Everybody get up it’s time to slam now, we got a real jam goin’ down, welcome to the Space Jam… sequel.
After years of rumors and discussion, Space Jam 2 is officially a go with LeBron James starring, Terence France directing, and Black Panther‘s Ryan Coogler producing. It has all the makings of a potential All-Star team — and yet they still have to fill out the roster.
In the original, Michael Jordan had the ultimate ’90s squad, with Patrick Ewing, Shawn Bradley, Larry Johnson, Muggsy Bogues, and Charles Barkley as the NBA players who get their powers taken by the Monstars, Larry Bird as Jordan’s rival/golf buddy, Bill Murray as himself/Bird and Jordan’s golf buddy/the Toon Squad’s crucial sub, and Seinfeld actor Wayne Knight as Jordan’s goofy sidekick.
That is hard to top, but if anyone can do it, it’s LeBron (despite Space Jam director Joe Pytka’s objections). But with an HBO show, having to parent three children, and preparing for a basketball season on a new team, EW has decided to help the Los Angeles Laker star build his supporting cast (Bugs, Daffy, Lola, and crew will all be back, of course).
There’s three reasons why this a slam dunk. 1) Irving and James have already won a championship as costars, so they’ve exhibited chemistry together. 2) Irving demanded a trade away from James, so there’s also some friction that would be fascinating to watch. 3) Irving just headlined his own basketball movie, Uncle Drew, so he’s got something resembling acting experience.
This has to happen. The Philadelphia 76er has already shown a flare for the dramatic with his advances on Rihanna, trash talking, and hilarious Twitter antics. Plus, he’s basically the closest thing that we have to Charles Barkley from a personality standpoint.
With this star-studded cast, it’s going to be hard to evenly distribute the dialogue (Embiid is probably coming up with alternate lines as we speak). So for cast chemistry, there’s a need for a silent assassin and no one fits the bill better than Leonard, who surely would actually prefer to have a non-speaking part.
Considering the WNBA didn’t begin until the year after Space Jam was released, we will forgive the film for its male-dominated cast. But it’s now 2018, and there’s no good reason not to include the Michael Jordan of the WNBA, who might be the only person still playing that is just as decorated as LeBron.
Space Jam 2 needs their Shawn Bradley — an out of this world giant — and the 7-foot-3 Serbian is a natural choice. Plus, the Los Angeles Clipper is already destined for Hollywood stardom after his upcoming appearance in John Wick 3.
Larry Bird appears in the original film as himself, playing a round of golf with Jordan and Bill Murray. It’s not a big role for the Hall of Famer, but it’s still an important one. And while Bird and Jordan were never NBA teammates (they did play on the Dream Team together), LeBron’s former Miami Heat running partner Dwyane Wade has to be the pick here. Maybe an even bigger reason for adding Wade is to set up the next selection…
Yes, I like the symmetry of casting Wade’s wife opposite him, but there’s more to this decision than marriage. While, on paper, Union seems like a strange choice to be the new Bill Murray, if you look deeper, the actress has the pedigree. Let’s recap: She’s funny, she’s worked with LeBron, she’s starred in a basketball movie (Love & Basketball), and she’s been the captain of a very successful squad.
Brian Tyree Henry
The Atlanta star and Wayne Knight have literally nothing in common other than the fact that they both appeared on hit comedies. But Henry would be perfect as the new Stan, because his inevitable reactions to being in Looney Tune Land would definitely be worth the price of admission.
Production on Space Jam 2 (hopefully with this cast) is set to begin the summer of 2019.