The Lego Batman Movie tells the very simple story of Bruce Wayne learning how to make new friends, a very familiar setup for anyone who’s ever read a Batman comic. Despite being the DC superhero least interested in mentoring a sidekick, Batman has become famous for taking orphans and miscreants under his wing. In Lego Batman, Alfred tells Bruce that his deepest fear is not snake-clowns, but the feeling of belonging to a family again. Luckily for Batman, the Bat Family has always been integral to his story.
The following contains spoilers for ‘The Lego Batman Movie’.
After their first mission together, Commissioner Barbara Gordon, Dick Grayson, and Alfred Pennyworth all demand to be Bruce’s team of backup vigilantes. Robin actually goes through several transformations in the movie, beginning his sidekick career by trying on several of Bruce’s extra costumes, doing a quick stint as Nightwing, and finally settling back into his glittery Robin costume. Barbara fights in plainclothes until she’s given her costume, and Alfred only changes into a costume during a fight.
The Robin costume switch is a fun little in-joke for Bat Family fans who know that Bruce Wayne has adopted and trained a veritable boys’ choir of Robins. Dick Grayson, the young Robin in Lego Batman, eventually becomes Nightwing in the comics, and he’s followed in the Robin suit by Jason Todd (who becomes Red Hood), Tim Drake (eventually Red Robin), Stephanie Brown (who becomes Batgirl, and then Spoiler), Carrie Kelly (from Frank Miller’s Dark Knight books), and Bruce’s son Damian.
The movie’s altered Barbara Gordon, who in the Legoverse takes over the police commissioner job from her father, is unhappy with being called Batgirl, but she dons the classic, purple and yellow ‘60s costume all the same. “If I’m Batgirl, can I call you Batboy?” she asks, but Bruce doesn’t respond.
Batgirl has a long history of her own, beginning with Robin’s first love interest Betty Kane, followed by Barbara Gordon, Cassandra Cain, Helena Bertinelli (who eventually became Huntress), Charlie Gage-Radcliffe (who became Misfit), and former Robin Stephanie Brown (who carried the Batgirl title until becoming Spoiler). The Legoverse’s Batgirl is so far removed from canon at this point that it’s a fool’s errand to try and apply comics canon to her; she’s an adult, trained in detective work and combat at “Harvard for Police,” and comes to work in Gotham after a long stint in Bludhaven.
Alfred, aka Gotham
Alfred has been a staple in Batman comics since the beginning, raising an orphaned Bruce while simultaneously working as his employee, live-in maid, butler, and chef. He doesn’t don a cowl until the Batman: Rebirth comics, and even then, only does it temporarily, to help Bruce act like he’s in two places at once.
The blue and gray costume donned by Lego Alfred looks a lot like the one worn by new superhero Gotham, aka Henry Clover Jr., who currently appears in Batman Rebirth comics, and Detective Comics. There’s no telling whether that parallel was intentional, but a possible Lego Batman sequel could confirm DC’s plans either way.
The Lego Batman Movie hits theaters on February 10.