The Latest Animation News, Warner Animation

‘The LEGO Movie Sequel’ Has Found a New Director in Mike Mitchell

Share on Pinterest


One of the most anticipated sequels in feature animation is The LEGO Movie Sequel, an aptly-titled sequel to the 2014 breakout hit that put Warner Animation Group on the map. Truthfully, whoever sits in the director’s chair has the trickiest job in the world: figuring out how to make a sequel that lives up to the original while succeeding in its own right. With the LEGO Cinematic Universe (LCU) having emerged as one of Warner Bros.’ top franchises, there’s equal pressure for the studio to get the right person for the job. And last month, they certainly appeared to have finally settled on who they see as ‘the right person’.

Broken recently by The Hollywood Reporter, the studio has hired Mike Mitchell to take over the director’s chair for The LEGO Movie Sequel. He will direct from a recent draft of the screenplay by Raphael Bob-Waksberg.

Rob Schrab, who was previously named director, left for reasons that are being referred to simply as “creative differences.”

While Mike Mitchell has directed mostly for live-action (the most notable being Disney’s 2005 cult film Sky High), he began his animation career as an additional story artist on DreamWorks Animation’s Antz. His directorial debut in feature animation would—ironically enough—be a sequel: 2010’s Shrek Forever After. With the exception of the live-action sequences he directed for The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, it would be six years before he would flex his directorial muscles in animation again for DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls.

From a technical standpoint, Mitchell is the type of director that studios in general tend to like: an assured hand. Trolls proved that with its utilization of bizarre humor, creative visuals, and musical sequences. This combination of elements made Trolls a hit at the box office and made Mitchell an attractive choice in town. In fact, he was being courted by several animation studios before he accepted the job at Warners.

Director turnaround isn’t that uncommon in animation. While I could spend the next several sentences stating examples, I will simply say that Brave, The Good Dinosaur, and this year’s Captain Underpants are just a few of the more notable instances of this happening. Directors can get replaced for a variety of reasons, but when you are working with a franchise as big as this one, the main reasoning is clear: they want somebody who can handle big-budget animated franchise films, and it’s a plus if they can manage to add a little something of their own to the franchise’s established formula.

In summary, Mike Mitchell undoubtedly has big shoes to fill in following up Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s smash hit, but like I said up top, hopefully he’ll prove to be the right person for the job.

The LEGO Movie Sequel hits theaters on February 8, 2019.

What do you think? Do you approve of Mike Mitchell as director of LEGO Movie 2? If not, what other directors in animation would have been better for the job?

Edited by: Kelly Conley

Share on Pinterest

About Brandon Smith

Brandon is your average nerd with a love for nerdy things (games, comics, anime/manga, etc.). He also loves reading and writing and plans to be an author someday. For now, he writes with passion and curiosity about the world of animation. He lives with his family in North Carolina and is currently attending college.
  • Manuel Orozco

    Mike Mitchell has my seal of approval. I enjoyed his work on Shrek Forever After Alvin and the Chipmunks:Chipwrecked and Trolls. But the best of his work is Sky High!

    • Jeremiah

      He directed Chipwrecked? Yipe. My poor nerves. Please let this movie be amazing.

      • Manuel Orozco

        I’m sure it will be. And the fact that it’ll be more music driven sounds refreshing considering Mitchell just did Trolls and I just watched it last week. As for the Chipmunks, my fandom with them is on hiatus after I refused to see Road Chip.

  • Jeremiah

    Brave and Good Dinosaur. Well, let’s hope it doesn’t end up like those poor things. Wait. Deju vu. (Though Brave was great, but less of a masterpiece than you’d like.)

    • Manuel Orozco

      I enjoyed Brave and Good Dinosaur equally but I don’t blame you. If the last minute creative changes didn’t happen, I would have liked them even more.

  • I love Mike Mitchell’s work on Sky High, but I don’t believe he belongs here. The Lego Movie is a very intricate film, both in its visuals and narrative. Although Mike has an eye for visual pop (as we saw with Trolls), that isn’t so much the case with his storytelling. His conveyance of meaning is a too by-the-numbers, which often makes his movies seem simplistic to me.

    • Manuel Orozco

      I loved Sky High too (seen twice) but I think he has what it takes.

    • brandon

      Who would you want instead of Mitchell?

      • But if it were up to me to look for a replacement to Rob, I’d probably go for Steve Martino. He showed his hand on underlying themes pretty well with The Peanuts Movie and Horton Hears a Who.

        • brandon

          That actually would have been a good choice.

          Still, I look forward to seeing what Mike Mitchell brings to the franchise. He’s not a strong ‘story’ director in the way that Martino and Lord/Miller are, but he could very well adapt to the LEGO movie ‘style’ of storytelling while bringing a slightly different energy to it.

        • Manuel Orozco

          I loved the Peanuts Movie too

    • Dave 52

      Well, Bob Waksberg (Bojack Horseman) is still re-writing the script by Phil Lord and Chris Miller. I think it all depends on whether or not Mitchell can translate the script to the big screen. From what I’ve read, Lord, Miller, and McKay are showing him the ropes on the franchise so maybe he can maintain that film’s original style while also bring some of his own.