It’s not clear if, like many other movies, the release or production of “Space Jam 2” — starring Lakers forward LeBron James — will be delayed as the world looks to slow the spread of COVID-19, or the coronavirus.
However, we did get a small update on how the film is coming together this week, as Tony Bancroft — who directed Mulan and has extensive history working on the animation for Disney films — is working as an animator on the next Space Jam movie:
I just started working on the lot at Warner Bros studio in January. Now working from home. Just one more Looney chapter in the making of Space Jam 2. Have Cintiq will travel. #animationyeah #wag #spacejam #looneytunes #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/hxj48FMAn9— Tony Bancroft (@pumbaaguy1) March 14, 2020
That logo up in the top right corner, as far as I can tell, is a new reveal not seen elsewhere publicly. It’s not clear if that’s just a working logo, as it isn’t even confirmed that “Space Jam 2” will be the actual title of the film. James and Maverick Carter have emphasized in interviews that “their version will not be a sequel.” If it’s more of a soft-reboot, the “2” in the title wouldn’t make a ton of sense.
Still, this is the first logo we’ve seen for the film, so maybe the movie is developing into a bit more of a sequel than previously stated? Or, as written above, it may just be a working title/logo for now to shroud what the actual name of the movie will be.
Whatever the case may be, there is also another possible reveal in Bancroft’s tweet, as caught by Sarah El-Mahmoud of Cinema Blend:
There’s another exciting reveal to keep in mind at the center of this announcement. Tony Bancroft specializes in hand-drawn animation. Plus, the “Cintiq” he mentions in his tweet is an interactive pen display device practically made for hand-drawing animators. In other words, it doesn’t sound like Warner Bros is going for a 3D Bugs Bunny… Space Jam 2 will likely echo the style of the 1996 classic.
It’s been a while since a major studio film has gone for 2D hand-drawn animation. Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns did turn to the classic animation format in 2018, which also had Tony Bancroft on board. As the movie musical showcased, 2D animation has improved today and has a certain quality to it against live-action that 3D animation can’t compete with. This detail is sure to get fans of Space Jam nostalgic for the ‘90s as well since that was how most animation was at the time.
For now, other details about the film remain scarce, but we do know that the jerseys are heavily inspired by the original film, and that James has cast an All-Tamper Team as his co-stars. He also built a custom basketball court for them all to practice on during their off-time while on set. Beyond that, there isn’t too much information out there, yet. Expect more updates as we get closer to the movie’s “expected” July 16, 2021 release date.