LeBron James is going to take his “talents down to Supernova Remnant Messier 1 in the Taurus constellation.” In 1995, Chicago Bulls fans and children of all ages were dazzled with Michael Jordan’s comeback after a two-year retirement from the NBA. During that time, Jordan took up baseball with the Double-A Minor League Baseball Birmingham Barons. After a short stint with the Triple-A Scottsdale Scorpions, Jordan decided to comeback to the NBA, and in 1996 he starred in the live action/animated hybrid Space Jam. Now Deadline is reporting that Warner Bros. is moving forward with Space Jam 2. However, instead of Michael Jordan in the lead role, the sequel will feature Miami Heat superstar LeBron James, with the fate of the Earth at stake.
Charlie Ebersol will produce Space Jam 2 for his production company, The Company, and his brother Willie Ebersol will write the screenplay. The Company won an Emmy Award for the television broadcast of the London Summer Olympics in 2012. Charlie Ebersol produced the reality TV series The Moment, which chronicled the lives of nine men and women who were nominated by a close friend or family member to be surprised by former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner, who then gave them the chance to reclaim the dream career they put on hold when their lives took an unexpected detour. The Ebersol Brothers also made the documentary Ithuteng: Never Stop Learning in 2006, which followed the Ithuteng Trust School in Soweto, South Africa. Space Jam 2 would be Charlie and Willie Ebersol’s feature film debut.
The original Space Jam involved invading aliens called the Nerdlucks, who kidnapped the Looney Toons so they could be amusement park attractions in an alien theme park called Moron Mountain. To stop the Nerdlucks, Bugs Bunny challenged the invaders to a game of basketball. However, after the Nerdlucks stole the talents of NBA superstars Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Charles Barkley, Tyron “Muggsy” Bogues, and Shawn Bradley, Bugs Bunny recruited Jordan (and Bill Murray) to the Tune Squad to face off against the alien Monstars.
Space Jam grossed $230.4 million in 1996, so it’ll be interesting to see how the sequel does 18 years later. Space Jam 2 is also expected to feature many, many NBA players, and hopefully a return by Bill Murray. Considering that the NBA is a bigger draw than it was back in 1996, there’s a good chance that Space Jam 2 will be a bigger box-office earner, despite LeBron James not being as popular around the world as Michael Jordan was in his prime during the ’90s. The animated movie also gave us R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly,” so also expect the movie’s main song and theme to receive an update for modern audiences.
Warner Bros. has yet to announce a release date for Space Jam 2, but it would be fitting if the animated family film were released sometime in 2016, which is the 20th anniversary of the original Space Jam.
Well that was fun, and short-lived. It turns out that LeBron James will not star in Space Jam 2, as his people are adamantly denying this rumor. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst tweeted this:
Well it was fun while it lasted. LeBron sources refute Deadline report, there's no Space Jam 2 or Warner Bros. project in works
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) February 22, 2014
Does this mean that Space Jam 2 isn’t happening at all, or just that King James won’t be taking part in the festivities? Based on the wording, it could go either way. Hopefully, we’ve dodged a bullet, but this is Hollywood we’re talking about, so anything, and we mean anything is possible. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.