90s kids, dust off your Chicago Bulls jerseys — the one with 23 on the front & back — and wash those lucky basketball shorts, because they’re rebooting Space Jam. Yeah, Michael Jordan won’t be a part of the cast this time, but maybe he’ll make an appearance?
Either way, the new cast of Space Jam has been announced, and like the 90s original, it’s packed to the brim with stars. While 80s & 90s legends Jordan, Bill Murray, and Danny DeVito aren’t in the lineup this time (excepting possible cameos), new cast announcements have Twitter abuzz and surely take this movie into 2021. Here’s the latest on the Space Jam cast.
Zendaya is Lola Bunny
The bunny who could dribble circles around Bugs (and possibly launched a million furries in the process), Lola Bunny is getting more than a costume change in the new Space Jam movie. Lola’s voice actor has been cast, and it’s none other than Zendaya per Space Jam: A New Legacy’s Twitter account.
In addition to a new casting choice, director Malcolm D. Lee claimed he wants a new Lola Bunny, stating the original “wasn’t politically correct”. Lee elaborated: “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.”
Lee also hinted he’ll deliver more info about Lola Bunny’s character in Space Jam: A New Legacy. Could the choice to cast A-lister Zendaya reflect his stated intentions? We’ll have to wait until we see the final product in July to know.
As far as the rest of the cast of Space Jam: A New Legacy, if you’re jonesing for basketball stars, Space Jam welcomed LeBron James to carry the torch for Michael Jordan. Having played for the Los Angeles Lakers since 2003, LeBron James has become a basketball legend in his own right, earning nicknames like King James, the Chosen One, and the Little Emperor over his long, successful career.
LeBron James scores an average of twenty-seven points per game per season and has a rebound record of 7.4 per game over his career. Basketball-Reference places his 2005–2006 season average of 31.37 in the top 40 points-per-game averages of all time, just three slots below Jordan’s 1990–1991 average of 31.46 points scored per game.
For non-sports fans, the numbers mean LeBron James was an obvious, current cast choice to fill Jordan’s shoes. Apart from stats, James has similar star power, having amassed lucrative sponsorships including Nike, Coca-Cola, and Beats.
What in the Matrix . . .
That said, the plot of Space Jam: A New Legacy has different stakes than the original. In the original 90s Space Jam, Bugs Bunny reaches out to Michael Jordan to help save the Looney Tunes from being enslaved by a martian theme park owner (Danny DeVito). In this one, LeBron James has to save his son from an evil computer matrix, run by an evil computer algorithm, who Don Cheadle (Iron Man) was cast to play.
In order to get his son back, LeBron James must assemble a basketball team to win a game of basketball against the algorithm. While the trailer indicates that James wanted King Kong and the Iron Giant to play ball for him, the algorithm sticks him with the Tune Squad. Like Jordan in the original, James has to train the Looney Tunes to dribble, layup, and dunk against a formidable opposing team.
The Space Jam cast includes other NBA players Klay Thompson, Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, Draymond Green, and Kyle Kuzma. WNBA players Diana Taurasi, Nneka Ogwumike and Chiney Ogwumike are also set to make cameo appearances. We have yet to see if, like in the original Space Jam, they’ll get their own side plot involving a power-zapping basketball.
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