The Animaniacs Might Be in 'Space Jam 2'

Warner Bros. is pulling out all of its intellectual property for Space Jam: A New Legacy, possibly including The Animaniacs. The trailer for the Space Jam sequel dropped on Saturday morning, revealing references to just about everything in the WarnerMedia library. A brief glimpse of The Animaniacs' water tower has fans hoping they'll turn up as well.

Space Jam: A New Legacy apparently takes place in "the serververse" — a virtual reality dimension where all of WarnerMedia's intellectual property co-exist in a handful of worlds. The trailer showed all kinds of mash-ups, so all things considered the sight of the water tower might have been one of the least surprising things. It is visible right at the 2-minute, 7-second mark in the trailer, bending precariously from the right as LeBron James takes a superhuman leap into the air. The Animaniacs themselves were nowhere to be seen.

The Animaniacs often crossed over with the rest of the Looney Tunes cast in their time, though they were not a part of the original franchise. They were created in the 1990s for a variety show full of meta-jokes and fourth-wall breaks — perfect for today's TV audience. In many ways, the Animaniacs helped create the TV climate we know today.

While the rest of the Looney Tunes are evolving in a new show on HBO Max, the Animaniacs got a reboot on Hulu last year. The new series brought back the original cast for 13 new episodes, with another season already on the way. The revival gave fans a fresh appreciation for the influence Yakko, Wakko and Dot had on cartoons. In an exclusive interview with last year, the voice of Wakko, Jess Harnell, said that the show was a "Trojan Horse" sneaking satire into children's media.

"When Animaniacs started, it was a kids' cartoon, but it was really a Trojan Horse, you know?" Harnell said. "Sneaking its way on the TV and then opening up the side and letting all this social satire and commentary and stuff come flooding out! And I think the network executives — had it not been a hit — would have been like, 'this isn't what you told us it was going to be!'"


Meanwhile, the Space Jam trailer featured plenty of other, far more obscure references as well. Fans on social media compared it to Ready Player One, perhaps because of the prominent use of The Iron Giant. It also featured imagery from Game of Thrones, DC Comics and A Clockwork Orange, among others.

Whether these big swings will pay off for the filmmakers remains to be seen. Space Jam: A New Legacy premieres on Friday, July 16 in theaters and on HBO Max.