Image: Warner Bros.
Phil Lord and Chris Miller may not be directing The Lego Movie Sequel, but they’re still creating the story, having signed on to do a rewrite of the original script. And it looks like the next film is going to be about an issue Lego has had several problems with in the past: gender.
In an interview with Collider, producers Dan Lin and Chris McKay shared that the second film in The Lego Movie series will explore gender similarities and differences in regards to toys, following the plot set up at the end of the first film. The Lego Movie ended with real-world protagonist Finn being told by his dad that he has to share his playtime with his younger sister, resulting in an army of Duplo (preschool Lego toys) invading the world.
According to McKay:
[Finn’s little sister] is coming in, and that’s the major thing that the movie is about. What’s different and similar about gender, when a boy plays vs. how a girl plays? What kinds of stories are there? Chris and Phil are super fucking smart and really thoughtful and sensitive writers. The kinds of questions and the interesting ideas that they’re getting into with this movie, it’s going to be like the first Lego Movie was, where it’s about something else that’s really profound. I’m really excited about where the movie is gonna go because it’s about these things that are actual notions that people have that might even be unconscious biases, where people don’t even realise that that’s the way they’re looking at the world.
This premise is actually promising in a lot of ways. The first film delicately handled the issue of what happens when adults stop treating toys like toys, and how the pursuit of perfection can do more harm than good. Now, this film looks to be about toys and gender, which has been one of Lego’s sore spots.
In 2014, a seven-year-old girl made headlines (including on io9) when she sent a letter to Lego admonishing them for not making toys for her and other girls, especially Lego figures. This matched a 2008 study that showed only 10 per cent of Lego builders were female, largely thanks to the fact that the company had been marketing almost exclusively to boys for years.
Lego has been steadily increasing its female outreach ever since, including the launch of Lego Friends and a DC Super Hero Girls line. Of course, some of those have come with their own problems (for example, in 2015 Lego Club Magazine was giving out beauty tips to its female readers, even though the Lego Friends toyline is targeted to kids 5 to 12 years old), but it’s been making progress, and it looks like this movie sequel might continue that trend.