The new Space Jam movie starring LeBron James is being positioned as a franchise reboot, rather than a sequel to the 1996 original. A followup to the classic basketball film has been in the works for a while, and was once envisioned as a possible vehicle for Fast & Furious director Justin Lin. After years of rumors and speculation, the project is finally taking the necessary steps forward to becoming a reality. Terrence Nance was reportedly in talks to direct the film last month, and Black Panther's Ryan Coogler recently became attached as a producer.
Legacy sequels and nostalgia are all the rage in pop culture these days, so it's understandable why Warner Bros. is interested in making a new Space Jam installment. The first film remains something of a touchstone for millennials who grew up with it, and with the NBA more popular than ever, viewers should be interested to see the property return. Plot details have been hard to come by (especially since it's still in the earliest stages of development), but now we know some key information about the movie's story.
In a feature about James' rising profile in Hollywood, THR revealed both James and his business manager Maverick Carter stated their Space Jam is not a sequel, which essentially makes this a proper reboot. The two hope the film is successful enough to spawn sequels.
Since this new film is freed from the continuity of the '96 original, it will be interesting to see what differences there are between the two versions. The first Space Jam saw NBA legend Michael Jordan team up with the Looney Tunes to win a basketball game, and while James' edition will likely follow a similar premise, there will likely be some notable variances. It would be a shame (and a waste of the talent involved) if the reboot was nothing more than a beat-for-beat remake of its predecessor. Having Coogler onboard should help in this capacity, as he has demonstrated an ability to find fresh spins on classic brands before (see: Creed reinventing the Rocky franchise). Everyone involved with the new Space Jam is dedicated to making it "great," so hopefully James and company are able to work their magic.
While it's great to see the next Space Jam coming together, fans will still have a ways to wait before it's released. Production isn't expected to start until summer 2019 during the NBA offseason. Part of the reason why James signed with the Los Angeles Lakers was to advance his burgeoning career in the entertainment industry, but his job still takes precedence over making a movie. Whenever the Lakers' season is over, James can then shift gears and bring Space Jam back.