Back in the 90’s, a movie released that was so ridiculous it was hard not to love. That movie was Space Jam. Based on a Nike commercial that aired during a Super Bowl, Space Jam had Michael Jordan team up with the Looney Tunes to play basketball against a group of diabolical aliens. It’s hard not to feel nostalgic about this wacky piece of cinema history, right down to its iconic theme song. Finally, its long-awaited sequel is on its way, and this time it’ll be LeBron James teaming up with Bugs, Daffy, and the rest of the Tune Squad.
The trailer just dropped, and it’s jam-packed with jokes, references, and plot details. Let’s fal into this rabbit hole to take a look.
The trailer opens with LeBron James trying to convince his son to go to basketball camp, but he seems disinterested. It seems like LeBron may be pushing his interests on his kid who just wants to have his own life and hobbies.
LeBron has Looney Tunes statues in his house (unless they are elsewhere). He must be a super-fan of them, and I must say, I’m envious. It’s lucky that he gets sent to a world that he’s already a fan of.
After an argument about what his son really wants to do, his son storms off the elevator on the wrong floor, but there seems to be some sort of glitch with the elevator. A strange symbol shows instead of the floor number.
LeBron follows his son into what looks like a Tron-esque server room. They both get sucked into what looks to be a digital dimension, similar to Tron or The Matrix. This feels a bit more believable than getting sucked into a golf hole to travel to the Looney Tunes’ world like in the original film.
LeBron falls through space, but the planets aren’t the ones in our universe. There’s a planet for Game of Thrones, the Flintstones, and Wizard of Oz. It appears that in this dimension, each planet is the world of a different Warner Bros. franchise, similar to the Disney worlds in Kingdom Hearts.
A giant hologram head of Don Cheadle reveals himself to be this film’s antagonist, claiming himself to be the king of this domain. As Don Cheadle’s hologram head explains that this dimension is known as the “ServerVerse,” we see more planets, with one of them being of The Matrix. What is this antagonist’s ultimate goal? What is he trying to accomplish?
There’s a wormhole past the planets that forms the Warner Bros. logo. This seems like it’s essentially a Warner Bros. universe.
In the room with LeBron and holo-Don Cheadle (who is no longer a head) bickering about where LeBron’s son is, there’s an adorable little creature with huge eyes. Perhaps these are the workers that keep the ServerVerse up and running. We even see one later refereeing the basketball game.
Don Cheadle demands to play basketball for the fate of LeBron’s son, which is a goofy excuse for this to be a basketball movie. Why would this A.I. want LeBron’s son? Perhaps he’s tech savvy and can benefit it somehow?
He then tells his adorable little worker to send him to “the rejects.” There’s a lottery wheel with different worlds listed on it, like Hogwarts from Harry Potter, Orbit City from The Jetsons, Thundera from ThunderCats, and Bedrock from The Flintstones. The wheel, of course, lands on Tune World, home of the Looney Tunes.
LeBron is ejected into Tune World with the iconic Looney Tunes theme playing. Here, everything, including LeBron himself, is 2D animated like the classic Looney Tunes cartoons. The physics seem to work like the old cartoons as well. That could lead to some fun gags.
This is when we are introduced to Bugs Bunny, one of the most iconic cartoon characters ever created. He even says his “What’s up, Doc?” catchphrase. It’s hard not to feel excited to see Bugs in a new movie.
A remix of the unforgettable Space Jam theme plays as we see more planets, like one for Casablanca and one for DC Comics (with half of it clearly being Gotham City with the Bat Signal and the other half looking more like Metropolis).
LeBron and Bugs (who is wearing Marvin the Martian’s helmet for some reason) make a list for a basketball dream team. This list includes Superman, Gandalf, King Kong, and the Iron Giant. This team sounds unbeatable. It certainly makes one wonder why they don’t use this team and instead go with the Looney Tunes cast.
It’s also worth noting that this scene takes place on a spaceship. This is likely Marvin the Martian’s ship, and may be what they use to travel to other Warner Bros. worlds.
Bugs introduces to the team they’ll really be playing with, the Looney Tunes cast we know and love, including Daffy Duck, Lola Bunny, Sylvester, Tweety, Elmer Fudd, Wile E. Coyote, Porky Pig, Foghorn Leghorn, and more. Where the classic TV series has each character mostly staying in their own sketches, it’s always fun when we get to see them together.
In one of the funniest moments in the trailer, Daffy asks Yosemite Sam to shoot the ball, but he takes it a little too seriously and shoots the ball with his guns. When the smoke clears, Daffy’s bill is on the back of his head. It truly feels like a classic Looney Tunes gag.
LeBron James becomes live-action again, making the film more of a live-action/animation hybrid film like the original movie was. This time, however, Bugs and the rest of the gang become more 3D animated during the transformation. This is likely to blend them in better with the other franchises seen in the movie without it feeling like too many styles to experience at once.
This is where the trailer gets insane, so I’m sorry if some details are missed. This movie will clearly require multiple viewings to spot everything.
The Mystery Machine from Scooby-Doo speeds down a road as the Iron Giant stomps closely behind them. Behind the Iron Giant is the Evil Scientist castle from “Hair-Raising Hare,” the Looney tunes episode where bugs had his first encounter with Gossamer the hairy monster.
