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Space Jam: A New Legacy: release date, cast, plot, cameos and more

Space Jam: A New Legacy
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Space Jam: A New Legacy is a sequel 15 years in the making, and one fans have wanted for a long time. The original movie retains a cult following to this day, and it won’t be long before nostalgic fans and families alike can enjoy the new Looney Tunes basketball adventure in theaters and on HBO Max.

The follow-up film will star legendary basketball player LeBron James alongside some familiar faces – both human and cartoon – as Warner Bros. looks to bring its Space Jam series to a new generation. With its July release incoming, it's worth running through everything that's been revealed about Space Jam: A New Legacy so far.

We're only two months out from release, but we have confirmation that there will be a major cameo in Space Jam: A New Legacy. Read on to find out more about who that will be.

Below, we'll discuss the movie's release date, cast, plot details, other potential cameos and more. It’s a slam dunk of an article, if we say so ourselves – so read on to find out what's worth knowing about Space Jam 2.

Space Jam: A New Legacy: Cut to the chase 

  • What is it? A sequel to the 1996 movie Space Jam, again featuring a mix of live action and animation, as Looney Tunes characters play basketball in a virtual world.  
  • When is it getting released? July 16, 2021.
  • Where can I watch it? On HBO Max or in theaters.
  • Who's in it? Legendary basketball player LeBron James, Don Cheadle and a bunch of Looney Tunes favorites from animation history.

Space Jam: A New Legacy release date: July 2021 

Space Jam: A New Legacy release date

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Space Jam 2 is getting a simultaneous release in theaters and on HBO Max on July 16, 2021. 

A New Legacy will follow in the footsteps of other 2021 Warner Bros. movies, including Godzilla vs Kong and Mortal Kombat, in launching on a streaming platform as well as the big screen. However, it’ll only be available for a month on HBO Max following its release, so if you plan on catching it at home rather than in a cinema, you’ll need to do so before August 16.

HBO Max subscribers will be able to watch Space Jam: A New Legacy for no additional cost, too, so it’s well worth checking it out if you currently have a subscription to Warner Bros.’ streaming service.

Space Jam: A New Legacy trailer: watch the official trailer now 

The official Space Jam 2 trailer was released on April 3 on YouTube and social media. It offered curious viewers a proper look at what the story will be, which Looney Tunes characters will join LeBron James on screen, and which other Warner Bros. properties are making an appearance in the film.

Space Jam: A New Legacy plot: what is the story about? 

Space Jam: A New Legacy plot

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Space Jam: A New Legacy follows LeBron's journey to rescue his youngest son Dom (Cedric Joe) after the latter becomes trapped in a virtual world by an evil AI program (Don Cheadle). Despite the pair being reunited, however, LeBron is told by Cheadle's AI character that he must lead the Tune Squad – comprising characters like Bugs Bunny, Lola Bunny and Daffy Duck – to victory over the AI’s digital basketball champions, known as the Goons, before the duo can return to the real world.

The Goons are digitized versions of professional basketball players, so LeBron and the Tunes Squad will have their work cut out for them. If the first film was anything to go by, though, LeBron and his pals are bound to find some humorous ways to get one over their opponents, rescue Dom and allow the James family to return home.

Space Jam: A New Legacy cast: who will appear? 

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As we've mentioned, we know several of the human and cartoon characters who will feature in Space Jam 2. Check out the list below to see which real-life people are set to star: 

  • LeBron James as himself
  • Don Cheadle (Iron Man, Avengers: Endgame) as Al-G Rhythm, an evil computer program
  • Sonequa Martin-Green (Star Trek: Discovery) as Kamiyah James, LeBron’s wife
  • Cedric Joe (Modern Family) as Dom James, LeBron’s youngest son
  • Ceyair J Wright (2 Broke Girls) as Darius James, LeBron’s oldest son
  • Harper Leigh Alexander as Xosha James, LeBron’s daughter    

NBA players including Klay Thompson, Anthony Davis, Diana Taurasi and Nneka Ogwumike are also set to make cameo appearances.

As for which Looney Tunes characters will feature in some capacity, see the list of these – and their voice actors – below: 

  • Zendaya as Lola Bunny
  • Jeff Bergman as Bugs Bunny, Sylvester James Pussycat and Foghorn Leghorn
  • Eric Bauza as Daffy Duck and Marvin the Martian 
  • Bob Bergen as Porky Pig and Tweety 
  • Jim Cummings as Tasmanian Devil 
  • Gabriel Inglesias as Speedy Gonzales 
  • Candi Milo as Granny 
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Lola Bunny is undergoing a big character change for A New Legacy. Director Malcom D. Lee watched the original film for the first time in 2019, and was put off by the overly sexualized nature of Bugs’ love interest.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Lee said: "Lola was very sexualized, like Betty Boop mixed with Jessica Rabbit. Lola was not politically correct.... This is a kids' movie, why is she in a crop top? It just felt unnecessary, but at the same time there's a long history of that in cartoons."

In a bid to better reflect more contemporary approaches to female character designs, Lee revealed that Lola’s new look is about “making sure she had an appropriate length on her shorts and was feminine without being objectified, but gave her a real voice”.

