Springhill Entertainment announced today that Black Panther director Ryan Coogler (Creed, Fruitvale Station) has signed on to produce the Space Jam sequel. LeBron James (Trainwreck) will star in the new film, to be directed by Terence Nance (Random Acts of Flyness). Filming is expected to begin during the NBA off-season in 2019.
“The Space Jam collaboration is so much more than just me and the Looney Tunes getting together and doing this movie,” James told The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s so much bigger. I’d just love for kids to understand how empowered they can feel and how empowered they can be if they don’t just give up on their dreams. And I think Ryan did that for a lot of people.”
Released in 1996, the original Space Jam (which still has a website) starred Michael Jordan and had the basketball teaming up with the Looney Tunes. In the film, Bugs Bunny has gotten himself and his Looney Tunes cohorts into a jam by facing off against the Nerdlucks, a grouchy gang of tiny space creatures who land on Earth. The Nerdlucks, dispatched by their boss, the ruthless, belligerent Swackhammer (voiced by Danny DeVito), intend to kidnap and export the Looney Tunes to Moron Mountain, Swackhammer’s failing theme park on the Nerdlucks’ boring planet.
Bugs has challenged the small, weak aliens to a fateful basketball tournament: if the Looney Tunes win, they’ll remain on Earth. But if the aliens win, Bugs and company are headed into the hands of Swackhammer. Michael Jordan has retired from the sport and begun to play baseball — with limited success. But after the Looney Tunes capture Jordan from a golf course, transport him to Looney Tunes Land and explain, in true Looney Tunes style, their predicament, he agrees to join their team.
The 1996 release also starred Billy West, Wayne Knight, and Theresa Randle.