'Space Jam 2' To Get Rewrite By Ryan Coogler As LeBron James Struggles To Cast Sequel

After years of development, it looked like Space Jam 2 was gaining steam once NBA superstar LeBron James officially signed on last year to star in and produce the sequel to the 1996 film. However, it seems like Space Jam 2 will be sidelined for a little longer as producer Ryan Coogler teams up with Searching co-writer Sev Ohanian to pen a Space Jam 2 rewrite while James negotiates a sneaker contract that may prevent NBA stars from showing up in the film entirely.

A new report from The Hollywood Reporter spells out some troubles for Space Jam 2, and it all has to do with sneaker contracts. LeBron James is having trouble recruiting fellow NBA stars for his team on Space Jam 2 thanks to a sneaker contract rivalry, which hinders the L.A. Lakers star from enacting his plan to use part of this NBA offseason to begin shooting the sequel.

Rival sneaker contracts are proving to be a giant roadblock for Warner Bros. which is currently trying to negotiate the appearances of stars like Stephen Curry, James Harden and Kevin Durant. However, because of Nike's association with the Space Jam franchise — the brand is inextricably linked to Space Jam, with the 1996 first film based on the "Hare Jordan" commercial by director Joe Pytka — this makes the involvement of other stars nearly impossible. Curry has an Under Armour contract through 2024, while Harden attached to Adidas. Meanwhile Durant, who is a key member of Team Nike, is pursuing his own Hollywood career with an Apple series Swagger, based on his life.

However, there's one silver lining to Space Jam 2's prolonged production issues. Coogler is stepping up to rewrite the sequel with the co-writer of Searching — one of last year's tightest, most gripping scripts. Coogler has the golden touch when it comes to reviving franchises and imbuing them with a fresh sense of purpose, as seen in his near-perfect script and direction for Creed. With Coogler more heavily involved, the Space Jam 2 script sounds infinitely more interesting. Here is what the script entails so far, according to THR:

Those familiar with the script say Space Jam 2 will rely less heavily on a Dream Team of hoops luminaries than the Michael Jordan-led film, which saw more than a dozen real-life NBA stars cameo and grossed $231 million worldwide, not adjusted for inflation. Instead, LeBron's family arc is key, with a yet-to-be-cast teen character named Dom as the second lead, sources say.

Warner Bros. Pictures has set a summer 2021 release date for the live-action and animation hybrid, but that may soon change.