oversaw their removal from the upcoming Han Solo movie in the Star Wars universe, and many of the stories related to the project suggested that they were taking the series too far into the realm of comedy. LEGO doesn't necessarily have any of those potential pitfalls (the franchise is far more malleable than Star Wars from a comedic standpoint), so their influence will be felt more in the family-friendly franchise.
That said, it doesn't sound like we can expect much crossover into the exact world built by Lord and Miller in The LEGO Movie. Although The LEGO Ninjago Movie technically takes place in the same universe as the previous LEGO films, Dan Lin made sure to clear up any confusion and tell audiences that "Master Builders" like Batman or Emmet will not receive any definitive acknowledgment. The LEGO Ninjago Movie will stand on its own, so we will just have to wait and see how the film pans out when it finally debuts.