One of the more unusual movies coming in 2021 is Space Jam A New Legacy, the long-awaited follow-up to the 1996 live-action/animated hit.
This new sequel will up the ante with cross-promotion of various Warner Bros properties. This includes a wild crossover as Lola Bunny will be shown living on the island of Wonder Woman’s Amazons.
A new Jam
The original Space Jam starred Michael Jordan (then at the height of the Chicago Bulls dynasty of the ’90s) being recruited by the Looney Tunes gang to face a pack of alien monsters in a basketball game.
Twenty-five years later, the sequel features the man most would consider Jordan’s successor as the NBA’s biggest star, LeBron James. The four-time NBA champion had been attached to the film since 2014, although production didn’t begin until 2019.
The plot has James (like Jordan playing a fictionalized version of himself) and his son Dom (Cedric Joe) being sucked into a virtual reality world by an evil artificial intelligence Al-G Rythym (Don Cheadle).
Now stuck in the Warner 3000 entertainment ‘Sever-verse’, James can only escape by joining Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes gang to play a basketball game against Al-G’s forces.
This means that various Warner Bros properties will be popping into the storyline. As Warner Bros owns DC Comics, this includes some superhero cameos. James himself spoke about the variety of films that could be used.
“You can look at the WB catalog and just see how many things they have in the archives. And for me to be able to travel through and be part of Wonder Woman, Casablanca, The Matrix, it was incredible. We were able to dive into some of those worlds, along with some other ones that… I gave you a couple, but I want to save some for the film. I couldn’t believe it, to see some of the live footage that we were able to shoot, along with some of the digital and animation stuff to just bring it all together.”
To fill out the team, Bugs has to reach out to his old flame, Lola Bunny, who debuted in Space Jam. However, as director Malcolm D. Lee explains, Lola has found herself a new home on Themyscira.
“We wanted to meet her with the Amazons, trying to find greener pastures for herself. As she says in the movie, there’s more to her than just being a Tune.”
In the first Space Jam, Lola’s presence elicited some controversy over her overtly-sexualized appearance, which seemed jarring in a family film. Among the changes made for the sequel is Lola redesigned with Lee stating, “This is 2021. It’s important to reflect the authenticity of strong, capable female characters.”
This redesign has sparked a new debate, with some fans upset about toning down Lola’s looks while others praise the modernized design.
There is no word if Gal Gadot will appear as Wonder Woman herself. The producers indicate that there may be some surprise cameos in the film as photos have shown characters from It’s Pennywise to even Jim Carrey as The Mask. Thus, it’s possible a few Justice League characters might pop in.
Lee brought up a key challenge in that, as much as he would love to use a character, there might be issues fitting them into the storyline.
He expressed, “But in picking the titles, is it going to be funny? That’s always the balance. You may want a title and [they] say, ‘Well, the people who own that title, we at the studio do own it, but we may not be able to use [it].’ There’s a lot of trial and error.”
Whatever the final result, mixing in the world of Looney Tunes and the DCEU only promises to make Space Jam 2 a very wild game.
Space Jam A New Legacy premieres in theaters and HBO Max on July 16, 2021.