(CBS) – It’s been more than 20 years since Michael Jordan teamed up with Bugs Bunny to play a high-stakes basketball game against aliens in “Space Jam.” And in two years, LeBron James will find himself in a similar situation next to Bugs. “Space Jam 2” will premiere on July 16, 2021, James’ production company, SpringHill Entertainment, announced on Twitter. James will take the lead role in the franchise made famous by Michael Jordan.
Millennials who grew up loving the half cartoon, half live-action film rejoiced at the news. Sports reporter Rob Perez pointed out that the premiere date, July 16, may have been chosen to pay homage to both the original “Space Jam” star and the new one: Adding the 16th day of the 7th month equals 23, which is Jordan’s — and LeBron’s — number.
Not only did Jordan star alongside Warner Brothers cartoon characters in the 1996 film, but fellow basketball stars joined him on screen. Larry Bird and Charles Barkley had roles in the original “Space Jam,” and fans are now guessing which current players might join James in the sequel.
The premiere date also has many fans wondering what the following NBA season might look like. “LeBron James has a player option decision due 15 days before this debuts,” a fan tweeted; “hold on a second WHAT IF LEBRON IS GOING TO ANNOUNCE HIS DECISION IN SPACE JAM 2,” he suggested in another tweet.
While this is just one fan’s speculation, several others commented on the timing of the premiere date release. “LeBron releasing the Space Jam 2 date right before he begins heroically carrying the Lakers to the playoffs is next-level marketing,” one Twitter user wrote.
Fans will have to wait two years until they see what breaking basketball news, if any, is revealed in “Space Jam 2.” One thing that seems certain is that both Bugs and Lola Bunny will be in the movie, judging by the image SpringHill Entertainment tweeted.
“Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler is set to produce the film and Terence Nance of “Random Acts of Flyness” will serve as director. This will be James’ first starring role in a film. In 2015, he made an appearance in “Trainwreck” alongside Amy Schumer and Bill Hader. When it was announced James signed on for the “Space Jam” sequel, the basketball star said, “The ‘Space Jam’ collaboration is so much more than just me and the Looney Tunes getting together and doing this movie.”
“It’s so much bigger. I’d just love for kids to understand how empowered they can feel and how empowered they can be if they don’t just give up on their dreams,” he told The Hollywood Reporter in September 2018.