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State of the Union: 14 Franchises that should be bathed in the sweet waters of Lego
by Greg Mengel

Having just blazed my way through Lego Harry Potter: Years 1-4 and replayed LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga, my mind is awash with tiny Danish blocks. So far, Traveller’s Tales have parodied/extolled/reveled in the worlds of Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Batman, Rock Band and Harry Potter, forging recreations that simultaneously mock and tip their hats respectfully to their franchise parents by putting them in brick form. I, for one, want more.

Here are fourteen franchises that are already Lego-worthy in my mind. Try imagining yourself playing them in a happy utopian world, where the government provides every family with a unicorn pegasus, where robots work in the place of humans at 9-to-5 blue-collar jobs, and where the water is lined with just a hint of LSD. In this fantastic scenario, Lego has the rights to all creative property - ever - and has handed it off with a smile to Traveller’s Tales with the orders that they must create whatever franchise games they wish, no copyright infringement holds barred. Also, it’s Christmas everyday, and everybody races sled dogs to school or work.

Warning: anyone who says anything about “missing Twilight” in the comments will be slapped with the firm, open-palmed parental justice of a site ban*. That’s GGTL-style judge-and-jury shit, yo.


14: Godzilla

To be honest, I’ve seen maybe two Godzilla films that didn’t star Matthew Broderick. I say "maybe" because the plots of every classic Godzilla vs Space/Radioactive Monster That For-God-Knows-What-Reason Seems To Seriously Hate Japan tend to run together. Flipping through channels on sad, rainy days I may have seen twenty different Godzilla films, but I can’t tell the difference. It walks, it screams, it demolishes the Japanese military or protects them against a giant Moth-shaped behemoth. Godzilla has a pattern.

That being said, the idea of giant Lego monsters demolishing a string of 1950s Japanese cities is an extremely fun, and unique, prospect. So fun and unique that I would spend hard earned greenbacks to experience it.

13: The Matrix

Besides the image of Lego figures breaking slowly and laboriously apart in bullet-time, there are a handful of reasons why the Matrix saga would convert perfectly into digital Danish toy bricks. First off, it has the necessary holy quadrinity of Lego title needs: characters, story, overall aesthetic and cult fan-base. Secondly, while I can’t bring myself to watch the second or third Matrix movies without a constant and copious flow of morphine, I would play through them in a game while clean and sober. Scenes that are originally graphic and ... orgyriffic ... can with the power of good old Lego magic become ridiculous and funny.

12: A purely LEGO created saga

Remember those basic sets you played with, back before Lego shook hands with the begrimed, devilish claw of the corporate man? Remember the glow-in-the-dark ghost piece? Remember the castle it took weeks to make with your dad?

I want a game of that.

This is tougher than it sounds. First of all, to do this Traveller’s Tales would have to pray that its original audiences - fans of Star Wars, Batman, Harry Potter, yada yada yada - had become fans of Lego games in general, and would buy a non-franchise-themed product. Second, it would have to tell a new story without using any words or text, as is the Lego game custom. Third, it would need to fuse seemingly unconnected classic Lego sets together with an at least somewhat stout plot. The culmination could be awesome, amazing, and damned terrific.

Maybe a single player version of this.

11: The Wizard of Oz

In technicolor!

Oz is perfect for the Lego game universe. Absolutely perfect. It features a diehard fanbase; a colourful, completely unique imaginative setting; a veritable grab-sack of characters; and hundreds of core and non-canonical plots.

A Lego Wizard of Oz is only plagued by one question: would it sell? It’s not easy to answer. On one hand, parents might love the Wizard of Oz as a clean alternative to toys that promote sex, drugs, or violence, and buy it in holiday droves for the younglings. Or, kids and parents alike could shun such a game as lameness in its purest form, leaving copies to gather dust tragically on shelves.

Bonus points if the soundtrack is Dark Side of the Moon.

