Space Jam: A New Legacy is a 2021 American live-action/animated sports comedy film directed by Malcolm D. Lee, serving as a standalone sequel to Space Jam (1996). It is the first theatrically released film to feature the Looney Tunes characters since Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003), and is also a combination of live-action, traditional hand-drawn animation, and 3D CGI effects. The film stars basketball player LeBron James as a fictionalized version of himself, along with Don Cheadle, Khris Davis, and Sonequa Martin-Green in live-action roles, while Jeff Bergman, Eric Bauza, and Zendaya headline the Looney Tunes voice cast. Set in a shared Warner Bros. virtual space multiverse, the film follows LeBron James teaming up with the Looney Tunes to win a basketball match against digitized champions to rescue his son from Al-G Rhythm, a rogue AI program.
Talks for a Space Jam successor began after the release of the first film, which Joe Pytka would have returned to direct. Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone signed on as the animation supervisors, but eventually, the deal fell through due to Michael Jordan’s refusal to return. Several possible spin-offs focusing on other athletes, including Jeff Gordon, Tiger Woods, and Tony Hawk, were also discussed but never came to fruition. After several years of languishing, a LeBron James-led sequel was officially announced in 2014 with filming beginning under Terence Nance in June 2019 around Los Angeles. After a few weeks into filming, Nance left the project and Lee was hired to replace him in July 2019.
Space Jam: A New Legacy is scheduled to be released by Warner Bros. Pictures in the United States on July 16, 2021, both in theaters and on HBO Max for a month after its theatrical release. The film has received generally negative reviews from critics, who praised the animation but criticized the overuse of Warner Bros.’ IPs and having a similar plot to the original film.