The 'Space Jam' Sequel That Never Happened

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If you grew up in the 1990s, there's a good chance Space Jam was one of those movies you watched religiously. I'm one of those people, and I can tell you that a big part of the appeal is the concept. Let one of the greatest athletes in the world -- in this case, Michael Jordan -- pair him with a wild, wacky Looney Tunes, and let chaos ensue. It seems like a winning formula. Not only was the film a massive box office success, but its soundtrack won two Grammys and its official website is still thriving today. Making a sequel is certainly not a difficult task.

Yet it is true. Over the years, Warner Bros. has attempted to follow up Space Jam with a series of sequels, with the first attempt coming not long after the original film's success. Once again, Jordan could have teamed up with Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Tunes to win a basketball game -- but there's a new villain in it. Instead of alien monsters, Jordan and Tunes will be up against a strange new alien named Berserk-O.

Michael Jordan Wouldn't Sign on to the 'Space Jam' Sequel

Joe Pitka and Tony Cervone, who directed the first Space Jam live-action and animated series, both joined the sequel. Cervone also brought in fellow animator and collaborator Spike Brandt, while Mel Brooks was brought in to voice Berserk-O. But things fell through when one of the producers failed to secure Jordan's participation. "I think the whole point of it - like a lot of sequels - is to just profit off of the success of the original," said Bob Camp, the artist who designed Berserk-O, when discussing the sequel's eventual fate. "It's not a good idea for people to want to make a movie out of it. It's just, 'Hey, Michael Jordan is a cash cow! Let's milk him as hard as we can!'"

No One Knew What 'Space Jam's Sequel Was About

There were other problems besides the lack of Jordan. First off, no one knows exactly what the Space Jam sequel will be about. "They didn't really talk to me about it," Kemp said when discussing designing Berserk-O. "They just said draw him." Camp also had a brief but rather unpleasant interaction with Pytka, who was fine Known for its fiery outbursts. Ironically, even though he wasn't involved in the Space Jam sequel, Jordan went on to make a series of commercials and star alongside Looney Tunes.

Undaunted, Warner Bros. started over with the design. Since Jordan wasn't on the list, the studio decided to turn to other major athletes -- and one in particular came out on top. Pytka recalls that Warner Bros. tried to land him in a Space Jam sequel, casting Tiger Woods in the main role. But he turned it down because he hated the idea and felt Woods would never be able to match Jordan. "Bugs Bunny and Looney Tunes, they're rejuvenated because of Michael. There's never going to be another Michael Jordan. There's only two athletes with that charisma: Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali," he said in an interview celebrating the film's 20th anniversary Say Anniversary. Robot Chicken — a show that airs as Adult Swim on the WB-owned Cartoon Network — will offer its own raunchy take on the situation.

Looney Tunes will return to the big screen in 2003 with Looney Tunes: The Return In action, originally started as a project called Spy Jam - and with Jackie Chan, no less! Production on Spy Jam and Race Jam — which was supposed to star NASCAR icon Jeff Gordon — was halted when Back in Action began filming, though WB would be approaching Tony Hawk for a project called Skate Jam. Unfortunately, Back In Action was a box office flop and Skate Jam was shelved.

'Space Jam' Finally Got Its Sequel

Eventually, Space Jam got a sequel, Space Jam: A New Legacy. The basketball superstar will once again team up with Tunes; this time it's LeBron James, who is playing a game to save his son from a malicious computer program called Al G Rhythm (Don Cheadle). Like its predecessor, The New Legacy has been met with harsh criticism - this time around the fact that it was felt to be essentially a giant advertisement for the Warner Bros. film catalog. After all this time, it looks like the first Space Jam will serve as a case for catching lightning in a bottle.

Space Jam: The New Legacy is available on HBO Max. Looney Tunes: Return to Action Available Stream on Tubi.

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