Warner Brothers announced today that The Lego Movie will have a sequel, after dominating the box office since its release. Some are surprised at the news, considering how quickly the decision was made after the movie’s release. However, Warner Brothers contrasted the quickness of The Lego Movie sequel with the announcement of a sequel to another film, this one dating back almost two decades ago. The 1996 hit, Space Jam, will be getting a sequel and Miami Heat superstar, LeBron James, has been pegged as the star.
James will have some big shoes to fill. The original Space Jam starred basketball legend, Michael Jordan, who teamed up with Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and other zany Looney Toons characters to save their world, Looney Toons Land. The film played off Jordan’s recent retirement from basketball and featured many NBA stars of the time, including Patrick Ewing and Charles Barkley, who had their basketball talent stolen from them by the villains of the film, the monsters from Moron Mountain. The combination of live action and animation was a huge hit with the audiences, opening at the top of the box office and grossing over $230 million worldwide.
Space Jam was not the first film to combine live action and cartoon animation. The film that many consider to hold that honor would be the 1988 Disney film, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? That film also featured many Looney Toon characters, but also contained Disney characters like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Dumbo. The film was praised for its innovation and heralded as a revitalization for animation. After the success of Space Jam, Warner Brothers created another live action/animation films featuring the Looney Toons, Looney Toons: Back in Action. The film did not do nearly as well financially. Warner Brothers is hoping a Space Jam sequel featuring LeBron James as the star will fare much better.
Animation has evolved since the original Space Jam, and the Looney Toons have evolved right along with it. The original Looney Toons aired from 1930 to 1969 as a series of cartoon shorts, often featuring Bugs Bunny, Sylvester the Cat, Wile E. Coyote, or Yosemite Sam. These shorts and their reruns were glued to the television set of every child for decades, but eventually, they received less and less airtime. In 2011, Cartoon Network rebooted the franchise with The Looney Toons Show. The show now features Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck as roommates living in a suburban neighborhood surrounded by many of the Looney Tunes classic characters, turning the cartoon shorts into more of a sitcom.
There are many questions that will need to be answered about the sequel. Will the film use the same Looney Toons Land used in the original film or will it feature the neighborhood seen in The Looney Toons Show? The original film featured the acting talents of many of the star NBA players at the time. Would it be safe to assume the same could be said about its sequel? Since the film is still in its early development stages, curious audiences will simply have to wait. In the end, all that is known about the film thus far is that a sequel to Space Jam is happening and LeBron James is the star.
By Jonathan Gardner