Christopher McKay (born November 11, 1973), is an American filmmaker and animator. He is best known for directing and editing three seasons of Robot Chicken and two seasons of Moral Orel. He made his feature directorial debut with The Lego Batman Movie (2017), and has also directed The Tomorrow War (2021) and Renfield (2023).

Chris McKay
Chris McKay at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International
Christopher McKay

(1973-11-11) November 11, 1973 (age 50)
Alma materColumbia College Chicago
  • Filmmaker
  • animator
  • editor
Years active1995–present
Notable workRobot Chicken
The Lego Batman Movie
The Tomorrow War

Early life and education edit

McKay was born in Winter Park, Florida, but spent most of his childhood in Chicago, Illinois.[1] Growing up, McKay was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock films and decided to pursue film. He shot his earliest work on his parents' Super 8 film camera. McKay attended Southern Illinois University for two years as a film student, and completed his degree at Columbia College Chicago. While studying in Chicago, McKay attended his first film shoot for the 1989 comedy Uncle Buck.[1]

Career edit

In his early career McKay worked at several video and equipment rental companies. After purchasing production equipment of his own, he worked for three years shooting and editing music videos, industrial videos and local films. Then he started an editing job at a production company where he completed his first film 2wks, 1yr.[1] McKay started his career as an editor, after leaving that company he first edited a film of his friend, titled Kwik Stop.[1]

Television edit

In 2004, McKay moved to Los Angeles and landed an editing job at the animation studio ShadowMachine.[2] He started work on the first episode of Robot Chicken, a stop motion adult animated sketch comedy TV series created by Seth Green and Matthew Senreich. McKay created and voiced the series' first end title sequence.[1]

In 2006, McKay started work on animated series Moral Orel for Adult Swim, whose creator Dino Stamatopoulos said "really deserve[d] a producer credit" on the series, to which McKay replied that he would "really like to do is direct." He went on to direct episodes for the second and third seasons.[1]

His work on Moral Orel impressed Matt and Seth, who offered him to direct Robot Chicken and in 2007, McKay directed the third, fourth, and the fifth seasons of the series, aired on Adult Swim.[1][2]

In 2007, McKay worked as editor and visual effect artist on the special episode Robot Chicken: Star Wars with Seth, which aired on June 17, 2007. Then in 2008, he also worked on the Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II as co-producer and animation editor. In 2010, McKay directed and co-produced the final installment of the special episodes, Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III.[1]

In 2009, McKay co-produced and directed the complete first season of the animated sci-fi adventure series Titan Maximum on Cartoon Network.[1][2]

Film edit

In 2011, Warner Bros. hired McKay to join directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller on the live-action animated The Lego Movie to co-direct the film's animation,[3] the film was released domestically on February 7, 2014, and grossed over $468 million against a reported budget of $60 million.[4] While Lord and Miller were working on 22 Jump Street, they sent McKay to Australia to supervise all animation, editing, effects, lighting and rendering of The Lego Movie.[5]

In March 2014, Warner Bros. set McKay to direct the sequel to the 2014 hit The Lego Movie, which Lord and Miller would produce, and Michelle Morgan and Jared Stern would write.[6] On October 10, WB announced the spin-off film The Lego Batman Movie, pushing back The Lego Movie sequel and fast-tracking development. McKay directed The Lego Batman Movie, which was released on February 10, 2017.[7] Seth Grahame-Smith co-wrote the screenplay, while Will Arnett reprised the voice of Batman.[7]

In February 2015, Warner Bros. announced the development of a theatrical Adventure Time animated film adaptation, which would be produced and written by creator Pendleton Ward and produced by Roy Lee and McKay.[8] In March 2015, McKay signed a first-look deal for being a producer with Warner Bros.[9]

McKay is currently developing and is attached to direct Nightwing, as a part of the DC Extended Universe,[10] and is also set to direct an adaptation of Jonny Quest[11] as well as a sequel to The Lego Batman Movie titled Lego Superfriends.[12] However, Lego Superfriends was canceled following Universal's acquisition of the Lego film rights.[13] He, alongside Jon and Josh Silberman, was set to produce the live-action/animation film Coyote vs. Acme, based on Looney Tunes character Wile E. Coyote and directed by Dave Green.[14] However, he departed the project by December 2020.[15] In 2021, it was announced that McKay would replace Dexter Fletcher as director of the film Renfield, from a screenplay by Ryan Ridley from a pitch by Robert Kirkman.[16]

