Last month, Warner Bros. and TT Games announced Year 2 expansion plans for LEGO Dimensions, with another 16 franchises due to join the game: The A-Team, Adventure Time, Beetlejuice, ET, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Ghostbusters (2016), The Goonies, Gremlins, Harry Potter, Knight Rider, The LEGO Batman Movie, LEGO City Undercover, Mission: Impossible, The Powerpuff Girls, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Teen Titans Go. It’s certainly looking like an exciting year ahead, but what’s most fascinating about the announcement is that of all the new properties, just five have any previous association with LEGO; more than two thirds of these are fresh inductees into the world of LEGO.
It shows even further commitment to the bizarre mash-up of worlds that made LEGO Dimensions’ original release so great. Most of the 14 worlds at launch where expected LEGO properties like Ninjago and The LEGO Movie and established crossover franchises like DC Comics and The Lord of the Rings, but there were also a few that came completely out of left field: The Wizard of Oz, Portal 2, and Midway Arcade. What’s becoming increasingly apparent is that even more-so than with the standard LEGO video game franchise, Warner Bros. and TT Games are willing to bring just about any license into LEGO Dimensions that they can get their hands on.
That means that the possibilities for future expansions beyond Year 2 are pretty much limitless, and that is a very exciting prospect, even more than the pending introduction of Adventure Time and The Powerpuff Girls into the LEGO universe. So where could LEGO Dimensions go next?
1. Star Wars, Marvel, and Disney / Pixar
I’m grouping these three together because, until recently, they were the three properties that seemed off-limits to LEGO Dimensions, being the cornerstones of Disney’s own toys-to-life game, Disney Infinity. Well, now that Disney Infinity is being discontinued, that rather significant roadblock has been removed.
Of course, it might still be tricky for Warner Bros to get such a deal across. It would potentially devalue the existing Disney Infinity stock even further, and would severely hamper any plans that Disney might have to revisit the toys-to-life space in the future. That said, Star Wars and Marvel are both properties that have been key LEGO licenses, both in terms of video games and toys, and the last few months have seen Disney and LEGO cross over in the LEGO Minifigures and LEGO Friends ranges. LEGO Dimensions has already proven to be successful, and licensing out its flagship properties would give Disney a lucrative but safe corner in the toys-to-life market.
2. Steven Universe
Steven Universe would be perfect for LEGO Dimensions for the same reasons that Adventure Time is: it’s a strange, quirky cartoon that’s full of heart, which manages to be appealing to both kids and adults without condescending to either. It’s fun, silly, and full of adventure, but with some of the most interesting, complex, delightful characters you’ll find in any TV show, cartoon or otherwise. Between the beautifully outlandish ruins that the Crystal Gems explore and the captivating character arcs, there is the framework here for a wonderful Level Pack, while the show’s fantastic characters and strange alien artifacts would make for amazing Fun Packs and Team Packs.
That Scooby-Doo, Adventure Time, and The Powerpuff Girls are already present in LEGO Dimensions shows that TT Games and Cartoon Network already have some sort of dialogue going, so it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to get Steven Universe as well, and what a great fit it would be.
3. LEGO Pirates
There’s a lot of focus in LEGO games on licensed properties, and LEGO Dimensions is no different, but I think people tend to overlook the value of LEGO’s original themes. I can’t say I’ve ever really paid much attention to LEGO Chima or LEGO Ninjago, but these both brought very interesting ideas to play that would otherwise have gone untapped. Of Year 2’s 16 new additions, there’s only one that isn’t based on a third-party license, LEGO City Undercover, and that’s a bit of a shame.
There are plenty of options that would be an easy fit—Bionicle, Ultra Agents, and Nexo Knights spring to mind—but the one I’d really like to see is LEGO Pirates. The pirate fantasy is timeless, but there’s nothing in LEGO Dimensions currently that really taps into it. Moreover, it has a long and storied history within the LEGO brand. Originally released in 1989, Pirates was the first new theme to be introduced after the three core themes, Town, Castle, and Space, came out in 1978. It was the first theme to include firearm accessories, non-standard faces for minifigures, and unique building elements like those used for the hulls of pirate ships—all things that are now commonplace in LEGO. Being added to LEGO Dimensions would be a great celebration of that history.
4. Final Fantasy
If Nanoblock can have Dragon Quest and Pokemon, then LEGO can have Final Fantasy, dammit. It’s a powerhouse of a franchise, and one not typically associated with LEGO, which could help LEGO Dimensions to “break the rules” even more and find a wider audience in the process. The issue would be narrowing it down to something sizable. Final Fantasy is such a sizeable franchise that even cutting it down to five or six packs—a lot for a single franchise, by LEGO Dimensions standards—would be a difficult exercise. My answer? Skip characters entirely, and focus on iconic recurring creatures like chocobos, cactuars, tonberries, and summoned monsters.
Square Enix is far from opposed to such collaborative projects; we’ve seen Final Fantasy characters in Puzzle & Dragons, Super Smash Bros., LittleBigPlanet, and even in a Louis Vitton ad campaign. Final Fantasy isn’t as natural a fit for LEGO Dimensions as some of the others on this list, but if done right, it could be a great addition.
5. Jem and the Holograms
Jem and the Holograms would fit into LEGO Dimensions beautifully. It’s bright and colourful, full of great music, travels down outrageous storylines with regularity, and has some of the best character designs this world has been graced with. It is, in my eyes, the epitome of fun (in terms of tone), and that’s something that LEGO games have always thrived on.
