The LEGO Batman Movie nearly included some very different villains

That's alongside including pretty much every Batman villain in existence, from the Joker to Gentleman Ghost and Polka-Dot Man

Clarisse Loughrey
Tuesday 14 February 2017 09:25


The LEGO Batman Movie does share one major facet with its predecessor, 2014's The LEGO Movie: its love of pop culture cameos. Many, many pop culture cameos.

The film, of course, features just about every Batman villain in existence: from Zach Galifianakis' the Joker and Doug Benson's Bane, to brief shout-outs to the obscure likes of Gentleman Ghost and Polka-Dot Man.

Yet, that's not where the cameo appearances end, far from it. The LEGO Batman Movie also falls in line with the toy brand's own love of intellectual property mash-ups, leading the film to feature a host of appearances from classic movie villains, including Voldemort, King Kong, Sauron, the Gremlins, Daleks, and the Wicked Witch.

However, director Chris McKay revealed to Entertainment Weekly a host of interesting, wildly different villains that never made the cut - ones that were perhaps a little less child friendly in their references.

"I would have had Kathy Bates from Misery," McKay explained. "And [Sherlock Holmes' nemesis] Moriarty, and at one point I pitched Daniel Day-Lewis’s character from Gangs of New York and David Carradine from Kill Bill. At a certain point, though, you have to weigh what characters the kids going to get. In LEGO, it’s sometimes hard to get a really quick interpretation of something."

"I was already worried that we weren’t doing enough with some characters. Also, at one point, we did put HAL from [2001: A Space Odyssey] into the movie, but it was a tough read. Maybe in future movies, we’ll try to bring more characters in."

Film fans will likely have noticed that many of these characters are already property of the same studio, Warner Bros., though it didn't necessarily magically solve all of the production team's problems.

Will Arnett discusses The Lego Batman Movie

"You need an army of lawyers and producers who are willing to run around and do all the hard work of finding out all the rights-holders," the director added. "Fortunately, Warner Bros. made a lot of those movies, but for others, we had go to out and get them. I wanted characters from all over the world. I wanted Daleks. I wanted stuff that has a history and is time-tested, like the Wicked Witch."

"And I hope people love Gremlins as much as I do. And Sauron. But even for the actual Batman villains, even though that’s all [property of] DC, someone still has to go out and find it, you know, the guy that wrote Gentleman Ghost into the issue where he first shows up. I definitely kept a lot of coordinators, producers, and lawyers busy on this movie. I’m sure I drove people crazy."

Since Voldemort ends up having a fairly large role in the finished film, production even involved going straight to J.K. Rowling for guidance. "We used Dumbledore in The LEGO Movie as a quick one-off joke," he explained. "But Voldemort obviously plays a bigger role in this movie, and J.K. Rowling obviously cares very deeply about these characters, so we absolutely had to run stuff by her."

"But honestly, there were no notes. The only thing that she gave us was, like, spell suggestions and things like that that Voldemort should say. It was all really positive and helpful. It was never ‘I’m uncomfortable with that.’ I can’t say enough good things about working with her."

The LEGO Batman Movie is in cinemas now.

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