Space Jam 2 is finally happening, and LeBron James is indeed taking Michael Jordan’s place in the role of NBA player saving the cartoon world.
James’ SpringHill entertainment announced on Wednesday that the live action/cartoon feature starring Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny is indeed getting another installment in the basketball/cartoon universe. The original Space Jam, released in 1996, quickly became beloved among sports fans. The plot centered around a retired Jordan, playing minor league baseball, getting kidnapped by and later helping the Looney Toons win a basketball game against The Monstars, who have stolen their basketball powers from some of the NBA’s best players (and Shawn Bradley). Fans had long clamored for a sequel, and when James started appearing in movies the heavy speculation was that he could take over the franchise now that Jordan is in retirement for good.
Earlier in the year, SpringHill caused some speculation when it posted an image of the original Space Jam movie’s website, which to this day remains active on the web. And on Wednesday, SpringHill’s Twitter account posted a picture of a locker room with nameplates for James, Bugs and the director and producer for the movie, a clear indication that the highly-anticipated sequel to the beloved basketball movie is a go.
According to the graphic, Terence Nance is slated to direct and Ryan Coogler will produce the film. Locker room graffiti also indicates that Looney Toons characters Daffy Duck, Lola Bunny, Marvin the Martian and Tweety Bird will also appear in the film in some way. All were characters on the Toon Squad in the original film, so it makes sense that they all reprise their roles in some way.
Coogler, who scored big earlier in 2018 when he directed Black Panther, is a huge get for the project. And indeed, The Hollywood Reporter said on Wednesday that Coogler has been attached to the picture, “tentatively” scheduled to shoot in the summer of 2019. James, who spoke publicly about the importance of Black Panther to people of color shortly after the film’s release, raved about Coogler and his involvement to the publication.
Getting Coogler, whose films also include Creed and Fruitvale Station, is a coup. The director is among the industry’s most sought-after artists. Not only did Black Panther break ground as a superhero movie from a black perspective with a black cast, but it has set a number of box office benchmarks on its way to grossing $1.34 billion worldwide – including becoming the highest grossing film by a black director.
“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.”