Space Jam: A New Legacy ascended to the top spot of the domestic box office in its opening weekend, grossing $31 million across nearly 4,000 theaters in the United States.
While the film has largely been banned by critics—the film has a 32 percent Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes—audiences seem to be much more positive toward the second Space Jam movie, which features NBA superstar LeBron James. The first one, of course, starred arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, who did not make a cameo in the second film. But that wasn’t because A New Legacy director Malcolm D. Lee did not want it.
In an interview with EW, Lee revealed his plan for Jordan had he agreed to make a cameo in A New Legacy would have made reference to Jordan’s popular documentary miniseries that aired last year, The Last Dance.
“We were holding out hope, but also knew that the likelihood was going to be very remote,” Lee said. “Especially after The Last Dance came out, I was like, we’ve got to be able to do something, even like a tag at the very end after the credits with Bugs showing him the movie and saying, ‘What do you think, Doc?’ And just Jordan going, ‘I took that very personal.’ I wanted to do it! It would have been fantastic, but our movie is our movie and Space Jam is Space Jam.”
Ultimately, Michael Jordan, the basketball player, did not appear. Michael B. Jordan, the actor, did make a cameo, however, in a comedic moment that Lee said he adamant to not use in marketing because it was “too good to sacrifice.”
Space Jam: A New Legacy is currently in theaters and available on the HBO Max streaming service. If you want to watch the original Space Jam, it’s on HBO Max and Hulu.