From the earliest days when rumors of a Space Jam 2 first began, it seemed clear that what both fans and the studio wanted to do was largely recreate the concept of the original Space Jam, and simply replace Michael Jordan, who starred in the original film, with Lebron James. And for the most part, that seems to be what we're getting. The new movie will include basketball players, Looney Tunes, and a game of basketball, but beyond that it's not even clear if the new movie, which is officially called A New Legacy, is actually connected to the first Space Jam in any significant way. Except that apparently Michael Jordan will actually appear in the new movie, in some unspecified and unexpected way.

Don Cheadle, who co-stars in the new film, confirmed to Access that Michael Jordan does, in fact, appear in the new film. But he then added a caveat that creates more questions than it does answers. According to Cheadle...

Michael Jordan is in the movie, but not in the way you’d expect it.

Of course, "not in the way you'd expect" covers a lot of ground. It would seem to eliminate a straight cameo appearance by Michael Jordan. That would be a thing people would expect if you told them Jordan was in the film. It probably also eliminates simply reusing footage from the original Space Jam. I would call that something we might expect to see, and thus, would seem to be eliminated from contention.

Beyond that, however, anything else would seem to be on the table. The most likely option could be Michael Jordan voicing an animated character in the film. He could voice an animated version of himself, or he could voice another character and appear as more of easter egg in the new Space Jam. This idea has promise because it would have been pretty simple to pull off with Jordan only needing to find the time to record some dialogue lines and not actually have to show up to the film production itself.

On the other hand, it could be something much more simple, MIchael Jordan being "in the movie" could literally just be a picture of him that appears someplace in the film. Maybe there's a team photo in Bugs Bunny's house of everybody who won the game in the first movie. Or maybe, someplace in the digital world that Lebron James gets trapped in, we see a clip from an old Nike commercial. That was where the entire concept for Space Jam first began, so seeing a reference to it wouldn't be that surprising. Perhaps we could even get a "new" Nike commercial in the movie and that's one way that Jordan actually could cameo but in an unexpected way.

We'll find out when Space Jam: A new Legacy arrives in theaters and on HBO Max in July.

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