‘Space Jam’ and The Saga of Sequels that Almost Happened
Space Jam 2 has been in the making for nearly 25 years. Although the original movie was a big success in 1996, it took LeBron James, Ryan Coogler, and a whole lot of nostalgia to get the sequel off the ground. However, that does not mean that there weren’t several attempts to get a sequel off the ground after the first one hit theaters in 1996. The details of potential sequels are a fascinating journey into the minds of the original film’s makers.
Space Jam 2
Originally, there were plans to have a traditional sequel to Space Jam, according to Animated Views. Joe Pytka, who directed the original film, was on board for a sequel, and Warner Brothers was excited to learn from an unnamed producer that Michael Jordan was ready to sign on for another movie. There was only one problem, however. Jordan never signed on, and the sequel quickly fell apart before it ever left the ground.
The movie would have had Jordan and the Looney Tunes face off against a villain called Berserk-O. Berserk-O was designed to look like Mel Brooks, who was also their choice to play the villain. Not much else is known about this particular sequel, however. After Jordan let it be known that he would not return to the franchise, several other sequels were proposed.
Around the turn of the century, Warner Brothers wanted to cash in on their moneymaking property, according to Movie Fone. Among their first ideas for a sequel was one that would have pit Bugs Bunny and the game against legendary race car driver Jeff Gordon. Not much is known about the proposed plot of the movie, but it shows a formula that Warner Bros. continued emulating through several failed sequel ideas.
At the time, Jeff Gordon was the biggest name in racing, and Warner Bros. was banking on a name that could draw like Michael Jordan. Whether it was Gordon’s regression or a change of heart, however, the movie never got off the ground.
In 2001, Jackie Chan was not only an international star at the box office, but he was also the star of his own cartoon. With this type of box office appeal and Chan’s willingness to put his body on the line for the type of slapstick humor known in Looney Tunes, Warner Brothers looked to cash in with a spy-themed sequel to Space Jam pairing him next to Bugs Bunny and company.
An Entertainment Weekly article confirmed the desire for Spy Jam, but it never got off the ground. Eventually, the idea formed into an unrelated movie called Looney Tunes: Back in Action. Ironically, that film featured a cameo by Gordon.
Back in Action bombed, and with it, one of the more interesting ideas for Space Jam died. In 2019, world-famous skateboarder Tony Hawk revealed that he had a meeting with Warner Brothers about his own Space Jam movie, as reported by SB Nation. Skate Jam would have seen the biggest name in skating team up with the Looney Tunes at the height of his fame. After the company saw losses for Back in Action, however, nothing was made.
Space Jam: A New Legacy
After years of planning, lots of rumors, and a star big enough to fill Jordan’s shoes, Space Jam’s sequel is finally happening. Space Jam: A New Legacy filmed in 2019 and will release in 2021. While plot details are unknown, the film will presumably see LeBron James team up with Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Tunes.
James will take the big screen with a cast of basketball royalty: Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Klay Thompson, Chris Paul, and WNBA Stars Nneka Ogwumike and Diana Taurasi. The film will also feature renowned actor Don Cheadle, with Malcolm D. Lee taking over as director. It is scheduled to be released in July of 2021. Depending on how that goes, perhaps a new version of some of these unmade plans will see the light of day.