Will “The Lego Movie 2” Be About Gender Roles in Toys?

Matthew Loffhagen
Warner Bros
(Photo: Warner Bros)

Okay, so I’m working on a theory about “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part”.

Bear with me on this.

The first trailer for this movie doesn’t give a lot away, but I there’s enough in here to allow me to speculate wildly about what’s going to go down in the film.

I think that “The Lego Movie 2” will be an exploration of gender differences in toys.

In the trailer, we see a dark, gritty, “Mad Max” inspired hellscape that has consumed the heroes from the first game.

I suspect that this is going to be presented as a reflection of how Finn (the little boy from the first movie) has grown up a bit, and embraced a dark, dusty, overly grimdark playstyle that’s lifted right from certain Warner Bros comic book movies.

Then, a mysterious alien stranger turns up. This creature has weird body proportions – longer, more slender arms and legs, and a taller frame. She seems very interested in WyldStyle (I refuse to call her Lucy), and ultimately kidnaps her, along with a bunch of other characters from the first film.

This is obviously a Lego Friends minifigure, from the “girls” range of Lego toys.

She takes the heroes off to the “Sistar” system – a reference to how, at the end of the first “Lego Movie”, Will Ferrell’s Man Upstairs suggests that Finn’s little sister be allowed to play with the big giant Lego world as well.

Clearly, Finn’s sister has grown up too, and abandoned her Duplo in favor of Friends Lego.

Girls and Lego

Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (back after ultimately dodging a bullet with “Solo: A Star Wars Story”) have said that they want to address the gender imbalance from the first film.

The original “Lego Movie” is very much about the way boys play with Lego, and the relationship between a boy and his father.

Lord and Miller heard the feedback from female audiences, and they’re repentant for the mistake of omitting girls from the first film. Hence, we’re going to see some Lego Friends on display as well.

I’m not the biggest fan of the Friends range, and I don’t think I’m the only one.

Lego Friends
Source: Lego

This Lego range is considered an embarrassment to many Lego fans. It’s weird that girls even need their own, separate, gated-off Lego world with minifigures that are (let’s face it) more sexualized.

I don’t think anyone ever asked for Lego minifigures with curves, yet here we are.

It’s weird that girls are being pushed to their own range of Lego that’s not entirely compatible with the default stuff, which increasingly seems like it’s “for boys” instead. You can’t swap legs and heads between the Friends figures and the regular figures.

There are also plenty of female minifigures that appear in the regular range, such as WyldStyle herself.

My grievances with this range aside, I must admit that plenty of girls really like it. The range wouldn’t have continued (and expanded to include Disney princesses and DC superheroes) if it weren’t popular.

The first “Lego Movie” is incredibly insightful about many issues of modern life. Despite being a glorified toy commercial, it deals with themes of totalitarian government, corporate greed, and rampant consumerism.

This is some sly commentary to put into a kid’s film!

A Movie for Everyone

I suspect that Lord and Miller intend to do the same high-brow storytelling with the sequel.

This time around, I think we’ll be getting a discussion on the arbitrary difference between “boys’ toys” and “girls’ toys”, with a heavy emphasis on the idea that kids should really be allowed to play with whatever they want.

Hence, why the story will use both Finn’s Lego and his Sister’s Friends toys. This is all likely being acted out by Finn, as he does the seemingly unthinkable, and starts playing with Lego aimed at girls.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if the sister shows up, participating in the story as well, just to double-down on this core message.

If this film turns out to be as complex and nuanced as the original, I’m all for it.

Lego Movie Friends
Source: Warner Bros

It might even convince some ardent fans of classic Lego to embrace the Friends range, all while forcing The Lego Company to make more sets that aren’t aimed at a particular gender.

Because maybe, just maybe, you can sell more toys if you don’t try to arbitrarily dividing your consumer base according to outdated notions of gender marketing.