Space Jam 2 casts Don Cheadle in an unknown role. After years of lingering in development hell, a followup to the 1990s touchstone, Space Jam, is finally on the way. With a July 2021 release date in place, the film is currently in production under the direction of Terence Nance. Black Panther director Ryan Coogler is also a prominent member of the creative team, producing Space Jam 2 and co-writing the script. LeBron James headlines a cast of all-star NBA and WNBA players, which includes Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson, and several other famous faces from the sport.
Obviously, much attention was given to the basketball players appearing in Space Jam 2, but the movie is making room for traditional actors as well. Star Trek Discovery’s Sonequa Martin-Green joined the film in March, playing LeBron’s onscreen wife. And even though Space Jam 2 is in the midst of shooting, there are still some roles left to be cast.
According to Deadline, Cheadle has joined the Space Jam 2 cast, though details about his character are unknown at this time. Cheadle was last seen on the big screen in this April’s Avengers: Endgame, where he reprised his role as James Rhodes/War Machine for the seventh time (including an uncredited appearance in the Captain Marvel post-credits scene).
Though most viewers these days will recognize Cheadle for his work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, his career spans several decades and a wide variety of roles that showcased his range as an actor. Cheadle was nominated for an Oscar for his work in Hotel Rwanda, and he has several other awards nods to his name thanks to an extensive résumé in both film and television. Cheadle’s demonstrated a penchant for both drama and comedy over the years, and is comfortable handling just about any material given to him. So, he should prove to be a natural fit in Space Jam 2, which will likely be more of a light-hearted film. As for characters he could play, Cheadle might be a member of LeBron’s social circle, a sports agent, or someone else entirely. With his talents, it’s hard to guess at this juncture.
Using the original Space Jam as a template, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine Cheadle filling a role similar to what Bill Murray or Wayne Knight did in the first film. That being said, it’s a bit premature to call Space Jam 2 a carbon copy of its predecessor that’ll rehash the same story beats. The film is envisioned as a reboot of the property, not a sequel, and Coogler has demonstrated an ability to inject fresh life into sports movie franchises before (see: Creed). It wouldn’t be surprising if Space Jam 2 mixed things up and put its own spin on the concept, while still paying respects to the first film.
More: 10 Things We Know So Far About Space Jam 2