The full roster of the Tune Squad from 'Space Jam'
The 1996 movie Space Jam is about Michael Jordan playing basketball with a bunch of Looney Tunes. It's possibly both one of the most beloved and most hated movies of the entire 90s.
It was notably hated by Chuck Jones, an animator famous for his work on the original Looney Tunes shorts, though, to be fair, Chuck Jones pretty much hated anything Looney Tunes that he didn't do himself, and also about half of his own stuff. Joe Dante directed the next live action/animation hybrid Looney Tunes movie, Back in Action, and his stated goal was basically to direct the anti-Space Jam. Flayrah's own coverage of Back in Action was not pro-Space Jam, calling it a "disaster". On the beloved side of the equation, however, Warner Bros. will be releasing a very belated sequel to the movie on July 16 of this year (both theatrically and on the HBO Max streaming service), and they usually don't do that if no one liked it (and, seriously, you can probably find someone who actually does like Space Jam very easily).
But despite the fact that the original 1996 website is still up (with the following link, this article is now in compliance with ancient Internet law stating that all articles about Space Jam must mention the original website), there isn't really a good list anywhere on the Internet that provides the complete line-up of the members of the Tune Squad, the Looney Tunes basketball team in the film. Seriously, the Space Jam Wiki does not have a team roster. The IMDB trivia page for Space Jam has a bare bones roster buried half way down the page (and it's very incomplete). Well, that won't stand. Here's the full roster of every character (animated or otherwise), who played against the Monstars in the movie's big game.
Tweety first appeared in the 1942 Merry Melody short "A Tale of Two Kitties", along with his Looney Tune modus operandus of being "bird threatened by cat". His main feline rival, Sylvester, would be introduced later. Tweety and Sylvester jointly share the record for the most Animated Short Oscars won by a Looney Tunes star, with two (which means they can share them); "Tweetie Pie" and "Birds Anonymous". In Space Jam, Tweetie ultimately ended up in an Iron Lung, so he wasn't a major contributor to the victory.
If, for some unearthly reason, you have no idea who Bugs Bunny is, well, you can read this. Bugs Bunny was a big part of Chuck Jones' complaints about Space Jam; he pointed out that Bugs could have solved the problems presented by the Monstars by himself in about five minutes, which to be fair, yeah, that sounds right. However, as Bugs himself frequently pointed out, he could go along for a gag. He probably just wanted an excuse to play a game of basketball with Michael Jordan. Wait - Does that mean Bugs Bunny was actually the true villain of Space Jam all along?
One of the Looney Tunes' perpetual second fiddles, Daffy differentiates himself from the other sidekick of the series, Porky Pig, by actually being bothered by this. Space Jam takes the characterization of the later Daffy Duck shorts, where he's a fairly talentless guy who demands the spotlight nonetheless, usually to his own detriment. True to this characterization, despite the fact that he's one of the few characters who both starts and finishes the game, he's never seen actually scoring a point.
Remember when it was mentioned that Chuck Jones hated half of his own stuff? Well, Sniffles is part of that half; Space Jam seems to concur, as he's nonchalantly squished by the nice Monstar. An early Jones character, he was trying to emulate Disney's style, which was a bit too "cutesy" for the Looney Tunes. Ironically, this has gained him an odd sort of fanbase more recently. Now that most American animation is trying to emulate the Looney Tunes in general, and Chuck Jones in particular, the Chuck Jones Looney Tune that desperately wants to be anything but that style stands out today.
Originally introduced as a tougher, meaner opponent to harass, and be harassed in turn by Bugs Bunny. Bugs' original foe, Elmer Fudd, was seen as just a bit too dim for Bugs to face off against without seeming like a jerk himself. Unlike a lot of the more common characters, Sam stuck with Bugs; he only appeared in one short without the rabbit. Not even Wile E. Coyote was that loyal to the Roadrunner. Speaking of Wile E., Sam's big Space Jam moment was teaming up with Elmer to save the coyote with a Pulp Fiction parody. I'm sure the kids in the audience all got that one.
