Like it or not, the LeBron James and his SpringHill Entertainment company teased a "Space Jam" sequel with none other than a shot of locker stalls for James and Bugs Bunny.. After years of rumored development, a sequel to the 1996 cult classic was all but confirmed Wednesday when
That followed, which noted that James has pegged Ryan Coogler ("Black Panther," "Creed") as a producer for the movie. SpringHill Entertainment, which just released the "Best Shot" documentary series in 2017, has since backed the report, confirming Coogler will produce alongside director Terence Nance (HBO's "Random Acts of Flyness"), while James will headline the movie's cast much like Michael Jordan did more than 20 years ago.
All of a sudden, we're closer to getting another "Space Jam" movie than ever before. And it's "Space Jam" we're talking about! This is like if someone decided to make another "Sandlot," for crying out loud! (Oh ....)
Instead of Jordan teaming up with the Looney Tunes to defeat the alien Monstars, it'll be LeBron taking the court with cartoons.
Naturally, we've got questions:
How similar is this going to be to 'Space Jam?'
"Space Jam" has a time-honored plot. Michael Jordan has to lead the Tune Squad against the stacked Monstars. It's a great underdog story. Since "Space Jam 2" inevitably will have a lot of nostalgia attached to it, it'll be hard to not mimic that plot. There are a lot of talented people on this project. Since this movie is a "reboot" rather than a true sequel, they could arguably get away with basically making the same movie for a younger generation -- although they might need to be introduced to Looney Tunes first. But something tells us that LeBron James has something different in mind.
Which other NBA players are most likely to show up?
The original saw Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Shawn Bradley, Larry Johnson and Muggsy Bogues costar with Jordan. Some present-day possibilities: Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony are all noted friends of LeBron but also carry big-name recognition. Kyrie Irving's relationship with James is cloudy, but he's fresh off his own movie ("Uncle Drew"). Ben Simmons is an emerging name who's drawn James' praise. And just about anyone else who shares LeBron's Nike partnership might be fair game: J.R. Smith, Draymond Green, Anthony Davis, James Jones. Then, of course, there's also ...
Will Michael Jordan make a cameo or, better yet, have a role?
SpringHill co-founder and LeBron confidant Maverick Carter told The Hollywood Reporter that "hopefully there will be a role for Michael if he wants it." So the ball is probably in Jordan's court. If you really think about it, though, it'd be a minor travesty if MJ didn't have some part in this. Whether it's a flashback or, dare we say, a full-fledged part akin to Luke Skywalker's return in "The Last Jedi" (plot twist: Jordan might be the new bad guy!), another "Space Jam" almost has to include its original star.
How much will LeBron's NBA career play into the story?
Jordan was still recognized as part of the Chicago Bulls in the original, so it's fair to assume LeBron will be a Laker, or at least for part of the story, in the new "Space Jam." But James' legacy was not built in Los Angeles. There's no way Cleveland won't get a mention, right? And what about Miami? Kudos to the writing crew if they can find a way to tie "The Decision" into the script.
Would Kobe Bryant be OK taking the backseat here?
Kobe's an NBA legend in the city where LeBron now resides, so he could -- and should -- make an appearance, right? Well, you'd think so (and he'd give the Tune Squad a killer three-pointer), but it's fair to wonder if Kobe would be fine playing second fiddle in a movie that realistically is all about King James. He's got his own movie business to worry about, too.
If it's set in present day, what pop culture references will we get?
Like most blockbuster comedies, "Space Jam" was brimming with pop culture references. Mr. Swackhammer thinking Bill Murray was Dan Akyroyd, the aliens wearing Doctor Who scarves (which might still happen in this movie), the suggested team name before Tune Squad being "The Ducks" -- the list goes on and on. So what references can we expect when this movie comes out? There's some guesswork here, since we don't know what will be popular when "Space Jam 2" comes out. Will "Fortnite" still be around? Will it be Marvel references? Or will Warner Bros. try to get some DC Extended Universe plugs in there? Just kidding; there's no way the DCEU will be around when this is out.
Kevin Durant is going to join the Monstars or play the villain, right?
This movie presents Kevin Durant's best shot to salvage his public image. What if Durant starts with the Tune Squad before teaming up with the Monstars to become the Big Bad? It's exactly the kind of self-aware thing that people love to see, but it would be a huge admission on his part. We're not saying that playing a mustache-twirling, power-hungry NBA player would be the best thing for Durant's public image. We're just saying that it might be a better option than getting extremely mad online from various burner accounts.
Who will be the Bill Murray of this movie?
As tragic as it is, Bill Murray will not be culturally relevant to the audience that this movie is going to reach. Yes, there will be the "Space Jam" fans that come to see this movie in droves, but this is a kid's movie first and foremost. That means that James' partner-in-crime will have to be someone well known to the public. Could it be Chris Pratt? The Rock? Kevin Hart? What if Bill Hader tags on as James' friend from "Trainwreck?" Then again, there is another, objectively best option: Zombie Bill Murray from "Zombieland."
Will Adonis Creed and/or the Black Panther make an appearance?
You think we're joking? When Coogler's attached to a movie, Michael B. Jordan almost always is, too. Michael B. Jordan is also Creed, of the "Rocky" series continuation, and he costarred in Coogler's "Black Panther," which LeBron admitted was inspiration to play in his own movie. Would it be a surprise to see Jordan show up in the new "Space Jam?" Not in the least bit. But wouldn't it be even cooler if the "Space Jam" universe somehow incorporated Jordan as Creed, the boxer, maybe even sitting court-side at LeBron's Tune Squad game?!
When does 'Like Mike 2' come out?
And which Soundcloud rapper would reprise Lil Bow Wow's character?