After The ‘Space Jam’ Sequel Trailer, People Are Missing The Original’s Big Scene-Stealer Bill Murray

Bill Murray isn’t in the forthcoming Space Jam sequel, but his absence was very much felt on Saturday when the movie’s trailer debuted. At one point LeBron James — who replaces original star Michael Jordan and tries to save his son by winning an all-Warner Bros. basketball game — hatches his dream team, and it’s filled with superheroes and sorcerers and giant robots and kaiju: Superman, Gandalf, the Iron Giant, King Kong. That only prompted people to point out that Jordan fared well with the Looney Tunes stars and Bill Murray…and Wayne Knight.

In the 1996 original, Murray technically wasn’t playing himself, but he might as well have. He was simply a Bill Murray-esque actor who was also good friends with Jordan, who was playing himself, more or less. Murray appears relatively late in, offering his assistance in the big game. It was even reportedly Murray’s idea to do the part, even if he declined to return for more.

Space Jam arrived just before the second act of Murray’s career, in which he moved away from goofball roles and started doing more melancholic (but funny!) performances. Just two years he earned the best reviews of his career for Rushmore, and was soon doing others like it, such as Lost in Translation, Broken Flowers, even Hamlet (in which he made for an excellent Polonius). So in a way, Space Jam — along with the following year’s The Man Who Knew Too Little — were farewell to his mostly comedic early period.

So when people saw James hoping to recruit known badasses and not, say, one of the most beloved comic performers in history (and Wayne Knight, no slacker himself!), people made the same joke.

Some pointed out that Murray is a superhero in and of himself.

And others roped in another actor who’s shared the screen with Bugs and company: Looney Tunes: Back in Action star Brendan Fraser.

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