Species: Geococcyx californianus
The Road Runner could be seen as the Looney Tune diametrically opposed to Yosemite Sam, as he was loyal to Wile E. Coyote, never appearing in a short without him (despite the fact that the coyote himself had the occasional antagonistic fling with Bugs Bunny). Some sources have the Road Runner as the original draft script’s deus ex machina of the Tune Squad, not appearing with the team until the last play of the game; however, that role was eventually taken by another player.
Some of Porky Pig's best known shorts feature him as a sidekick to Daffy Duck, despite the fact that Daffy Duck originally was introduced as a sidekick to Porky. Best known for the phrase, "That's all folks!" said at the end of some Looney Tunes shorts, Porky can't actually claim this as his catchphrase, as the earlier Looney Tunes "stars" Bosko, Buddy and Beans had all finished shorts with the line. Porky, however, was the only one with a signature stutter. Porky's role in the history of the Looney Tunes is significant; in Space Jam, not so much.
Though primarily known for his rivalry with Tweety, Sylvester actually had a varied career in the many Looney Tunes shorts he appeared in. He had a second rival in Hippety Hopper, a baby kangaroo who Sylvester inexplicably mistakes for a giant mouse (who makes a cameo appearance as an audience member). Sylvester was also a single father to a son, and starred as Porky's mute pet in a trio of well thought-of shorts known as the "Porky Pig Gothics". Space Jam, however, might contain the only instance of his being called "Sly" by Bugs Bunny.
Lola was created for the movie Space Jam, and she's been a fairly controversial character ever since. As the sole female member of the Tune Squad, some decried her addition for this reason alone. She was "too PC" for some, not "PC enough" for others. Subsequent variations of the character, introduced later, opened up whole new cans of worms. That character design, though. At least one active member of the furry fandom claimed credit for it - this has been rather thoroughly debunked, however. But, the fact remains, she was the 90s "furry character it's okay for even non-furries to say is kind of hot". Discussion of fact that she's now more sporty than curvy ended up trending on Twitter.
Wile E. Coyote
Species: Canis latrans
Wearing lucky number 13, Wile E. Coyote is the unlikely Jesus figure of the Looney Tunes mythos (source: Grant Morrison). Technically the bad guy, his dogged determination (despite the fact that he is never, ever allowed to win) makes him one of the most sympathetic characters in the Looney Tunes roster. Or most existentially terrifying, one or the other. In Space Jam, Bugs compliments his explosives, which is the nicest thing that’s ever happened to him.
In the role originally meant for the Road Runner, when the Tune Squad is about to have to forfeit the game due to only having four players capable of taking to the courts (Jordan, Bugs, Daffy and Lola), Bill Murray just arrives with basically no explanation (he tells Daffy he’s a friend of the producer, which is true). It’s stupid enough to actually be really, really funny; unfortunately, the trailer totally ruined it. Oh, well.
Player Coach/Team Co-Captain/Starter
People who don’t really like Space Jam like to point out that Michael Jordan is not a professional actor, which is true. Truth be told, the performances of the five NBA players that the Monstars steal their basketball skills from, often come closer to real acting. Jordan just kind of reacts with mild amusement to everything. Maybe a little annoyance. Realistically, he should probably be a lot less chill about this situation. But realism isn’t the movie’s strong suit, so it’s fine.
Despite appearing in 22 shorts, mostly as a rival to Foghorn Leghorn, this character never actually got an official name. I mean, he was memorable enough that, when they chose characters to put on the team, they chose this dog. You’d think he’d have a name! “Barnyard Dawg” is just what people call him now. He appears in the background a lot; it seems the dog is less his own character and more a necessary accessory to Foghorn Leghorn’s appearance.
