The marketing team behind the upcoming sequel to Space Jam starring LeBron James in the lead role in place of Michael Jordan has released the first official look at the film's lead human character. The 12-second footage shows James walking into frame, flexing his shoulder muscles while sporting a new basketball jersey belonging to the "Tune Squad". The footage ends with the title of the movie, Space Jam 2, flashing across the screen.
The footage makes two things clear: One, James is taking his role very seriously, as evidenced by his complete poker face and the shoulder warm-up routine he engages in. Two, social media is soon going to erupt into a discussion over how much better or worse the new jersey design for the Tune Squad is compared to the original movie.
In any case, the video has already garnered a lot of eyeballs and got audiences excited for when the trailer for the upcoming movie drops. That excitement is shared by LeBron James, who had previously shared with the cast of the film's crew on his last day of shooting how much the project means to him.
"When I found out about the project, I was like it's 'Space Jam'! It's a movie that I grew up watching. People in the movie that I idolize. I was like absolutely, I gotta do it. There's no way I can turn down 'Space Jam'!"
The original Space Jam was imagined as a starring vehicle for Michael Jordan, combining his celebrity status as a top athlete with the cartoon celebrity of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the rest of the Looney Tunes squad.
Space Jam told the tale of a group of aliens who come to Earth with the intention of kidnapping Bugs and his pals to become a part of a roadside attraction park in outer space. To get out of the predicament, the Looney Tunes challenge the aliens to a basketball match, and engage the services of Jordan to win the game against all odds.
While the film was not received warmly by critics, it went on to become a box-office hit, and in the ensuing years came to be seen as something of a cult classic. Warner Bros. had tried many times to get a sequel off the ground after Jordan dropped out and finally entered into a partnership with LeBron James in 2014 to star in Space Jam 2.
It is unclear how closely Space Jam: A New Legacy will hew to the plot of the original film, but if any basketball player can follow in the footsteps of Jordan into the acting world, it would be James, who has already proved his comedic chops with a supporting role in Trainwreck.
Space Jam: A New Legacy is directed by Malcolm D. Lee and produced by Ryan Coogler, LeBron James, Duncan Henderson and Maverick Carter. It features a lead cast of LeBron James, Don Cheadle and Sonequa Martin-Green, and is set to release July 16, 2021.