The Lego Ninjago Movie comes to theaters this weekend, and fans know just what to expect. But for anyone who isn't familiar with the larger Ninjago story might wonder what the film is all about.

While The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie included a toybox full of recognizable pop culture characters, the general audience isn't familiar with this new property. In fact, Lego Ninjago is actually a popular TV series that spun off info video games, merchandise and comic books.

The Origin: 'Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu'

'Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu' [Credit: Cartoon Network]
'Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu' [Credit: Cartoon Network]

It all comes back to Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu, a cartoon that aired on Cartoon Network for seven seasons, including a pilot season and multiple TV specials. That's all before the release of a feature-length film. In fact, an eighth season is even being released later this year. The movie, however, took a lot of liberties with the story and only loosely followed the lore set up by the show.

The pilot season establishes Sensei Wu training four teenage ninja in an ancient battle art called Spinjitzu. Kai (Fire), Jay (Lightning), Cole (Earth) and Zane (Ice) made up the original ninja quartet. Sensei Wu and the ninja were focused on stopping the evil Lord Garmadon from collecting the powerful four Golden Weapons of Spinjitzu. Spoiler: Garmadon is actually Wu's evil brother and Kai is the central character of the show. (The movie changes up those plot points.)

Lloyd Garmadon in 'Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu' [Credit: Cartoon Network]
Lloyd Garmadon in 'Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu' [Credit: Cartoon Network]

The pilot season was so popular that the show got a sequel and a full season called “Rise of the Snakes”. This is where the young Lloyd Garmadon is thrown into the mix, who starts off as a whiny little kid who is trying to live in his evil father's footsteps. Sensei Wu and the ninjas convince Lloyd to join their side; eventually they discover that Lloyd is the chosen one: the Green Ninja.

The second season ended with Lloyd completing his training and becoming the Golden Ninja, defeating the Overlord (the season's big bad) and saving his father from the darkness in the process.

The pilot season and the two seasons that follow comprise the run of Masters of Spinjitzu most beloved by fans. The second season had a solid and satisfying ending, but due to the show's ever-growing popularity, it was was put back on the air with Season 3: Rebooted.

After the reboot season the show became a lot more high-tech and modern, deviating from its roots. Nevertheless, the cartoon still has a massive following and a huge mythology that keeps on growing.

How Will 'The Lego Ninjago Movie' Connect To The Lego Cinematic Universe?

If you look closely, you can see the Green Ninja [Credit: Warner Bros]
If you look closely, you can see the Green Ninja [Credit: Warner Bros]

The Lego Ninjago Movie is practically a reboot of The Lego Movie. Even so, it looks like Lloyd Garmadon and the rest of the Lego Ninjago cast will become an essential part of the cinematic universe Warner Bros is building with Legos. But how will it be connected?

In an interview with Collider, producers Dan Lin and Chris McKay were being asked about the future of the Lego cinematic universe. While they didn't touch upon any future projects, they briefly discussed The Lego Movie 2.

We are going to The Lego Movie 2. The team is all back together, so it’s [Phil] Lord and [Chris] Miller, myself and Chris McKay. Mike Mitchell is the new voice who’s coming in to direct the movie. Chris and Phil are rewriting the script right now, but we’re in production. We’re picking up where the first movie left us, where the Duplo have now come and they’re attacking Bricksburg. It’s several years later, and you’re going to see the result of that.

Considering on how The Lego Ninjago Movie performs, we may or may not see a sequel in the future. However, The lego Movie 2 could see characters from this movie and The Lego Batman Movie return. When attending the San Diego Comic-Con panel for The Lego Ninjago Movie, it was clear that Warner Bros is bent on creating a cinematic universe tying all of these films together, and moving forward with even more.

Given that, it's likely that we'll see a film combining all these characters into one story. Think of it like this: if The Lego Movie is Iron Man, The Lego Batman Movie is Captain America: The First Avenger and The Lego Ninjago Movie is Thor, then we should expect an Avengers team-up movie shortly after The Lego Movie 2 is released.

(Source: Collider)