The Lego Movie 2: Making a Story that Worked

The filmmakers behind The Lego Movie 2 reveal how the idea for a follow-up snapped into place.

When The Lego Movie was first officially given the green light in 2011, the first question that most people asked of writers/directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller was, “How the hell do you make a movie based around plastic building blocks?”

Snap forward to 2014, and The Lego Movie comes out to rapturous audience and critical response, earning some $459 million worldwide, thanks to its imaginative visuals, crazily creative story and humor and ultimately poignant message. So now five years later, Lord and Miller (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) have written and produced The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, and the question is: how do you follow up such a unique predecessor?

The movie is set once again in Bricksburg, the imaginary land made of Legos and populated by Lego characters created by a boy named Finn in the first film. Only now, repeated “attacks” from his younger sister Bianca’s Duplo “invaders” have reduced the landscape to Apocalypseburg as she attempts in her own way to find a way to play with her big brother.

“It was scary and daunting, but we only do things that are scary, so why should this be different?” says Lord with a chuckle in our interview below. “We all got together after the first one and said, ‘Well, what would double down or up the ante on the first one?’ And the idea of introducing a second imagination to the movie and trying to have those two imaginations talk to each other and work together was really inspiring to us. The hard part was to actually make it work.”

Mike Mitchell (Trolls) has taken over behind the camera for Lord and Miller, and the director tells us he had a most unusual reaction to the idea of a sequel when it first came up. “When they approached me with this idea, I was like, ‘You should not make a sequel, because that first film is my favorite film, it’s the perfect film, and it doesn’t need a sequel.’ And then they pitched me the story, and I thought, ‘That is such a great idea that now I have to be a part of this.”

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Returning to their roles from the first film are Chris Pratt (Emmet), Elizabeth Banks (Lucy), Charlie Day (Benny), Alison Brie (Unikitty), Will Arnett (Batman) and Will Ferrell (Lord Business), while newcomers to the franchise include Tiffany Haddish (Queen Watevra Wa’Nabi), Stephanie Beatriz (General Mayhem) and Maya Rudolph (Mom).

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part is in theaters now.

Don Kaye is a Los Angeles-based entertainment journalist and associate editor of Den of Geek. Other current and past outlets include Syfy, United Stations Radio Networks, Fandango, MSN, and many more. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @donkaye