Screenwriting team Phil Lord and Chris Miller currently have the market cornered on hilariously self-aware movies: Last year’s The LEGO Movie was a surprise hit with all age groups for its commentary on conformity, creativity, and imagination; not to mention that 22 Jump Street skewered itself for being a sequel rehashing the laughs of the original, thus managing to become something entirely new.
Now, Miller and Lord have to find a way to write The LEGO Movie 2 without going the 22 Jump Street route, while still retaining the Specialness of the original. And they’ve given some hints as to how they’re going to do it.
Talking with Empire Magazine, the duo explained that they had not planned on writing the sequel. They were ready to step back from the project and leave the next installment in someone else’s hands—but really, they were worried about just treading the same ground. But by working with Robot Chicken’s Chris McKay, Wreck-It Ralph writer Jared Stern, and Girl Most Likely writer Michelle Morgan, they’ve cracked a new idea.
They wouldn’t reveal much, but here’s what we do know, from Miller:
Well I don’t want to give you spoilers, but we were really interested in what happens to that boy who’s in the meta story in the first movie when he’s four years older. When he’s an adolescent, how does that change his point of view?
And it’s nice to have the characters start in a different place from the first movie. Emmet, for example, was in an existential crisis of having seen another dimension and was questioning the whole point of his existence.
Hmm, not unlike the plot of Toy Story 3, with Andy going off to college. Or perhaps closer to Andy going through puberty. That said, Lord and Miller are not going to direct the sequel. Their aim, Miller said, was to make each LEGO movie really feel like its own animal:
Part of the fun is finding people like Charlie [Bean], who’s doing the Ninjago movie, and Chris McKay who did so much on the first film. Each of them have their own distinct voices and ideas for tone. So it will each have its own personality and not just be, ‘Hey, remember that last movie? Here’s another one just like it!” So that’s been a big challenge, but so far it’s been going better than I expected.
The LEGO Movie 2 comes to theaters May 26, 2017.