I was lucky enough to get a ticket to a red carpet screening of the new animated movie LEGO Justice League: Cosmic Clash. The movie, out today on Blu-ray, is the latest in LEGO’s popular “DC Super Heroes” straight-to-video series that spun out of their hit LEGO Batman. This installment introduces Brainiac as the main villain, a choice the writers said was inspired by how much fun his Skull-Ship was for them to play with in meetings.
Cosmic Clash was hilarious and very enjoyable start-to-finish. The writer, Jim Krieg, does an excellent job as always of balancing these movies so they’re accessible for kids but still a lot of fun for adults and diehard fans. The script is packed with esoteric references to DC continuity, from the Flash’s Cosmic Treadmill to Grant Morrison’s Batman Caveman. They even did Pirate Batman so I’m satisfied for the rest of my life. You can’t argue with Pirate Batman. Go ahead — try, I will wait.
If you’ve never been to a LEGO movie screening before and you have the chance to go, I highly recommend it. They did a convention-style panel Q&A at the end where only little kids in the audience could ask questions, and it was one of the most adorable things I have ever seen in my entire life. I was also lucky enough to have a chance to interview several members of the cast and crew on the red carpet, and those interviews are below!
Okay, the carpet was black, sue me. Artistic license!
Brandon Vietti (Producer)
Fandom: What’s the best thing you’re reading right now, or the best thing you’ve read recently?
Brandon: Uh, recently, that’s a good question. I’ve been going back and reading a lot of older things actually, to be honest. That’s the great thing about my job. We get to pull from some of the great stories of the DC Universe. One of the recent ones I read was Kingdom Come. I wanted to go back and read how they approached that story.
Fandom: I feel like I get more out of it every time I read it.
Brandon: Yeah, and that’s the beauty of reading these old series. I’m reading the Crisis story, Crisis on Infinite Earths, right now. I’m reading that again. I like to go back and read some of the really famous stories, and again, all of these old stories sort of give us ideas. Especially for the LEGO stories that we’re making now. Because nothing’s off the table for us story-wise with the LEGO movies.
Fandom: You seem to be having a lot of fun pulling from the best of DC history.
Brandon: We do, yeah, and we get to pull from the live-action TV shows, Super Friends, any of the movies, it’s all up-for-grabs.
Fandom: Ugh, LEGO movies would be so much better if they had to rigidly stick to New 52 continuity.
Brandon: [laughs] You would be depriving yourself of so much fun.
Fandom: Is there anything you’re excited about in Cosmic Clash that you got to do for the first time that you’ve never had a chance to do before?
Brandon: Oh yeah, we got to do time travel. I think that one of the really fun elements people are gonna remember from this movie is that, not to give away too many spoilers, but Brainiac has a weapon that can send his foes back in time. He uses that against the Justice League because they’re, of course, in his way, of shrinking the Earth…which is what Brainiac does best. He shrinks planets. So yeah, we get to see the Justice League cast back in time. And even worse, the process of going back in time makes them lose their memories, so they forget who they are, and it’s up to Batman & Flash to figure out a way to go back in time and rescue their friends and help them remember who they are.
James Arnold Taylor (Voice of the Flash)
Fandom: I understand you’re a big comic book reader. Is there anything you’ve read recently that you’re really excited about?
James: I am, kind of like with video games, I get to be in so many wonderful video games, but I still have a standup Pac-Man machine in my house with Donkey Kong and all those in it. I tend to go backwards. I really do. I’ve been reading through my old Justice Leagues and my old Flashes. Green Lantern. Green Arrow.
Fandom: Any particular runs?
James: Yeah. Because it struck such a chord for me as a kid… I’m staying in my DC world today, although I love lots of Marvel stuff. The who killed Iris Allen, Barry Allen stuff on the Flash was always my favorite.
Fandom: That’s heavy stuff.
James: It is! And as a kid reading it I was so enthralled and I’ve been going back and seeing… as you just said, it’s like “Oh wow!” this is like, I mean, if they can work that stuff in, it could be a movie. It could be a movie.
Fandom: Is there anything you were excited about getting to do in Cosmic Clash that you haven’t had a chance to do before?
James: Yeah, team up with Troy. It’s like kind of a buddy thing with Batman and Flash. That’s pretty awesome to do, cause we tracked our lines together in the studio, which is great. Not always the case with things, but with most of these Cosmic Clash ones… the Lego ones I should say… we get to be together in the room, and I just love working with my fellow voice actors and I’m always amazed at what they do and how they do it. It’s so much fun to do, it’s like, all the fun that we normally get to have when they say cut, and we joke around, we get to actually put all that joking into these. So, it’s a lot of fun.
Jim Krieg (Writer)
Fandom: What’s the best thing you’re reading right now, or the best thing you’ve read lately?
Jim: I get comic books through work, so they often come to me late. I think probably Scott Snyder’s Batman is my favorite stuff so far, and it’s a very strange experience when you get these big boxes of comics and you flip through them and it’s like “Oh, I want this one, I want this one.” Those are always the ones I pull out first. And then of course I pull out Scooby-Doo and Looney Tunes for my kids.
Fandom: I’ve heard good things about those.