A dragon from Game of Thrones, Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo, Magilla Gorilla, Jabberjaw, the Flintstones, a car from Wacky Races, Captain Caveman, King Kong, characters from Small Foot, and most likely others all follow the Mystery Machine and the Iron Giant. They’re all heading in the same direction. Maybe they’re all heading to a highly-anticipated basketball game.
Don Cheadle’s A.I. character stands on the sidelines of the game and is ecstatic about how it’s going. It’s likely going in his favor. He definitely wants LeBron’s son badly, so hopefully we find out why. Cheadle is surrounded by characters from TV and movies, including Baby Jane from Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, Morpheus and Agent Smith from The Matrix, a flying monkey from The Wizard of Oz, and Pennywise from It.
The next shot of the trailer shows countless characters gathering to watch the big game. Some of the characters included are King Kong, Penelope Pitstop from Wacky Races, Dino from The Flintstones, Mystery Inc. from Scooby-Doo, the Iron Giant, Peter Potamus, Space Ghost, Magilla Gorilla, and plenty more. Those brave enough may take the time to spot the thousands of characters in attendance.
This shot also features a couple of potentially-important plot details. The blimp features the same symbol as the elevator did when LeBron’s son gets off at the wrong stop. It looks like it says ALG TV. I sense that Al-G Rhythm (Don Cheadle) may be controlling a lot in this world. The jumbotron features a growing number of followers. Maybe this game will be live-broadcasted on social media for the whole world to see, and not just the beloved characters in attendance.
The updated uniforms for the Tune Squad are revealed, and they look swanky. It’s clear the designers took details from the classic uniform and put more of a futuristic spin on the look.
The Jetsons, Jabberjaw, a flying monkey, Frankenstein Jr., Penelope Pitstop, and other characters who we’ve mostly seen already are on the sidelines when the Tune Squad is revealed in-uniform. It’s likely that these are different shots from the same big game, so we’ll see the same characters in the same seats in the audience a lot.
The environment looks rather interesting in quite a few of these scenes. There are buildings in the style of classic Warner Bros. cartoons, but in 3D for the first time. It’s a fun way to update some of these iconic settings from decades ago while keeping their essence.
We’re introduced to who the Tune Squad will be facing off against this time around, and it’s not the Monstars. This time it’s a team called the Goon Squad, and its members appear to have superpowers, like flight, superspeed, and the ability to turn into water and fire. There’s also a spider-human hybrid and a snake-human hybrid. They’re sure to give the Tune Squad a run for their money, but if you take into account their own abilities, like the Road Runner’s speed and Tweety’s flight, they may be a surprisingly even match. It looks as though these Goon Squad players are played by real-life NBA and WNBA athletes.
There are plenty more characters who appear in the background while the Goon Squad shows off their abilities, like the Joker, Doc Brown, the Herculoids, War Boys from Mad Max: Fury Road, the Animaniacs, Ma Fratelli from The Goonies, and Catwoman.
The court they play on and the hoops look like they are made out of neon lights, which is both a cool aesthetic and makes them appear like they are in a digital realm, which we know they are.
I don’t doubt that this Looney Tunes movie will have a happy ending, but it looks as though there will be some emotional moments according to the scene where LeBron and his wife discuss getting their son back. They seem genuinely concerned about the outcome, and they’re believable.
There are a few more shots of the game in the trailer with even more characters in attendance, including both the classic and Danny DeVito versions of the Penguin, Jim Carrey’s the Mask, Mr. Freeze in his bathrobe from Batman and Robin, the Droogs from A Clockwork Orange, the Great Gazoo, White Walkers from Game of Thrones, Blue Falcon and Dynomutt, Robin, Cheetara from ThunderCats, and a lot more.
Lola Bunny recreates one of LeBron James’ iconic plays with Dwayne Wade when he played for the Miami Heat. She even strikes the same pose as Wade after passing the ball to LeBron. However, to subvert expectations a bit, he hits an invisible firewall instead of dunking the ball, causing him to crash to the ground like the honorary Looney Tune he will now become.
The trailer closes with its funniest part. Granny “goes old school” on one of the members of the Goon Squad, scoring a basket and getting 30 bonus points for her senior discount. It’ll be exciting to see more Looney Tunes shenanigans throughout the film.
By the looks of it, even though there are an awful lot of character references in the background, it seems that most of them will not play much of a role outside of watching the basketball game, similar to all the cartoon characters in the stands of the original film.
Despite there being a gratuitous amount of character references, the story is clearly still focused on the Looney Tunes and LeBron James. It seems like there will be just as many laughs and as much heart as the original. It’s sure to be a blast for those who are nostalgic for the original and for a brand new generation. There will definitely be someone out there who spends hours trying to pinpoint every character who appears in the audience, and I congratulate them on their hard work. However, it’ll be fun just to see the Tune Squad play ball again.
Some questions have definitely arisen due to this trailer, though. Why does Don Cheadle want LeBron James’ son so bad? Why was the ServerVerse created? Will Michael Jordan appear or at least be referenced? Where is Bill Murray? Only time will tell when Space Jam: a New Legacy releases in theaters and on HBO Max on July 16, 2021.