What About A Live-Action Ninjago Movie?

This is quite an unpopular opinion, but I enjoyed The Lego Ninjago Movie. I really did. Even though the TV show is ultimately superior, the movie still has its entertainment value. It may have jettisoned a lot of lore in favor of a brand-new story, but it still worked in its own right.

Even so, what if there was an actual Ninjago movie? Like, one that was based on the TV show? Since we’ve gotten tons of movies based off of classic animated shows like Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear, Alvin And The Chipmunks, Shaun The Sheep, Spongebob, who knows? Maybe in twenty years, someone in Hollywood might make a live-action Ninjago movie.

But if you were making a Ninjago movie, how would you do it? Would you base it off of the pilot season, or one of the later seasons, or would you try to come up with a new story? What type of tone would you go for? How would you market it? And what other crazy ideas would you try to incorporate?


I’d make it accurate to the TV Show. In my opinion, one if the biggest mistakes the LEGO Ninjago Movie made was having no connection with the TV Show whatsover, and the characters which felt nothing like the original ones.

the whole point of it being a reboot was so that it could be a jumping on point for new fans

also probably because they wanted to have more creative control


I can get behind why they wanted to make it more like a reboot, but the Movie felt pretty much nothing like the show. It’s like the writers of the Movie knew nothing about the show and they were just told to do a story about Ninjas.

Never liked the sound that tbh.

I enjoyed it too. You just have to look at it as it’s own separate thing from the show. The only real downside is the movie’s effect on the show, with Garmadon’s death in Season 4 being completely pointless because he just gets resurrected again, and most seasons being unbearably Lloyd-focused.

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Well…that’s kind of my idea of a live-action Ninjago movie. One that’s directly based off of the TV show. And if such a thing were to happen, well, there’s no chance they can squeeze every season of the show into one movie. So they’d need a whole bunch of movies. And what better place to start than the pilot season? Then there’d be a Rise Of The Snakes movie, and Legacy Of The Green Ninja, and Rebooted, and Tournament Of Elements, and Possession, and Skybound, and Day Of The Departed, and Hands Of Time, and Sons Of Garmadon, and Hunted, and March Of The Oni, and Secrets Of The Forbidden Spinjitzu (though that one might have to be a two-parter), and Prime Empire, and Master Of The Mountain.

Which would add up to sixteen movies. Whoa.

In any case, I’m sure they’d at least start by adapting the earlier seasons. And I wouldn’t be surprised if they cut out Day Of The Departed and figured out some other way to turn Cole back into a human.

Back when the Lego Message Boards were still a thing, I saw one topic about a Ninjago movie, and how people hoped it would be live action. Someone said they thought Logan Lerman should play Cole. Back then, I thought it was a pretty good casting choice. But of course, Cole and the other ninja are said to be teenagers, and Logan Lerman is now 28.

Still, I can’t help wondering what the cast for a live-action Ninjago movie would look like. My knowledge of teenage/young adult actors is rather limited, so I can’t really make a fancast for the main ninja characters (though, for the record, if Rachel McAdams was 20 years younger, I think she could do a good job as Harumi). But for the other characters…maybe Jackie Chan could reprise his role as Sensei Wu. We could probably have a comedic actor playing Dareth, and a more serious actor-like, say, Josh Brolin or Benedict Cumberbatch-as Lord Garmadon. Feel free to add your own casting choices…

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There is literally no reason to make anything Lego into live-action. Live-action is not inherently better than animation; in fact, it’s usually worse. Any Ninjago movie from here on out should focus on…y’know, not sucking like the Ninjago narrative has up to now. The movie was a disaster not because it diverged from the show, but because most of the characters got no development and the main plot thread was painfully inconsistent. The show at least has more than 2 characters, ■■■■■■!

Scrap everything about the lore and characters and start from scratch. Keep the gist of their personalities the same, but give them something to actually have an arc for. I don’t think a movie is the best medium to do this; it’d be better to have a (not ■■■■) TV series that could focus on character arcs as A- and B-plots in greater detail. Like, for example, take Zane–he’s a ■■■■ robot, so let’s have an episode where he learns that that’s why he’s so weird, and then for the rest of that season, focus on him coming to terms with it and questioning whether he even counts as a person. Maybe make him feud with Jay, who messes with him the most. Stuff like that. And make Garmadon a good villain for once! Sweet Jesus, he’s sucked up to now!

EDIT: Why was this even flagged? I don’t know what to change about this post!


That’s not what I’m saying?

The point of this topic isn’t to say that live action is better than animation; it’s to present ideas of how to adapt animation into live action-preferably NOT in the same way that Yogi Bear and Alvin And The Chipmunks were.

The show kind of already did that. It had the twist of Zane being a robot, and then for the next several seasons, he tried to come to terms with it and fit in with the other ninja, who in turn started to accept him for who he was. Which, well, to quote another topic…

Yeah. Pretty much this.

I dunno…he always felt unique to me. He presents himself as this power-hungry warlord, but he actually doesn’t want to be evil-he just has evil corrupting his spirit. He cares about his son, but he’s given in to being a destroyer, even though he doesn’t like it. And of course, all that helps him to be redeemed. Makes total sense to me. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if an upcoming season has Garmadon being redeemed once more.

