Space Jam 2 Seems To Be Moving Forward, Has Disney Royalty Working On Its Animation

Bugs and Lola Bunny in Space Jam
(Image credit: (Warner Bros))

In a week full of cancellations and delays, Space Jam 2 is still pushing forward. The upcoming sequel starring LeBron James finished shooting back in September, and now the animators are busy adding in the performances of his costars Bugs, Daffy and the rest of the Looney Tunes. One recent update from one of the film’s animators offers an especially confident look at the Looney Tunes feature film.

Tony Bancroft is Disney royalty. The animator created iconic characters such as Cogsworth for Beauty and the Beast, Pumbaa for The Lion King, Iago for Aladdin and Kronk for The Emperor’s New Groove. Oh and he directed 1998’s Mulan. Bancroft has now revealed his progress on Space Jam 2. Take a look:

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As the animator announced on his Twitter, he’s been over at Warner Bros since January animating for the new live-action/animation hybrid basketball release. As Tony Bancroft explained, he is now working from home in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whew! Sounds like post-production has not stalled for Space Jam 2 after all.

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.

Space Jam 2 stars Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James as he teams up with the Looney Tunes, just like Michael Jordan did in the ‘90s. He’ll be joined by other star basketball players including Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson and Damian Lillard. Star Trek: Discovery’s Sonequa Martin-Green will play LeBron’s wife and Don Cheadle will play an undisclosed role. The sequel will be directed by Girls Trip and Night School filmmaker, Malcolm D. Lee.

This is especially good news for NBA fans following the official suspension of the basketball season due to coronavirus concerns. Multiple NBA players have tested positive for the virus. Space Jam 2 looks like it will be on schedule to hit theaters on July 16, 2021, and keep checking back with CinemaBlend for updates on its progress.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.