While Lola has undergone a makeover, there’s one Looney Tune who has been omitted from Space Jam 2 entirely. According to Deadline, Pepe Le Pew, the group’s French skunk, was eliminated from the sequel after Lee joined the project. A scene involving the character had been filmed before Lee’s arrival but, in the wake of criticism about consent that the cartoon has received, the sequence was removed from the film’s final cut.

Space Jam: A New Legacy cameos: which Warner Bros. properties will appear? 

Space Jam: A New Legacy cameos

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The official trailer for Space Jam: A New Legacy wasn’t well received by every Space Jam or movie fan when it was released. Some onlookers took exception to the sheer amount of iconography from other Warner movies, and criticized the studio for shoehorning various series into Space Jam 2 when they have no business being there. It’s a particularly contentious issue, too, when you consider that mature films, such as A Clockwork Orange, will feature in an upcoming film aimed at kids.

Either way, Warner Bros. won’t remove those other properties so late into development. If you’re curious about which Warner Bros. IPs will show up in some capacity, check out the list below of those confirmed by the trailer:

  • A Clockwork Orange
  • Batman
  • Casablanca
  • The Flintstones
  • Game of Thrones
  • The Goonies
  • The Iron Giant
  • It
  • The Jetsons
  • King Kong
  • The Mask
  • The Matrix
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Scooby Doo
  • ThunderCats
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Wonder Woman
  • Yogi Bear

Spoilers for Space Jam's ending follow from this point on.

 While those references aren’t overly necessary, there are a couple of cameo appearances that we’re really holding out for that haven't been discussed yet. For one, it would be really cool to see Michael Jordan, the protagonist of Space Jam, show up.

We had suspected that he wouldn’t, given that he didn’t want to return for Space Jam’s planned sequel in the 1990s. Now, though, we have confirmation that he will be appearing in some capacity.

Speaking to Access Hollywood about Space Jam 2 (skip to the 9:58 mark in the video below), Don Cheadle revealed that Michael Jordan was “in the movie”, but not in the manner that fans would expect him to be. Will he be a hologram of sorts? Or could he appear in a flashback sequence involving Bugs, Lola and the rest of the Looney Tunes? We’ll have to wait to find out.

As well as Jordan's return, how about Bill Murray and Wayne Knight turning up for a scene or two? Murray appeared as one of Jordan’s friends in a couple of Space Jam scenes, while Knight was cast as Stan Podolak, Jordan’s publicist and assistant. Neither has been confirmed for A New Legacy yet, but it would be cool to see them bridge the gap between these two movies.

Finally, it would be intriguing to see the Monstars appear in the sequel. This group, who were originally known as the Nerdlucks, stole the basketball abilities of several real-life stars at the time, including Charles Barkley, to turn themselves into the superpowered Monstars and take on Jordan and the Looney Tunes during their basketball showdown.

The Monstars end up being defeated but, after some wise words from Jordan, they turn on their former boss before handing their basketball talents back to the players they'd stolen them from. Returning to their Nerdluck personas, the group are recruited by the Looney Tunes before the movie ends.

It doesn't look like the Nerdlucks will feature in Space Jam 2, judging by the official trailer. However, Warner Bros. might have cut them out of the trailer so that they can use them as a surprise inclusion in the final movie cut – it's a move that studios, such as Marvel, have begun using more often for their MCU production trailers in a bid to keep certain character reveals secret before their movies or TV series are released.

Here's hoping Warner Bros. have done likewise with Jordan, Murray, Knight or the Nerdlucks.

Space Jam: A New Legacy theme song: is there one? 

Space Jam: A New Legacy theme song

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

There might be, but it hasn’t been announced yet. Space Jam had a theme song of the same name, which was performed by Quad City DJs, as part of the film's official licensed soundtrack. That song received a remix for A New Legacy’s official trailer, but it’s unclear if this will be the theme song for the sequel.

Space Jam: A New Legacy’s score was initially worked on by legendary movie composer Hans Zimmer, but When They See Us composer Kris Bowers was brought on board to work alongside Zimmer in April 2020. That duo aside, we don’t yet know who else might appear on Space Jam: A New Legacy’s soundtrack, licensed music or otherwise.

Space Jam: A New Legacy development: why has a sequel taken so long to make? 

Space Jam: A New Legacy sequel

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Good question. As with any movie production, hurdles needed to be overcome before Space Jam 2 could see the light of day.

The LeBron James-starring movie was originally announced way back in 2014, even though a sequel has been planned ever since the first film’s 1996 release. Since 2014, Space Jam: A New Legacy has gone through three directors, three screenwriters and two cinematographers, which is an indication of the difficulties that its development has faced. 

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Even before work began on A New Legacy, there were other Space Jam spin-off movies in development, too. According to legendary skate star Tony Hawk, discussions between Warner Bros. and Hawk’s team in 2003 almost saw the studio greenlight Skate Jam – a skateboarding offshoot starring Hawk and the Looney Tunes. As Hawk reveals in his tweet, though, Skate Jam was shelved after 2003 flick Looney Tunes: Back in Action bombed at the box office.

That’s not the only potential Space Jam spin-off that Warner Bros. considered either. In 2001, Jackie Chan was in talks to star in Spy Jam, while Race Jam – a NASCAR-centric movie starring professional racer Jeff Gordon – also almost happened. 

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It’s unclear why development on Race Jam and Spy Jam ended, but Warner Bros. will be hoping that Space Jam: A New Legacy puts those failed projects to bed by performing well on HBO Max and in theaters later this year.