In 1996, basketball and movie fans were treated to Space Jam, a live-action-meets-animation sports comedy starring NBA legend Michael Jordan and the cartoon characters of Looney Tunes led by Bugs Bunny.
Twenty-five years later, Space Jam: A New Legacy, the much-awaited sequel, is finally set to air on HBO Max this July 16. Here’s what you should know about the movie that’s bound to delight fans from all generations.
Space Jam Facts: It stars LeBron James.
Playing himself, the Los Angeles Lakers star must rescue his son Dom (Cedric Joe), who is trapped in a virtual world led by evil computer algorithm Al-G Rhythm (Don Cheadle). To do that, he joins Bugs, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Lola Bunny, and other Looney Tunes favorites in a game against Al-G’s Goon Squad, a team of digitized pro basketball players.
Space Jam Facts: It stars other pro cagers too.
Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson, LA Lakers’ Anthony Davis, Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard, Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi, and WNBA Los Angeles Sparks star Nneka Ogwumike lend their voices as members of the Goon Squad. Expect cameo appearances as well from NBA superstars Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, Draymond Green, and Kyle Kumuza; and WNBA’s Chiney Ogwumike. Of course, no Space Jam movie is complete without the original star himself, Michael Jordan.
Space Jam Facts: It employs different film techniques.
Space Jam: The New Legacy is a hybrid of live action, traditional hand-drawn 2D animation, and 3D CGI effects.
Space Jam Facts: It’s not without its controversies.
Looney Tunes’s amorous skunk Pepé Le Pew is conspicuously absent from the film, as his aggressive advances towards females are deemed as sexual harassment. Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam appear with their guns despite the ban not to depict firearms, given the mounting incidents of mass shootings and gun violence in the US.
Controversy also hounded cager queen Lola Bunny. Originally voiced in Space Jam by Kath Soucie, she’s now voiced by actress and singer Zendaya, whose voice, observers say, doesn’t match the character. Lola Bunny also got a makeover: Note her longer shorts and less curvy figure—efforts, no doubt, to tone down her sexy image.
Space Jam Facts: It’s got an all-star soundtrack.
If Space Jam had “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly, Space Jam: A New Legacy has a number of potential hits. Will it be “See Me Fly” by Chance the Rapper, John Legend, and Symba? Or “Control the World” by Lil Wayne and 24 Goldn? Watch the movie to find out!