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Many people have said that a hero's story is only as good as his or her villain. Between Lord Business and The Joker, the LEGO franchise has thus far managed to deliver on that idea, but with The LEGO Ninjago Movie about to debut this weekend, that idea is about to get even more absurd with the franchise's first-ever cat villain: Meowthra. The adorable take on the kaiju genre delivers plenty of laughs, and its inclusion in the film was one of Dave Franco's biggest reasons for signing onto the project. The actor recently sat down with CinemaBlend at the Ninjago press junket at LEGOLAND California and explained:
I was very excited when they first showed me the visual of what the cat in the movie was going to look like. When they were initially pitching the project to me they told me the main villain in the movie was going to be a cat and I signed the papers right there. That was one of the biggest draws for me.
The LEGO franchise has become well known for its ability to channel irreverence into its stories, and Meowthra encapsulates that idea. At its core, The LEGO Ninjago Movie is designed to skewer the conventions and cliché of classic Asian cinema, and the use of this feline captures the spirit of old-fashioned kaiju monsters like Godzilla and (you guessed it) Mothra. As a well-established cat person, Dave Franco could not resist, and the fact that the cat used in this film apparently looks quite a bit like his own cat served as icing on the cake for the job.
The inclusion of a beast like Meowthra is also important for The LEGO Ninjago Movie because it continues a tradition of live-action visual elements established by the first LEGO Movie. While The LEGO Batman Movie eschewed the live-action framework for story reasons, the narrative device was not just a one-off for the folks behind the franchise. In fact, during a separate conversation I had with producers Dan Lin and Chris McKay, they explained that live-action would continue to play a significant role in the overarching LEGO franchise going forward. Incorporating something like Meowthra into the story is an invaluable (and endlessly cute) way to see how far that premise can stretch, so we are excited to see how it will be handled in The LEGO Movie 2.
Meowthra will lay waste to Ninjago when The LEGO Ninjago Movie debuts in theaters this weekend on September 22. You can also take a look at CinemaBlend's 2017 movie premiere guide and our 2018 movie premiere guide for more up-to-date information on anything and everything debuting over the next year!