Warner Bros. and HBO Max have released the first trailer for “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” the sequel to the blockbuster 1996 comedy that featured NBA superstars alongside Looney Tunes characters. Stepping into Michael Jordan’s kicks this time around is LeBron James, who spearheaded the title’s return under his production company SpringHill Entertainment. Though he played a comedic role in Amy Schumer’s “Trainwreck,” “Space Jam 2” marks his first foray into leading man territory, where he plays a fictionalized version of himself in the live-action/animated sports comedy.
“Girls Trip” director Malcolm D. Lee is helming the production after taking over from “Random Acts of Flyness” creator Terence Nance. The departure was said to be “amicable,” with both parties citing creative differences. While Lee is perhaps the more obvious choice, having proven himself a shrewd helmer of blockbuster comedies, Nance’s surrealist, stream-of-consciousness style could have added a fresh creative energy to the rebooted franchise.
The original “Space Jam” featured star turns from Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Shawn Bradley, Larry Johnson, and an especially scene-stealing Muggsy Bogues. James is the only basketball player taking center stage in “Space Jam 2,” where he’ll be joined by actors Don Cheadle, Khris Davis, Sonequa Martin-Green, and Cedric Joe in live-action roles.
“Space Jam 2” will feature cameo appearances by NBA players Klay Thompson, Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, Draymond Green, and Kyle Kuzma, as well as WNBA players Diana Taurasi, Nneka Ogwumike and Chiney Ogwumike.
It also features Looney Tunes characters such as Daffy Duck, Marvin the Martian, and Tweety (all voiced by Eric Bauza), as well as Bugs Bunny, Sylvester and Yosemite Sam (Jeff Bergman), Lola Bunny (Kath Soucie), and Speedy Gonzales (Gabriel Iglesias).
“Space Jam 2” caused a stir recently when Warner Bros. debuted a new character look for Lola Bunny. In an interview, Lee said he realized how “not politically correct” the original character was. “Space Jam 2” will be reimagining her character as just another teammate whose strength and athletic skills are her most notable assets.
James has been charting course for a successful producing career since launching his production company SpringHill Entertainment in 2014. Most recently, he produced the Octavia Spencer-starring Netflix limited series “Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker.”
Warner Bros. will release “Space Jam 2” in theaters and on HBO Max on July 18. Check out the first trailer below.