10: Chronicles of Narnia

Yes, that’s right, I want to Lego-roll with that mincing, boy hungry paedophile Mr. Tumnus. I want to roll with him for hours: riding centaurs, combatting creepily-erotic white witches, eating tiny wedges of Turkish delight, all in Lego form. Then I want to work out my issues with an expensive counsellor.

Narnia has everything Lego games need, from a huge hardcore fan base to a whole seven books of sweet, sweet satire-ripe plots to choose from. Jokes could be plentiful, as could C.S. Lewis’ hallmark innocent, hyper-metaphorical charm. This game would be a hit in and out of youth groups worldwide.

9: Die Hard

Goddammit, yes, I want this game. Imagine a gritty, ultra-action-packed Hollywood satirisation of one of the most beloved movie series of all time. Think a Neo-Nazi Alan Rickman in Lego form, smarmy cubular scowling face and all. Or gritty cop Bruce Willis, smirking through his dotted five o’clock shadow. Now imagine those characters chasing cars, blowing up helicopters, sending Lego torsos into the engines of jet planes. Lego explosions! Who wouldn’t want to play through that?

Three movies equal one solid game.

8: Spider-Man

Batman was the most obvious comic series with which to beat ruthlessly with the unforgiving Lego makeover stick, but Spider-Man comes in a close second for its depth of characters, myriad of plots, and unattractively-religious (cultish) fanbase. Ever casually told a friend that Batman would thrash Spider-Man in a fight, only to receive a three hour point-by-point lecture - complete with prepared diagrams - on how wrong everything is that you choose to be? I give those lectures. They’ll ruin a twelve hour car trip.

Sadly, there are many reasons not to create another Spider-Man game. Sam Raimi squeezed that franchise for all the public attention it could harvest, then ceremoniously murdered it in front of millions of people. Those seeking to study the day that will forever live in infamy should look no further than 4th May 2007, the terrifying and unholy night that saw the release of Sin’s abortion, the movie-that-shall-not-be-named.

Spider-Man 3.

That film emo-jazzercise hip-thrusted a dark knife through my heart. I still have nightmares. On its anniversary, I wear black. With the ratings that film got, Hollywood knew better than to even whisper about another Spider-Man flick in closed circles until only very recently. Any chance of a Lego Spider-Man will have to wait until a new production team pulls a Lazarus, resurrecting the film franchise.

7: The Passion of the Christ

Lego Jesus building his own cross? Hi-larious.

Let's be honest, this will never, ever happen. But... Lego Bible stories from the Old Testament? That could work.

No, I‘m not looking forward to hell. Unless...

6: Dante’s Inferno, or Any Other Literary Classic

Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies, anyone?

They're not really franchises, but the idea of a true epic work of literature, like The Iliad, One Thousand and One (Arabian) Nights, or - I dunno - Beowulf being morphed into Lego would tickle the bookish nerd in me in a manner inappropriate for children. Think about it! True, tasteful adaptations (see: opposite of this) brought to life by Lego wit and adventure would be a blast. And would they be educational, making parents rush out to buy it in competitive droves? Probably not. But they would be hugely entertaining, regardless.

5: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

The comic, not the movie. Maybe both.

Alan Moore’s Justice League of Victorian England fits the Lego bill. Boldly solving mysteries as Dr.Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, th eInvisible Man, Dorian Gray, Captain Nemo, Martian explorer John Carter, crazed scientist Dr. Moreau, and the many other members of the League, while thwarting archvillains and saving literary kind would, in a word, be goddamned terrific.

4: Avatar: The Last Airbender

For crying out loud, M. Night Shyamalan, what in red sinful hell were you thinking? A 7% Tomatometer approval rating. Seven. Percent. As in, out of one hundred. This isn’t just bad; it’s Kazaam territory awful. The kind of movie that drives you to take a shower after seeing it, just to scrub off the terrible.

