Universal Opens Hero Factory

Planning their own Lego movie

There's already a Lego movie underway at Warner Bros, but, sticking with the toy theme in spite of Battleship, Universal are now getting in on the block-rocking action. The studio is developing a movie based on Lego's Hero Factory line. Predators writers Michael Finch and Alex Litvak are in talks to put the screenplay together.

The Hero Factory emerged from the ashes of the Bionicles, which Lego discontinued in 2010. Like that earlier range, it's a series of toys and playsets that arrives more-or-less intact, not requiring the brick-based assembly of classic Lego. The set-up is in Makuhero City (see what they did there?) in a galaxy far, far away, where giant robots are built to take on monstrous intergalactic villains.

The factory has a storage facility where the baddies are imprisoned (like Lego Titans in a Lego Tartarus, or something), until everything goes awry and there's a breakout. But it turns out that that's just a distraction, and the dastardly Von Nebular has stayed behind to bring the factory down with his black hole staff. The rotter!

It's all pretty distinct from the Warner film, which is being constructed by the Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs team of Phil Lord and Chris Miller. That one's thought to be a family-friendly mix of live-action and animation, while Hero Factory will be aiming more for a Transformers vibe. Finch and Litvak are no strangers to toy franchise movies, having previously taken a shot at the long-in-the-works new Masters Of The Universe.

Deals are still being worked on, so there's no official start date or green light so far. Mark Hamill voiced Von Nebular for an animated TV mini-series. Whether he'll be the subject of a Peter Cullen-type fan campaign remains to be seen. Hey let's start one now!