The LEGO Movie 2 features all the popular characters from the first hit film, but introduces some major new ones as well, from a shape-shifting alien queen to her formidable general. Here's some of the voice talent to look out for.
Among the many elements that clicked so well in The LEGO Movie (2014) was the cast. Chris Pratt was endearing and funny as accidental hero Emmet, and Elizabeth Banks brought an amiable fierceness to the role of Lucy. They were joined by Morgan Freeman, Will Ferrell, Alison Brie, Will Arnett and others, a dream cast adding vitality to the bonkers on-screen action.
Most of the gang is back for The LEGO Movie 2, so the reliably fun interaction between the actors is present and correct. But there are also some key new voices to listen out for. The biggest additions to the cast are Tiffany Haddish, whose renown continues to rise following a string of high-profile roles, and Stephanie Beatriz, who lends her voice to the role of General Mayhem.
The story involves Bricksburg having been transformed into an apocalyptic wasteland by the Duplo aliens who arrived at the end of the first film. When Emmet's friends are kidnapped, he heads off into space to try to save them from Queen Watevra Wa'Nabi (Haddish). “Much like Tiffany Haddish herself,” says director Mike Mitchell, “the Queen is full of energy and very funny, and a super creative character. That’s her theme and the theme of the Systar System that she rules, that you can change into whatever you like and as many times as you like.”
Haddish says her character “is constantly on the move, thinking and planning. So, her physical form changes all the time to keep pace with her ideas. You never know what she’s really up to, or what she’s going to look like next.” As well as being a galactic leader, the Queen also has a romantic link with none other than fan favourite Batman. The energetic Haddish is perfect for the dynamic role.
The Queen's royal sidekick is General Mayhem (Beatriz), Intergalactic Naval Commander of the Systar System. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, writers and producers of the film, refer to her as 'Darth Vader with sparkly wings'. The first film revealed the scenario was a metaphor for the real-world relationship between young Finn (Jadon Sand) and his dad (Will Ferrell). The second film is more about Finn's sister, Bianca (Brooklynn Prince), growing up.
“In the same way that Emmet could be an extension of kids like Finn, Mayhem is an extension of his sister,” explains Beatriz. “It's interesting to see a superhero imagined from what would likely be the eyes of a preteen kid and see what qualities are important to her. And what you see in Mayhem is strength and honesty…or at least someone who is trying to find her way toward honesty.”
As Emmet travels to the Systar System, he encounters another new character, who introduces himself as Rex Dangervest. His voice will be familiar though as he's not exactly new to the cast. It's Chris Pratt again, playing a character who is a “galaxy-defending archaeologist, cowboy and raptor trainer”. In other words, a character that riffs on the actor's filmography as a space hero in one title to a Velociraptor expert in the next. Pratt explains, “Rex is the man Emmet thinks he should be. More importantly, he’s the man Emmet thinks Lucy wants him to be.” The actor has a lot of fun with the distinguishing the characters. “Emmet is cheerful and optimistic, in a higher register,” he says. “Rex is tougher, and more flip and indifferent, with a touch of John Wayne.”
“All these actors bring so much to every role,” Mitchell says. “The most satisfying part of making this movie was collaborating with them and seeing what they bring to their characters.” And it's not just the leads, either. The film is packed with subsidiary characters, all of whom bring something special. Of course, there are the favourites, like Arnett's Batman, who “takes himself so seriously that it’s almost absurd,” and Brie's Unikitty
Brie says, “She has two sides to her personality and in this sequel, we get to see a lot more of the second side. The cool thing about that is they can weaponize her.” But we also see more DC Comics characters, too. Channing Tatum returns as Superman, meanwhile Jonah Hill reprises his role as the Green Lantern. Wonder Woman (Cobie Smulders) is also back, and she's joined by fellow Justice League member Aquaman, voiced by none other than Jason Momoa, the live-action Aquaman. There are also villains like Harley Quinn (Margot Rubin) and Lex Luthor (Ike Barinholtz).
Other voice actors to listen out for include some British stars, including TV personality and filmmaker Richard Aoyade as Ice Cream Cone, a servant of Queen Whatevra Wa'Nabi, and Noel Fielding as Balthazar, a vampire mini-doll who runs the Queen's spa and 're-education celebrity centre'. It's there that the gang is introduced to The LEGO Movie 2's new earworm song, called Catchy Song.
As in the first film, music plays an important role. Not only do versions of 'Everything is Awesome' echo through the film, Lord says, “We’re using lots of songs and musical numbers to help tell the story in a fun, playful way.” Along with the score, once more from Devo frontman and composer Mark Mothersbaugh, there are songs performed by Haddish, including one with Arnett's rapping Batman, and an original song written by Beck, Super Cool, featuring Robyn.
As with the first film, The LEGO Movie 2 is all about the combination of astonishing visuals, packed with the possibility of LEGO and visual gags, with the music and the voice performances. There's so much going on, it's a delight to the eyes – and ears!