What’s up, Doc? I’ll tell you what’s up: Space Jam 2 is finally moving forward. Alas, LeBron James has the opportunity to prove once and for all that he’s capable of filling Michael Jordan‘s Nike sneakers. After all, teaming up with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the rest of Tune Squad is a prestigious honor few mortals get to experience.
The news comes courtesy of the Hollywood Reporter, who announced that filming would commence in 2019 during the NBA off-season. But that’s not all: Ryan Coogler is on board to produce and Terence Nance – who created HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness – has been confirmed as director after weeks of speculation that he’d be helming the project. That’s a slam dunk of talent right there.
Like Jordan before him, James will be playing himself. Little is known about story details yet, but we assume that he will join the Looney Tunes for a basketball game with real stakes on the line. The type of game that makes the NBA seem as easy as Canadian Basketball League by comparison.
There are plenty of reasons to look forward to Space Jam 2. The first is that the film marks James’ debut as a leading man following his impressive supporting role outing in Trainwreck. Second, it’s always nice to have more Looney Tunes adventures in our lives, and this confirms that Warner Bros. is serious about re-introducing their most popular and beloved animated attractions to the world. More importantly, though, the film appears to be extremely well-intentioned. According to James, the aim behind Space Jam 2 is to do for sports movies what Black Panther did for superheroes — give kids a strong black role model to look up to.
That’s why Coogler was brought in. Check out what the film’s main star had to say about the decision recruit the Black Panther director below:
“The Space Jam collaboration is so much more than just me and the Looney Tunes getting together and doing this movie,” says James, “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.”
Getting Coogler on board is a great move. He has some Hollywood clout following the success of his superhero epic, which conquered the box office and then some. But, as James noted in the THR interview, Black Panther achieved so much more than commercial success. The movie gave young black kids all over the world an onscreen hero to be proud of. One that they could aspire to be like.
With Space Jam 2, James and co. want to give their young target audience a movie that encourages them to chase their dreams. Coogler has already shown that he understands the importance of the platform he has and James shares that vision. Space Jam 2, for all its a movie about cartoons playing basketball, is an opportunity to give kids another movie with a hopeful message. Right now, the stars are aligning in all the right ways to suggest that this goal will be accomplished.