The LEGO Movie was a major surprise. Here was a movie based on a toy with no discernable narrative or emotion outside of the pain of having one of the plastic pieces jab into your foot – so by all conventional logic, it shouldn’t work. Yet, under the stewardship of comedy maestros Phil Lord and Chris Miller, LEGO Movie became one of the standout films of 2014; it’s an outwardly silly movie that has real heart, a socially-focused brain and a genius screenplay.
The LEGO Batman Movie, a spin-off for the vain, Will Arnett-voiced version of the Caped Crusader, looks to be more of the same: self-deprecating jokes, relentless creativity and beautifully rendered faux-stop-motion design. The voice cast is also impeccable: joining Arnett are the likes of Michael Cera as Robin, Ralph Fiennes as Alfred, Rosario Dawson as Batgirl and Zach Galifianakis as the Joker. While that crew is new to the world of batarangs and shark spray, they’re going to be joined by a very cool Gotham alumnus.
Twitter user Brent Waller asked LEGO Batman Movie director Chris McKay if Billy Dee Williams is playing the villain Two-Face in the film, and in a delightfully unexpected turn the filmmaker responded in the affirmative:
Williams famously played Harvey Dent in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman and was signed up to transform into Two-Face in a sequel. However, when the poor response to Batman Returns (which the actor sat out) motivated a change in direction, Williams was replaced by Tommy Lee Jones in the villain role for Batman Forever. That’s widely considered a poor decision, with Jones simply hamming it up in an imitation of Jack Nicholson’s Joker – so it’s definitely exciting that we’ll get to see Williams in the role, albeit over two decades too late (and in brick form).
Of course, in fitting LEGO style, this will be a comedic take, and there’s a lot of comedy to be mined with Two-Face; his obsession with duality and chance, his lawyer history, and, given how the character’s design looks similar to what we got in Forever, likely a good few jokes about the Williams/Jones swap. As for what his part is in the movie is, that’s unclear. The primary plot involves Batman training up orphan Robin while Joker wreaks havoc across the city, so it’s likely he’ll be part of the backdrop to that.
Joker and Two-Face aren’t the only villains in the film though; Bats will also have to go up against the likes of Harley Quinn (Jenny Slate), Clayface, Bane, Riddler, Catwoman, Penguin, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy and Killer Croc, almost making it easier to say who from the rogue’s gallery isn’t in the film. It’s also fair to say that LEGO Batman Movie is shaping up to be a pretty great alternative to the more serious Batman of the DCEU.