Released in 1996, the live action/animation hybrid ‘Space Jam’ starring basketball legend Michael Jordan and Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes cast became a massive success and remains a fondly recalled piece of nostalgia to this day.
On its 20th anniversary, Warner Brothers announced plans for a long-anticipated sequel, with LeBron James substituting for Jordan. Not only were they aiming high for its human star, but it was announced that ‘Fast & Furious’ and ‘Star Trek Beyond’ director Justin Lin would helm.
Unfortunately, the villains delaying the start of production aren’t alien invaders, but good ol’ fashioned timing. Lin has been busy developing and promoting his upcoming CBS series ‘S.W.A.T.’– based on the 2003 film, which was based on the 1975 TV series.
Meanwhile, James’ schedule is also an obstacle. Even outside of the official NBA season, he has training.
“…We have actors who are also professional athletes, so schedule is something that’s tough,” Lin said when asked about factoring in LeBron James, who reports have said is taking a lead role as Michael Jordan did in the original. “I’ve been really wanting to push that genre but to do that you need the right amount of time. so there’s a logistical challenge.
“But also creatively to do a sequel 20 years later with a new cast and also. So I feel like I’ve gone done nine different iterations already and we’re going to keep going, but we’re getting closer every day.”
James has done a lot of voice work on shows like ‘SpongeBob Squarepants’, ‘Teen Titans GO!’ and even his own series ‘The LeBrons’. He also made a live action splash in the comedy ‘Trainwreck’.
In the original movie, Jordan was backed up by comedic legend Bill Murray and ‘Seinfeld’ star Wayne Knight (Newman). Most likely James will have some live action support as well. Jack Black’s schedule isn’t as busy as it once was, but he still has youth appeal. Jussayin’.
So at least we know that Lin’s ‘Space Jam 2’ is still in the works. Let’s just hope it happens while LeBron is still young enough to play.
One naysayer happens to be Joe Pytka, the director of the first movie, who offered a bit of caution:
“I think it’s ridiculous to try and make a different movie out of it. I can’t see it. I can’t imagine how it could be what that film was. Not that Space Jam is a great movie, but it had something that touched that period of time because of who those athletes were and it doesn’t exist anymore.”
True, the 90s was the era of the Dream Team, including Larry Byrd, Charles Barkley, Magic Johnson, Scottie Pippin, Patrick Ewing and more superstars. There are still great B-Ball players today but not many of them are “brands” like those of the ‘Space Jam’ era.
And as classic a song as ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ from the soundtrack remains to this day, let’s not let R. Kelly anywhere near this new mix CD.
Do you want to see a new version of ‘Space Jam’? Or should the classic be left alone?