LeBron James Is Officially Starring in ‘Space Jam 2’
The sequel to the 1996 Michael Jordan/Bugs Bunny original has a “Black Panther” connection, too.
We were sure this was a done deal, but it’s truly official now: LeBron James will step into Michael Jordan’s shoes once again. Not as the greatest living basketball superstar, but as Bugs Bunny’s co-star in Space Jam 2. If that’s old news, then the fact that Black Panther director Ryan Coogler is involved is not.
King James retweeted The Hollywood Reporter‘s reveal below.
In his first project since directing the record-breaking #BlackPanther, Ryan Coogler is teaming with @KingJames on the anticipated follow-up to the Michael Jordan-Bugs Bunny hit 'Space Jam' https://t.co/H7mcBUL39q
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) September 19, 2018
Coogler is had a golden touch with Black Panther, setting box office records right and left.
The Hollywood Reporter has more on just how stoked James is regarding Coogler’s role in producing the sequel, for obvious reasons:
“I loved his vision” for Black Panther, James tells The Hollywood Reporter, noting that when he was a kid growing up in Akron, Ohio, there were no black superheroes. “So for Ryan to be able to bring that to kids, it’s amazing.”
Space Jam has been long-rumored, with various directors and writers attached to the project over the years, including at one point Justin Lin, the action auteur behind the Fast & Furious movies. (Lin remains an executive producer.)
The movement on the project coincides with James’ recent surge in Hollywood film and TV projects as a producer. Just last week, NBC and The CW announced separate shows in development with James’ SpringHill Entertainment.
The first Space Jam became a pop culture touchstone. The 1996 cult classic was a box office hit and put a new shine on Warner Brothers’ cartoon franchise, giving Bugs Bunny and other characters a new life, leading to several reboots featuring the likes of Bugs and Daffy Duck.
The first movie also provided one of the most oddball online artifacts out there: its original website, published in 1996. Every link still works and clicking through gives a great look at what most of the web looked like 22 years ago. (Spoiler: It looked bad.)
The Hollywood Reporter notes that “subtext of a James-headlined Space Jam sequel is the raging GOAT debate between James (who still has years left in the NBA) and Jordan (who has six NBA championships), players with pronounced personality differences.”
That’s certainly true. James has proven, for a pro athlete, to be an unusually able and often funny performer onscreen, whereas Jordan… wasn’t.
We’ll see if the King meets his movie match in Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig and the rest when Space Jam 2 is in theaters sometime in 2019.