To be a product that people over the age of ten will actually want to buy, a Lego Avatar would need to separate itself by hundreds of millions of creative miles from its cinematic adaptation, modelling itself on Nickelodeon’s fantastic cult classic television series, the “inspiration for the movie,” instead. With Shyamalan’s unholy bastard child shrinking far in the rear view window, the makings of a classic Lego game could be in the works. With four types of bending, myriad other skills that could translate into various gameplay types, a gorgeous and vast world to explore, and a veritable smorgasbord of characters to choose from, this game could be excellent.

3: World War Z

Cause when there’s no more room in hell, the dead walk the earth.

Muslim is to Qur'an as Zombie Aficionado is to World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks. A disturbing prophecy of undead doom nigh upon us, the book uses a series of fictitious interviews to let us know exactly how the shit went down when, in the near future, a zombie plague ran rampant through the living human world. One part horror, another intellectual documentary, World War Z is just dying to be tastefully translated into game form.

Here’s how I see it: hundreds of Lego zombies, lumbering limbless like C-3PO in Lego Star Wars after he takes damage, moving en masse towards your Danish-bricked hero, a player-designed character who is moving frantically from war-torn country to country in an attempt to locate a zombie-free haven to fortify with his or her family and friends. As the nations and people of the world respond to the zombie threat, so too do the globe-trotting main characters, who will do anything to secure peace from the undead hordes that chase them.

LEGO zombies equal hilarious.

2: Lord of the Rings

After years of debate and wondering, it looks like a Lego version of the epic Lord of the Rings mega-franchise is finally happening. It is a strange fate that we have suffered so much fear and doubt over so small a thing.

For obvious reasons, a Lego Lord of the Rings would sell oodles upon oodles of copies, to children and adult-nerdy-types (myself included) worldwide. The Hobbit, The Fellowship, The Two Towers, Return of the King, and possibly Silmarillion equals a mountain of gameplay potential as tall as the series itself. My guess? We’ll see a Lego Lord of the Rings pack sometime around the release of The Hobbit, when the Tolkien fan frenzy rises from hibernation. I can’t wait.

Much as LEGO Lord of the Rings would be amazing, it still doesn’t match the pure fun capacity of the franchise topping off my Lego wish list...

1: Star Trek

Star Trek, you’ve earned a LEGO incarnation, dammit. Let’s go over a few reasons why a LEGO Star Trek would rock:

  • Five crews with stories to tell (Separated by captain... Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, Archer)
  • Space battles and exploring brave new worlds on foot + a gaggle of strange technologies + hundreds of possible character species and rank types = infinite gameplay possibilities
  • A massively large, dedicated fanbase waiting hungrily for a solid (or even kick-ass) Star Trek game (no dice, Star Trek Online).
  • Over 700 episodes, 10 movies, and an expanded universe which only Star Wars can match to pull stories from
  • Besides captains, there's a plethora of loved heroes to play as (Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Checkov, Sulu, Scotty; Riker, Worf, Data, Troi, Wesley and Beverly Crusher; Dax, Kira Nerys, O’Brien, Quark, Odo, Garak, Bashir; Chakotay, Torres, Tuvok, Kim, Paris, Neelix, Seven of Nine; T’Pol, Trip, Reed, Sato, Maywether, Flox, and others).
  • An antagonist gallery filled with recognizable villains (Khan, Q, Klingons, Romulans, Nero, Borg, Lore, Cardassians, Gul Dukat, Dominion, Gorn, basically anyone to exist in a mirror universe, and lots more)

When the new, Abrams-directed Star Trek film was released, it breathed three hundred and eighty-five million box office dollars of new life into a tired franchise, and got kids excited about that corny science fiction show their dad watches after they’ve gone to bed. That set the stage: at least two sequels with the same cast are slated for release. If they’re good, this trilogy could be the next Lord of the Rings or Star Wars IV-VI. And if that happens? You can bet Star Trek marketability will boldly go where no franchise has gone before. That means Lego.

...cause the party don't start until they walk in.

* I in no way have the power to implement this sweet justice.

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- Greg Mengel

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