People have been itching for a new Space Jam movie for literal decades. Cartoon animals playing basketball with real NBA stars against aliens? The world deserves more of that. And now it’s almost here — Space Jam: A New Legacy is slated for release this July, and the first look at the LeBron James/Bugs Bunny team-up has everyone ready for more.
But one part of the preview didn’t go quite as planned.
Fans of the original—mostly male fans—were thrown by the changes to Lola Bunny, who was apparently a sexual awakening for far too many millennial guys back in the day.
There was always a weirdly sexualized female anthropomorphic creature in just about every cartoon in those days, defined largely, if not entirely, by the male animals’ outlandish jaw-dropping, “awooga”-ing responses to her sultry presence.
To that end, some fans are irritated that Lola’s accentuated curves and revealing outfits have been changed from the original.
The new film’s director, Malcolm D. Lee, told Entertainment Weekly that the reason they changed the design is that he feels like it’s “important to reflect the authenticity of strong, capable female characters.”
That comment stirred up its own round of drama from people who were frustrated by the idea that “strong” female characters can’t also be sexy, something we are actually discussing in terms of a cartoon rabbit.
Of course, some people just used the opportunity to poke fun at the whole “discourse.”
As some pointed out, the real litmus test as to whether Lola is “sexualized” will likely be how her character is treated in the film itself, not simply whether she has bunny boobs or not. And for that, we’ll have to wait for the new Space Jam to actually come out.