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Here is a video about how a live-action Ninjago could be that I found on YouTube:

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Nor am I saying it is. My point is that the conversation begins and ends at “it shouldn’t go live-action.” If it happens, the movie will probably be a terrible cashgrab anyway and all hope is lost, because–let’s be real–this is Hollywood we’re talking here.

I don’t think the show went far enough. It should have been a serious struggle for him from the moment he found out, but he seemed relatively chill (heh) with it by the end of the episode. It created some conflicts later on, but I didn’t buy how little trauma it caused him. If that happened to a real person, it would potentially drive them insane. Obviously, Zane can’t lose his mind and devote himself to Nyarlathotep or anything, but I think if he clearly went through greater adversity and took longer to get through it, his “true potential” would be earned.

Which is a terrible premise for a villain, at least with how he’s written. He does bad things not because of his beliefs or choices, but because he can’t stop himself. If he were written more like, idk, Bruce Banner, this could work–but he’s not. This is a cop-out “motive” for him.

Of course, when I said that, I was more thinking about the movie, where his personality is wildly inconsistent, but the movie was a bleedin’ mistake in any case.


I mean, sure, real Hollywood would most likely treat it as a cash-grab opportunity. But the point of this topic is for us to express our wishful thinking of what an actual, good live-action Ninjago movie would be like.

Well, Zane’s not a “real person” if he’s a robot, is he? :stuck_out_tongue:

Movie Garmadon felt like a mashup of Lord Business and Batman from the first Lego Movie, at least to me. But TV show Garmadon was, I think, a better-written villain.

I don’t know about the Bruce Banner comparison. I always thought Garmadon was more like Darth Vader; he was consumed by darkness and was pushed to do evil things, but deep down, he knows that he’s doing wrong. Because of this, he hates himself and tries to break down the foundation of his belief. In that way, he’s embraced his own villainy.

But you want a villain with bad motivation? Here you are:


Von Nebula was, in many respects, a cool villain for the first wave of Hero Factory; he had an awesome design, and his personality was threatening. But his backstory prevents him from being an actual “good” villain. He used to be an actual Hero, until he was on a mission with Stormer and Thresher, and he bailed on said mission. This was what turned him evil? Uh…no. I can’t buy that.

With Stormer feeling bad, I can kind of understand. He was probably wondering where he went wrong in training Von Ness/Von Nebula. But how does that make Von Nebula hate Stormer so much? If he had other stuff happen to him after he abandoned Hero Factory, maybe, but the show didn’t present any evidence of this.

Also-I actually laughed when I saw the thumbnail for this video. Turning Will Smith’s Genie orange to match Nadakhan? Hilarious. Even if Will Smith would be a poor casting choice for Nadakhan…


Fair enough, though I still consider a live-action switch rather meritless.

I wasn’t sure what to compare him to. You made it sound like he’s supposed to be a villain who doesn’t try or want to do bad things, but is ultimately forced to go against his beliefs. Vader is gradually conditioned into accepting Sidious’s philosophy (though the prequels are so poorly-written that it doesn’t come across well), so I guess I misunderstood what you were trying to get across. Still, Vader in the OT was perfectly fine so my own point is still valid.

I’ve been thinking about what this would look like for years, and yet I came up with nothing.

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This. It’d be a reboot, but with characterization and setting more inspired by the very early days.


  • Some sort of conflict with Garmadon at the end - they don’t have to defeat him necessarily, but the way he just walks through Samukai the Portal at the end is super anti-climactic.
  • Keep Cole’s character in line with the more grounded, consistent person we met in this season, rather than just being a dumping ground for anything that doesn’t fit the other ninja.
  • Jay should be the only one who is consistently cracking obnoxious jokes / acting super teenager-ey. I don’t mind this, but it gets tiring when pretty much the entire human cast of ninja are doing it.
  • More orientally-inspired. If we’re going to do Exo-Force again, then we do Exo-Force, but none of this half-baked stuff. Other than the skeletons having some underworld-related technologies (potentially), keep it more traditional. Doesn’t have to be set in literal, real-world Japan though - it can still be “the land of Ninjago”.
  • Zane should be a human.
  • I’m ok if Nya’s water ninja arc wants to be brought forward a bit, but not sure about that.
  • Garmadon needs to be completely reworked as a character, he’s been revived so many times and had so many personality shifts that he is an absolute mess. You can keep the broad strokes, but thematic consolidation is vitally necessary with this guy.
  • You can maybe forshadow Lloyd for a potential sequel, but he presents so many problems for the story that you’d have to really be clever when introducing him.
  • Keep Kruncha and Knuckle, they were great. :stuck_out_tongue:

Of course, none of this demands live action, but Ninjago is one of the very few franchises I can name that could feasibly benefit from it.


What’s wrong with him being a robot? As I said in a previous post, his arc of coming to terms with being a robot was handled pretty well.


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If you’re going for a more typical ninja setting, with only the underworld having technology in any sense, Zane being a robot doesn’t fit. (Unless maybe he was designed by Samukai or something…)


I mean… that connection already exists… kinda. Zane’s creator is Samukai’s vehicle designer.


But he was also just a regular guy, who built Zane before Samukai got ahold of him. The skullkin didn’t help him make Zane.

Julien could work, though; say, he was given the tech to make vehicles for the skeletons, but secretly used some to make Zane.


Yeah, I think that could be a good backstory.