Black Panther’s director will produce the sequel to 1996’s classic Space Jam, reports The Hollywood Reporter. Ryan Coogler has the endorsement of LeBron James, who is set to star and whose SpringHill Entertainment is involved with the project.
Terence Nance will direct Space Jam 2 (its provisional title), which is tentatively scheduled for 2019 during the NBA’s off-season (roughly June to late October).
A sequel to Space Jam, which starred Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny, Bill Murray and an ensemble of NBA and Looney Tunes all-time greats, has long been rumored. In 2016, Justin Lin, the director of Star Trek Beyond and four of the movies in the Fast and Furious series, was said to be directing.
SpringHill Entertainment confirmed the hire with this image on Instagram.
Coogler directed the acclaimed Fruitvale Station in 2013, following that with Creed, the newest chapter in the Rocky Balboa saga that was likewise a critical and commercial hit in 2015. Coogler is producing a Creed sequel, premiering in November.
But February’s Black Panther took Coogler from a director of renown into a moneymaking guarantor of hits. Black Panther grossed more than $1 billion worldwide, Disney announced about a month after its launch.
James told THR that he “loved [Coogler’s] vision” for Black Panther and said it fits with what he wants to do for kids with Space Jam 2.
“I’d just love for kids to understand how empowered they can feel and how empowered they can be if they don’t just give up on their dreams,” James told THR. “And I think Ryan did that for a lot of people.”
LeBron James is a four-time NBA MVP, three-time NBA champion and a surefire hall of famer. At the time of Space Jam’s November 1996 premiere, Jordan was also a four-time NBA MVP, and had won his fourth NBA championship. He was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. No word yet if Jordan, currently the owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, will return in any role for this sequel.
For more on Space Jam, see its official page.