The big question would be about which version of Jem to use: the original cartoon from the ’80s, or the IDW comic reboot? My vote goes to the comics, of course—these versions of the characters are the ones I first met and fell in love with—but a LEGO Dimensions Jem would, I think, cross both eras. Some sort of time travel plot that brings new and old Jem and co. into contact with each other would fit right into LEGO Dimensions, and would be a great opportunity to have playsets based on both versions of the property.
6. Indiana Jones
I’m genuinely surprised that Indiana Jones hasn’t already found a place within LEGO Dimensions. One of the earliest games in Traveller’s Tales’ LEGO series was LEGO Indiana Jones, so there’s precedent. Although Disney owns the property, it never appeared in Disney Infinity, so there’d have been less concern about “sleeping with the enemy” even before that series was cancelled. Indiana Jones itself is a lighthearted, pulpy action adventure franchise, the kind that could be brought into a LEGO game with almost no need for adaptation of plot and characters.
With a new film on the way, there’ll be plenty of opportunity in the coming years for marketing tie-ins, too. If TT Games can get Disney on side for Beetlejuice, surely they can get Indiana Jones. And if they can somehow get Star Wars as well, we can look forward to some great Harry meets Harry moments with both Indy and Han Solo, like Chris Pratt’s doubling up with Emmett and whoever his character was from that awful Jurassic whatever it was.
I can’t see this ever actually happening, and even if it did, it’d almost definitely be some sort of Wii U – exclusive like the appearances of Donkey Kong and Bowser in Skylanders SuperChargers. But still, we can dream. How great would it be to have Mario, Link, Princess Zelda, Samus Aran, and Kirby in LEGO Dimensions? This could even follow the Skylanders model and have minifigs that double as amiibo.
Nintendo is sitting on a goldmine with its library of iconic characters, and its right in being wary with licensing deals (we don’t want Mario and Zelda to turn into Spyro and Crash, do we?) but LEGO Dimensions could be a safe way of just testing the waters for a potential Nintendo x LEGO toy collaboration—something that would be huge.
8. Bob’s Burgers
Even six seasons in, Bob’s Burgers is the rare kind of TV show that seems to get incrementally better with every new episode. It’s also the rare kind of adult-oriented cartoon that does away with the “edgy” humour of shows like South Park and Family Guy, and instead manages to draw humour from the antics of its lovably weird main characters the bizarre happenings of their daily life.
Bob’s Burgers is a great fit for LEGO Dimensions for the same reasons as The Simpsons: a small but iconic core cast; a setting that’s small but full of memorable locations, great for building a level around; and an established framework for the kind of short-form stories that make for the delightful, bite-sized narrative pieces that LEGO Dimensions is built upon. If that’s not a compelling argument, just imagine a Tina Belcher fun pack, complete with her imaginary horse, Jericho, as her accompanying vehicle.
9. Jane the Virgin
This is probably the most outlandish suggestion on this list, and I’ll admit that my main reason for including is it because I freaking love this show so damn much. That said, I think it could be an interesting fit for LEGO Dimensions precisely because of how ill-fitting it may seem at first glance.
LEGO Dimensions, and all the franchises it incorporates, are adventuresome and fantastical—full of problems to solve and bad guys to take out, they’re the kind of things that are easy to build game levels around.
Jane the Virgin, on the other hand, has conflicts that are much more situational and interpersonal, which aren’t typically what you find in games—especially those like LEGO Dimensions—and that’s a shame. A level following Jane’s daily life, balancing the needs of her son, her job, and her schooling amidst the eccentricities of her family would be a great level, bringing together the unique senses of humour from Jane the Virgin and the LEGO games, as well as being and a chance to tell a story that isn’t quite so adversarial.
At the same time, Jane the Virgin is patently ridiculous, and full of the kinds of bizarre storylines that would fit wonderfully into a more traditional game setting. Imagine a level that has players trying to track down Sin Rostro, or playing through an adventure within the context of one of Rogelio’s telenovelas.
OK, sure, maybe I just want a Jane Villanueva minifig, and to be able to run around in a little LEGO version of Miami, the Marbella, and Jane’s house. But it’d be a neat LEGO Dimensions set or two as well, and TT Games haven’t exactly shied away from unusual ideas up until now.
10. Iron Maiden
With the new announcements for Year 2, LEGO Dimensions has properties from LEGO itself, other video games, films, cartoons, and TV shows—why not add music to the mix? And if you’re going to use music as the basis for a LEGO Dimensions set, what better choice is there than Iron Maiden?
For starters, it’s one of the all-time great metal bands. But more than that, it’s a band that has built itself up as much from the imagery of its records, and the stories they tell, as from the music itself. Few artists have even just one mascot as iconic as Eddie, let alone all the different variations of him that there are. Between zombie Eddie, mummy Eddie, cyborg Eddie, evil cloud Eddie, soldier Eddie, Nosferatu-like Eddie, and all the other Eddies that have graced album covers, this one character alone could account for the full span of Iron Maiden playsets. The fantastical settings seen in album art and described within songs would also lend itself to some amazing level design.
Moreover, Iron Maiden hits the same kind of target that TT Games are clearly going for with the likes of Knight Rider, The A-Team, Ghostbusters, and Back to the Future. These are all nostalgia-heavy sets that are quite clearly aimed more at the older market, but that are timeless enough to be enjoyed by kids coming in with fresh eyes, and an Iron Maiden set would be the same.
With LEGO Dimensions, the skies the limit when it comes to potential additions to the line-up of properties involved. The original release already showed a willingness to reach out into unexplored licensing spaces, and that’s something that TT Games have doubled down on with Year 2 plans. So, as exciting as the next year of LEGO Dimensions is looking, I’m even more excited about what the following years (decades? Let’s hope) have in store.
What properties would you like to see join LEGO Dimensions?