Despite challenges, Space Jam 2 'getting closer everyday'

Contributed by
Aug 3, 2017

Who knew that one of the more challenging sequels to produce would be… Space Jam 2? Looney Tunes, NBA players, what could be tough about this? Well, apparently a lot. Logistically, Space Jam 2 is a tough film to coordinate, since Lebron James is scheduled to be the star of the film. 

Most NBA players have an offseason that runs from mid-April through mid-August. However, James, who has reached the NBA finals seven straight years in a row, has a much smaller window, as he’s ending his season two full months later, in mid-June. That really gives Lin one guaranteed month to work with James as long as he keeps playing in the NBA finals. Bear with me, SYFY WIRE readers, for the following sports talk, but it does matter in regard to Space Jam 2.

James' current team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, are still likely one of the teams to beat in a weak Eastern Conference, even with the potential of superstar point guard Kyrie Irving trade hot on everyone’s mind in the world of sports and hot takes. James is a free agent in in 2018, and with many suitors vying to add him to their team, including both Los Angeles teams, the Clippers and Lakers, so having an in-season home in Los Angeles would open up a more flexible schedule of availability.

Now, James is also just one cast member, and when you have several other NBA players to worry about how they spend their offseason, it’s a full-blown nightmare. It’s got director Justin Lin (Star Trek Beyond, Fast & The Furious 6) in a quandary there; plus, the challenge of revisiting a story 20 years later with a new cast isn’t the easiest approach. Looney Tunes was a fixture on television for every child in America. It’s since vanished from basic cable and from the minds of youths for years -- a real tragedy for those who know.

“I feel like I’ve gone done nine different iterations already and we’re going to keep going,” Lin told IGN while promoting his CBS television series, S.W.A.T. “But we’re getting closer every day.”

In other words, Lin is going take his time to find the right path to the sequel, that’s relevant.

The original Space Jam was a box-office gem; it was released in 1996 and featured Michael Jordan and an army of Looney Tunes cast in a game of basketball against some unpleasant aliens. It was a mixture of live action and animation and was adored by adults and kids alike, but that’s not necessarily the way Lin could go with a sequel, which may still be years away. That is the reality on any animated film, much less a hybrid film with live-action performances.  

Lin could go 100 percent animation, and then James could do voice recordings from any number of cities and studios. Lots of animated series record in several locations and then mix the audio later. Take the animated series Archer, for example. Upon watching that series, you would have no idea that each cast member records alone. However, if he wants James in live action, that adds complexity to the production, or if he wants to shoot him in motion capture for a CG animated look, you’re looking at a physical performance and voice recordings. All of this multiplies as more players get involved.

As for who would stand in as the Bill Murray presence from the original, Lin said, “There are so many sports and also Space Jam fans. I just run into them, and everybody’s volunteering to be in the movie.”

James should be fine in the lead role, as long as he plays to his strengths and doesn't try to be like Mike. We've seen James in Amy Schumer's Trainwreck, and he held his own. It will be a challenge to find as many NBA players with as much charisma as the ones who appeared in the original, but the league is never short of characters, and Kobe Bryant is free, for starters.

For now, Space Jam fans hoping for a sequel will have to patiently wait and let the fluidity of the NBA run its course, but at least they can take solace that Lin is taking the film seriously and wants to do it the right way.