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It's been more than four years since we first learned that NBA superstar LeBron James would follow in Michael Jordan's footsteps with a follow-up to the '90s classic Space Jam, and now the wait is almost over. The film, which pairs James with the classic Looney Tunes line-up for another basketball-based battle against a cosmic foe, is set to hit theaters and streaming next summer, but while there are certain assumptions we can make, we still know very little about the plot. Thankfully, James is beginning to open up just a little bit about what we can expect from Space Jam: A New Legacy.
So, what's coming in the new film? Well, for one thing, James says we shouldn't expect a full-on sequel.
"It's not a sequel," James, fresh off an NBA Finals win with the Los Angeles Lakers, said on a new episode of the Road Trippin' podcast. "It's called Space Jam: A New Legacy, it's not called Space Jam 2. Space Jam: New Legacy. There will be a basketball game, I'll say that. And there will be some people that are a little bit out of this world that we're competing against."
In the original Space Jam, Jordan and the Looney Tunes competed in a basketball game against the Monstars, a group of mutated aliens who'd stolen talent from top NBA players in an effort to defeat the Tunes as part of a wager that would allow them to enslave Bugs, Daffy and the gang as intergalactic theme park attraction. Notably, James revealed this week that while we can expect more "out of this world" opponents this time around, A New Legacy will not feature the return of the Monstars.
"You can call them that. They have a different name. I won't give the name," James said when asked if he was referring to Monstars. "But it's more of a family movie. It's a parenting movie between me and my son, and me trying to demand my son to do something because I was taught that way growing up. Demand my son to play basketball. 'This is all you're gonna do, this is how you do it.' And me as a parent not listening to my son and not believing in what my son is actually great at. It's a tackling between me being a parent and supporting my son, and my son basically turning off at some point and me trying to regain that trust throughout the movie. Along with the great Bugs Bunny, and Lola, and Taz, and Tweety, and all of them."
It's also interesting that James sets his film apart by bringing up the family component of the plot. Space Jam featured a fictionalized version of Michael Jordan's family, and they were a key emotional focal point for certain scenes, but that film's plot hinged a little more on Jordan's real-life 1993 retirement from basketball to attempt a baseball career. The Tunes came to Jordan at a time when he was no longer a professional NBA player, and the final film depicts his decision to return to the NBA in 1995 as part of his arc after battling the Monstars. Since James is obviously not retiring from the NBA just yet, A New Legacy will head in a different direction, and it'll be interesting to see how that family angle factors into the overall story.
James also noted that he's headed back for reshoots on the film next week, and that he's hoping movie theaters will be fully opened by the summer of 2021 so everyone can see A New Legacy on the big screen. Even if that's not the case, we'll all have an opportunity to view the film at home, as Space Jam: A New Legacy is one of several major genre films that make up WarnerMedia's 2021 release slate, all of which will get a same-day streaming release on HBO Max.
Space Jam: A New Legacy arrives in theaters and on streaming July 16, 2021.