Check out our brick by brick recap of The LEGO Ninjago Movie Comic-Con panel
Following the tremendous success of both The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie, Warner Bros. Pictures is gearing up to unleash martial arts action with The LEGO Ninjago Movie, in theaters September 22. Attendees at Comic-Con International got a special early sneak peek at what’s to come. CS was on the scene you can read on for our full recap of The LEGO Ninjago Movie Comic-Con panel below!
“‘The LEGO Movie’ was an adventure movie and ‘The LEGO Batman Movie’ was a superhero movie,” said Dan Lin, producer of the entire LEGO cinematic universe. “We wanted to tackle the martial arts and giant robot movie.”
As you can see from the new trailer, Ninjago introduces several real-world elements. While The LEGO Movie had the Kragle, Ninjago makes use of outdoor environments and even a Kaiju kitty who goes by the name of Meowthra.
“We haven’t seen the completed film yet,” said star Dave Franco, who plays Lloyd, the Green Ninja, “but I can already say that this film is my favorite project I’ve ever been a part of… The humor is so specific. They somehow found a balance where it plays equally well to my friends in my 30’s and to kids who are five.”
Although Jackie Chan couldn’t be in attendance, he sent a video greeting that played at the panel. Not only does Chan voice Sensi Wu, but The LEGO Ninjago Movie actually made use of Chan and his entire stunt team. All of the martial arts action was choreographed by them and filmed in live-action so that the animators could recreate the stunts with minifigs.
Franco and Lin were joined onstage by several other Ninjago stars, however, including Justin Theroux, Abbi Jacobson, Olivia Munn, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Peña and Zach Woods. Lin made of noting of that there’s something very special about the ensemble cast in that they’re all creators themselves. Although most animated films don’t record with the entire cast, the ensemble was brought together for one major studio session and Theroux and Franco — who play father and son — recorded together several times. It was noted that the “La-Lloyd” joke from the trailer actually grew out of Theroux’s improvisation in the booth.
“He’s the worst guy in the world,” said Theroux of his Garmadon. “…He’s a complete and utter narcissist and I’ve known some of them.”
Theroux also teases a “nautical theme” for Garmadon.
“It’ll make more sense when you see the movie why Garmadon’s obsessed with shark creatures,” he laughed.
While Garmadon is Lloyd’s father, Olivia Munn is voicing Lloyd’s mother, Koko.
“This character was so much fun to play because she’ the most positive, upbeat mom,” she said “…I pretty much did the opposite of everything my mom did growing up. She was a pretty tough mom.”
Then there’s Jacobson’s Nya, the Ninja of water.
“She rides a motorcycle,” said the Broad City star, who was actually recording lines for the film earlier that day. “She’s the girl in the gang.”
Nya is the sister of Peña’s Kai, the Red Ninja. Because of his son, Peña said that he has seen every single episode of LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu. What’s more, his son is a die hard LEGO fan and likes to spend his free time studying new building techniques.
“I think I can now be the cool dad,” he smiled.
There were quite a few Masters of Spinjitzu fans in the audience and Lin explained that the big screen film is sort of like the difference between doing Batman on the small screen and then on the big screen. There are going to be some differences, but the spirit of the show will remain.
“’Ninjago’ is like ‘Fight Club’ for ten year olds,” laughed Theroux. “If you’re older than that, you don’t know it exists.”
As the Blue Ninja, Nanijani’s Jay wields the power of electricity.
“I feel like that question is racist,” Nanjiani laughed when asked if he played with LEGO growing up. “Yeah, we had LEGO in Pakistan… Pakistan is made of LEGOs! I lived in a LEGO house… When we were little kids in Pakistan, we would build meals out of LEGOs and pretend it was food.”
Finally, there’s Woods as Zane, the robotic White Ninja who utilizes the power of ice.
“He wants to be a teenager,” said Woods, “but he’s ill-equipped to deal with teenage culture.”
While Lin promises the development of a LEGO cinematic universe, he said that The LEGO Ninjago Movie is very much self-contained and fans shouldn’t expect cameos from The LEGO Movie or The LEGO Batman Movie. Don’t fret, though, as the cast of The LEGO Movie will soon reassemble for The LEGO Movie Sequel, set to hit the big screen February 8, 2019. Whether or not it will also feature some of the Ninjago cast remains to be seen.
As much fun as the new trailer is, there was one moment at the panel that managed to top it. A young fan was dressed as the Green Ninja and Franco was so excited to see him there that the star insisted on coming down into the audience and taking a photo. Check it out below!
Also starring Fred Armisen as Cole, The LEGO Ninjago Movie marks the feature film directorial debut of Charlie Bean (TRON: Uprising). The screenplay is by Hilary Winston & Bob Logan & Paul Fisher, story by Kevin Hageman & Dan Hageman and Hilary Winston & Bob Logan & Paul Fisher, based on LEGO Construction Toys.
The LEGO Ninjago Movie is produced by Dan Lin, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and Roy Lee, who previously collaborated on the worldwide box-office phenomenon The LEGO Movie, along with Maryann Garger (Flushed Away). Serving as executive producers are John Powers Middleton, Seth Grahame-Smith, Chris McKay, Jill Wilfert, and Keith Malone.
Catch The LEGO Ninjago Movie on the big screen September 22, 2017.