When it was revealed that Zendaya was set to voice Lola Bunny in Space Jam: A New Legacy, the upcoming reboot/sequel to the 1996 film, it was praised by some while the new design for the character was derided by others. According to director Malcolm D. Lee the entire point of the new look for the character was to tone down what was previously clear sexualization of the character, telling Entertainment Weekly "I had no idea that people would be that up in arms about a bunny not having boobs." Speaking with the outlet in a new interview, Zendaya herself reacted to the "controversy" saying she empathizes with fans that were outraged.
"I didn't know that was going to happen either! I definitely know we love her, but I didn't know it was going to be as much of a focus as it was. [Laughs] But I understand, because she's a lovable character," Zendaya said." She's special to a lot of people and their childhoods and they've been able to grow up with her, so I get that sense of protection. I was like, listen, just as long as I did what the director and the producers and everybody wanted me to do, I'm just here to offer my services. [Laughs] No, but I felt really grateful just to have the opportunity."
Lee extrapolated on this further, telling EW he didn't expect the redesign to begin a "super weird" dialogue.
"Listen, I understand people don't want things to change," Lee said. "But I think we needed some evolution with her, not by objectifying her but by making her strong and still feminine. And, yes, we had all these other women who were like, 'Oh, you can't be strong and have big boobs?!' Sure you can, but we're talking about a cartoon bunny not women!"
The new Space Jam will be set against the backdrop of the "Server-verse," wherein the many worlds of Warner Bros.' IP will be represented. Lee previously revealed that Lola will be introduced in the new film having left the "Tune" world behind and having joined up with the Amazons of Themyscira from DC's Wonder Woman.
Other famous Warner Bros. characters that have been spotted in the Space Jam: A New Legacy trailers include King Kong, Catwoman, the Night King from Game of Thrones, Iron Giant, the Jetsons, the Flintstones, Pennywise, Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear, Mr. Freeze, and more!
Space Jam: A New Legacy will be released in theaters and streaming on HBO Max on July 16th.