LeBron James in Space Jam. LeBron James in Space Jam.

The film is called Space Jam: A New Legacy, but a better title might have been Space Jam: Everything but the Kitchen Sink. The first trailer, released this morning, is a “manic” (that’s Warner Bros.’ own description) blend of live-action, animation, and vfx, plus seemingly every IP owned by Warnermedia, including The Iron Giant, the Hanna-Barbera universe, the DC universe, A Clockwork Orange, Thundercats, and The Game of Thrones.

Less reminiscent of Space Jam, it feels tonally more like a Warner Bros.-themed reboot of the coke-addled Bakshi hybrid Cool World. Watch the trailer below:

The premise is ultimately similar to the original — there’s basketball, Looney Tunes, and a comedic sensibility — but the details are different: bye bye Michael Jordan, hello LeBron James and evil A.I. humanoids. In the film, James — who plays a version of himself — and his onscreen son Dom (Cedric Joe) are sucked into the “Serververse,” a digital world inhabited by a rogue digital humanoid (Don Cheadle). Needless to say, things culminate in a basketball game.

The sequel has been a long time coming. When the original proved a hit, Warner Bros. targeted a follow-up, but Jordan wasn’t interested. Proposals to move forward with other stars, including Jackie Chan and Tiger Woods, went nowhere. James was approached 15 years ago but passed, as he told Entertainment Weekly. But after turbocharging his acting career with a role in Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck, he felt ready for the Space Jam role.

Malcolm D. Lee (Girls Trip, Night School) directs, having replaced Terence Nance, who left in 2019 over creative differences with the producers. The screenplay is by Juel Taylor, Tony Rettenmaier, Keenan Coogler, and Terence Nance.

The producers are Ryan Coogler, LeBron James, Maverick Carter, and Duncan Henderson, and the executive producers are Sev Ohanian, Zinzi Coogler, Allison Abbate, Jesse Ehrman, Jamal Henderson, Spencer Beighley, Justin Lin, Terence Nance, and Ivan Reitman. The 2d animation producer is Troy Nethercott. Lots of different studios worked on the animation, which we’ll talk more about in due course.

Space Jam: A New Legacy will be released on HBO Max and in theaters on July 16.

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