Jim: There’s these Scooby team-ups that are really fun, they meet all these Hanna-Barbera characters, they’re wonderful.
Fandom: Is there anything else, just in general, you’re reading or watching or listening to right now that you wish more people were talking about?
Jim: I read slowly, it takes me awhile, so I just now finished Ready Player One. Which, you know, of course, now they’re making it into a movie… boy, that was… that spoke to me. That was everything I grew up with and I thought it was great. I’m so glad they’re making it into a movie.
Fandom: Is there anything you’re excited about in Cosmic Clash that you haven’t had a chance to do before?
Jim: First of all, I think this is our funniest one. In some of the earlier ones we had Superman sing, and people liked it, and so in this one he has an extended song [audible giggle] that I got to write. To hear… two of the actors had to sing it at the same time because it’s half-Brainiac half-Superman and it was delightful. The other thing I loved was that the Legion of Super-Heroes was in it, and we don’t get to see much of them. My son grew up reading that and loving it, so I thought this was a good opportunity.
Fandom: Do you have any favorite Legion stories?
Jim: If somebody just hires me, I’ll do it. I can totally do it. Because Legion is Star Trek. Legion is Star Trek but a club. It’s like a best of all worlds, and there are too many great Legion stories. There’s the Ferro Lad story, and Starfinger, and they just go on and on. Every single one is ripe.
Fandom: There’s so much great source material there and nobody knows what to do with it.
Jim: I think you gotta do it. You know, it should be like a CW show. It really is a soap opera.
Fandom: I would watch the hell out of that.
Jim: It was sort of like X-Men before the X-Men. You know? They’re real teens, they have real relationships, but it’s surrounded by all that Silver Age fun. Somebody hire me to write that. I’ll do it.
Khary Payton (Eternal voice of Cyborg)
Fandom: Is there anything you’re reading right now, or you read recently, that you’re really excited about?
Fandom: Does that stand for something?
Khary: You know what? We don’t know yet. We still don’t know. It’s in its fourth chapter of this series that’s been going on for a couple of years now; that’s one of the cool things is that we still don’t know what MFK stands for. But it’s about a girl on another world and she’s finding herself. I think it’s beautifully written, she illustrates it and writes it and really tells the story the way an artist would. It’s pictures first. It’s images first. You know? And words are there, when necessary, I mean, they talk, but I love those moments when there’s just one word on a page. You know? and you get the emotional story, in comics, I think, told in the images. You know? and I think she does an amazing job of that and I think more people should check that comic out. Nilah Magruder, MFKcomic.com, check it out.
Rick Morales (Director)
Fandom: You’re a big comic book reader, right? Is there anything you’re reading right now?
Rick: I read more of, I think, the popular stuff, so you’re not gonna get a lot of indie books out of me. I think the thing that I enjoyed the most recently was actually Secret Wars, the Hickman thing. I was following his whole run, from Fantastic Four through all the Avengers books. And then I think, honestly, there’s not a whole lot that I’m reading right now. The Star Wars books. I follow those. But, you know, to be honest you, with all these changes, I’ve just kinda lost a little bit of interest. Yeah. I think for now, you know, they’re not the characters that I was reading anymore, and that’s kind of the big appeal to me. I’m more traditionalist.
Fandom: Is there anything you’re excited about in Cosmic Clash that you guys got to do for the first time that you haven’t been able to before?
Rick: I like this take on Brainiac a lot. I think he’s really funny and charming, and I think he’s got a lot of relatable qualities to…I don’t know if you’re a collector, but I am too. I think there’s pieces of us in him. That we can relate to.
Fandom: I love villains like that, villains that are just caricatures of comic book fans. Him and Superbly-Prime are two of my favorites.
Rick: [laughs] Yeah, I think he’s a lot of fun. But of course, you know, Batman, like always, steals the show. He’s got a lot of great one-liners and stuff to see.
Troy Baker (Voice of Batman)
Fandom: I’ve talked to you in the past about being a big comic book reader, is there anything you’re reading right now that you’re excited about?
Troy: I just got Saga, huge Brian K. Vaughan fan, and everyone keeps talking about that to me. I think I was hesitant to start reading it because “Y” was so good I didn’t want to, like, tarnish it. I’m really curious to see what Geoff Johns is gonna get into with DC. I’m all about the new stuff. I feel like there’s a rebirth and a resurgence happening with the DC characters right now.
Fandom: Is there anything you’re excited about in Cosmic Clash that you guys haven’t had a chance to do before?
Troy: I mean, the Cosmic Treadmill is a big one of course. I think Jim, nobody is happier about that than he is, because he’s been trying to shoehorn it into every one that we’ve done so far. To me, I think everyone’s the funniest in this one…everyone feels more dropped-in…just more settled in their characters. And I think you see that because that’s the way the Justice League is feeling about themselves to, so I don’t know if one’s interpreting the other, or what, but to me it’s funny. Batman’s jokes are funnier in this one than anything. Khary Payton always cracks me up. So yeah, I’m happy.
I also told Troy that my friend Mari has a crush on him, and I asked if he would take a cute couples photo with me to make her jealous. He very kindly obliged.