The 27-year-old star of Superbad and Scott Pilgrim vs the World will join Will Arnett, who is returning in the role of the gruff-voiced caped crusader. Chris McKay, animation supervisor on The Lego Movie, is taking the director’s reins on the spin-off, which is based on a screenplay by Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter’s Seth Grahame-Smith.
It will be Robin’s first appearance on film since 1997’s ill-fated Batman and Robin, which torpedoed Chris O’Donnell’s film career and is considered one of the biggest turkeys of all time. Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises paid homage to the character with Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s John Blake, whose legal name is revealed to be Robin in the denouement of the movie. But the boy wonder has otherwise been absent from the Batman big-screen canon in recent times.
It is not clear from reports whether Cera will play the more famous Dick Grayson iteration of Robin, or a new version. The Lego Movie spent very little time delving into the back story of its toy versions of Batman, Han Solo, Superman et al, relying rather on its audience’s knowledge of the characters.
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who wrote and directed The Lego Movie, have become the toast of Hollywood and were recently announced as the film-making team behind a new Star Wars spin-off film detailing the early adventures of Solo. They will be producers on Lego Batman, which is due for release in 2017. A sequel to The Lego Movie, titled The Lego Movie Sequel, is also on the Warner Bros slate. Both films could be beaten into multiplexes by Lego Ninjago, a film based on the popular martial arts-themed construction toys.
Cera, who has recently made a tentative move behind the camera for the YouTube short films channel Jash, is also in line to direct and star in a new film. He has optioned the 1985 novel Masters of Atlantis, by True Grit author Charles Portis, for which he will write the screenplay. The book concerns a cult known as the Gnomons who believe that the mythical underwater city exists in reality. Cera will also star in Sausage Party, Superbad creators Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s forthcoming animated comedy about a group of lost food items in a supermarket who are trying to return to their aisles in time for the fourth of July holiday.