Filmography edit

Film edit



Executive producer


Year Title Notes
2002 2wks, 1yr
2020 Dolittle Writer for reshoots (Uncredited)[17]
2023 Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves Story only


  • It's Now... or NEVER! (1995)
  • 35 Miles from Normal (1998)
  • Stricken (1998)
  • Bullet on a Wire (1998)
  • Kwik Stop (2001)
  • 2wks, 1yr (2002)
  • The Lego Movie (2014) (Also animation co-director and supervisor)

Television edit

Year Title Director Producer Writer Notes
2006–2008 Moral Orel Yes Yes Yes 19 episodes (director);
33 episodes (producer);
1 episode (writer)
2007–2011 Robot Chicken Yes Yes No 42 episodes (director);
27 episodes (producer)
2009 Titan Maximum Yes Yes No 9 episodes (director);
9 episodes (producer)
2010 Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III Yes Yes No TV special

Technical credits

Year Title Animator Editor VFX artist Notes
2005–2009 Robot Chicken Yes Yes Yes 21 episodes (animation editor);
25 episodes (editor);
2 episodes (VFX artist)
2005–2007 Moral Orel Yes Yes Yes 2 episodes (animation editor);
15 episodes (editor);
1 episode (VFX artist)
2007 The Sarah Silverman Program No Yes No Episode "Batteries"
Robot Chicken: Star Wars No Yes Yes TV special
2009 Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II Yes No No
Titan Maximum Yes No Yes 7 episodes (animation editor);
5 episodes (title sequence design)

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Interview: Chris McKay [part 1]". Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c "Interview: Chris McKay [part 2]". Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  3. ^ McNary, Dave (November 11, 2011). "Warners greenlights 'Lego' feature". Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  4. ^ "The LEGO Movie (2014)". Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  5. ^ Sarto, Dan (February 10, 2014). "Supervising Animator Chris McKay Talks 'The LEGO Movie'". Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  6. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (March 12, 2014). "Warner Bros Builds 'Lego' Sequel With Chris McKay Directing". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Kit, Borys (October 10, 2014). "'Lego Batman' Spinoff Movie in the Works at Warner Bros. (Exclusive)". Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  8. ^ Busch, Anita (February 27, 2015). "Cartoon Network's 'Adventure Time' Heads To Big Screen At Warner Bros". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  9. ^ McNary, Dave (March 6, 2015). "'Lego Batman' Director Gets First-Look Deal at Warner Bros. (EXCLUSIVE)". Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  10. ^ Ford, Rebecca (February 23, 2017). "Warner Bros. Plotting Live-Action 'Nightwing' Movie With 'Lego Batman Movie' Director (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  11. ^ Zinski, Dan (November 8, 2018). "Jonny Quest Movie Lands LEGO Batman Director Chris McKay". Screen Rant. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  12. ^ Anderson, Jenna (December 5, 2018). "'LEGO Batman Movie 2' in the Works".
  13. ^ Motamayor, Rafael (June 14, 2021). "The Scrapped 'LEGO Batman' Sequel Was Being Written by Dan Harmon and Michael Waldron, and the Story Sounds Incredible". Collider. Retrieved June 14, 2021.
  14. ^ Donnelly, Matt (December 17, 2019). "Warner Bros.' Wile E. Coyote Movie Sets Dave Green to Direct (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
  15. ^ Rubin, Rebecca (December 23, 2020). "Warner Bros. to Release 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Prequel and 'The Color Purple' Musical in Theaters in 2023". Variety. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  16. ^ Kroll, Justin (April 13, 2021). "'Tomorrow War' Director Chris McKay Boards 'Renfield'; Universal's Latest Monster Movie Focused on Character From 'Dracula'". Deadline. Retrieved May 2, 2021.
  17. ^ Borys Kit (April 15, 2019). "'Ninja Turtles' Director Jonathan Liebesman Tackling 'Doctor Dolittle' Reshoots (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 9, 2020.

External links edit