20 years after Michael Jordan and Bill Murray led the Looney Tunes to victory against the Monstars, the Space Jam franchise gets new life – and a new look – with the highly-anticipated sequel Space Jam: A New Legacy. Now, one of the first film’s biggest characters has undergone a dramatic redesign, one that communicates progress and prowess rather than problematic and outdated ideals.
Lola Bunny now looks completely different than her ’90s counterpart, marking a departure that Space Jam: A New Legacy director Malcolm D. Lee deemed necessary and prudent while making the film. Lee didn’t see the original Space Jam until 2019, but he recalled being shocked by how much the filmmakers sexualized Lola Bunny. Here’s a comparison of the 1996 version and the 2021 version:
The new film’s director wants to make sure that the sexualization of Lola Bunny is a thing of the past. There was never any reason for it, so the new film is doing away with the needless sexualization of a rabbit and will absolutely be better because of it. It is going to be awesome and will go a long way in having an interesting female character who isn’t sexualized in the Looney Tunes’ roster.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly about the change earlier this week, Lee said:
“Lola [Bunny] 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. This is 2021. It’s important to reflect the authenticity of strong, capable female characters.”
Predictably, some fans are upset by the change, but that really isn’t Lee’s problem. He can’t please everyone, and honestly, if he is enraging people who would rather see a Looney Tunes’ rabbit boobs than a strong female character, he is doing something right. Still, it is not surprising that some remain so stuck in what they think should be done that they can’t appreciate the reasons why changes are happening. It is definitely a shame, but it is not at all shocking.
The original Space Jam first hit theaters in 1996, receiving lackluster reviews, but winning youngsters over with its over-the-top characters and ridiculous plot. Michael Jordan did a decent job as the film’s star, although he is often benched so that the Looney Tunes receive most of the focus. Lola Bunny was created specifically for Space Jam but became a series staple, going on to appear in Baby Looney Tunes, The Looney Tunes Show, the direct-to-video movie Looney Tunes: Rabbits Run, and many others.
Space Jam: A New Legacy stars LeBron James and is currently scheduled for release on July 16, 2021, in theaters and on HBO Max. Until then, you can prepare for it by revisiting the original and thanking the stars that Lola Bunny is finally getting the respect she deserves in Lee’s Looney Tunes sequel.