Foghorn Leghorn is one of those characters who started out as a sidekick to another character and eventually surpassed them; in Foghorn’s case, it’s Henery Hawk that was supposed to be the star. For basically another cameo background benchwarmer, Foghorn does get more lines than most characters relegated to this role. Most of these lines are puns based on the fact that he’s a chicken. The obvious assumption is that he’s the roasted chicken dinner on the bench near the end of the game.
Bugs Bunny’s original and still most iconic foil, Elmer Fudd actually started out as his own character who got into his own adventures. Though his most common, popular and also controversial role is as a hunter, he’s also been a wildlife photographer, mystical warrior and even a magical shoe-making elf with a special fondness for the tenets of American capitalism. To his credit, he’s one of the few characters to actually be shown scoring for the Tune Squad, with a pretty nice slam dunk, as well.
Wayne Knight’s character in the movie, Stan is Michael Jordan’s assistant, despite the fact that MJ neither wants nor needs much assistance to begin with. At the time of the film, Knight was known for villainous and semi-villainous roles in Seinfeld and Jurassic Park; here, he played a much nicer role, if still a bit annoying. He finally gets off the bench near the end, and even manages to score a three-pointer, while giving Jordan an insight into how he can win the game.
Pepe Le Pew
# (A heart)
Speaking of controversial characters, Pepe Le Pew’s characterization in his classic shorts would nowadays most likely result in a lot of sexual harassment lawsuits. Still a very popular character, the French skunk is one of the few Looney Tunes to have earned himself an Oscar for Best Animated Short. Space Jam weaponizes Pepe’s stench to knock out the Monstars while his teammates wear gas masks, allowing him an easy lay-up. Why the team didn’t just continue using this strategy is unclear, other than that wouldn’t have made a very exciting movie to watch.
Species: You’ve got this one.
The Tasmanian Devil (sometimes just “Taz” for short) is one of the most popular Looney Tunes, as shown by his place on the Tune Squad’s starting lineup (he’s the starter who ended up being replaced by Bill Murray in the final play of the game). His massive popularity may disguise the fact that he actually only appeared in five classic Looney Tunes shorts.
Beaky Buzzard is another character that only appeared in a handful of classic shorts, but for whatever reason, has gone on to become a very popular character in subsequent years. Beaky has played foil to Bugs Bunny, and has also starred in a few solo shorts. Though obviously another hunter of Bugs, he’s never shown as really that into it, more likely to be pressured into hunting by his overbearing vulture mother. Despite riding the bench the entire game, he still managed to be covered in bandages near the end of the movie.
Like Pepe Le Pew, Speedy Gonzalez is a very popular Looney Tune who is seen as a bit problematic these days; also like Pepe Le Pew, he is one of the few Looney Tunes to have won an Oscar, because of course that’s how that worked out. Once famously banned from Cartoon Network for propagating harmful Mexican stereotypes, it was later pointed out that a lot of Mexicans actually liked Speedy. Speedy is still caught in limbo between these viewpoints, and this is reflected in his role in Space Jam; he’s on the team, but we never even see him long enough to learn his jersey number.
Space Jam's Legacy
With the new movie, new team members have been added and possibly subtracted. Most obviously, Michael Jordan has been replaced by Lebron James. On one hand, it’s hard to say if James, or for that matter, any of today’s professional athletes in any sport are as universally loved as Jordan was in the 90s. On the other hand, James actually has some acting experience, so that’s a plus.
An early promotional video seems to show a roster for the new Tune Squad; who knows if it’s the full roster. Background and bit players Beaky, Sniffles and the Barnyard Dawg are absent, as well as the live action stars and the controversial duo of Pepe and Speedy. New characters are actually a bit low on anthropomorphic animals, unfortunately; non-furries include Granny, who has been promoted up from cheerleader, Marvin the Martian, who was actually the ref of the original game, and Gossamer the orange-furred monster.
The new furry member of the team is Penelope Pussycat, the mostly mute cat (who still managed her own catchphrase with “Le mew!”) who would be filing the majority of those sexual harassment lawsuits against Pepe. She has been notably absent from most recent Looney Tune-branded cartoons, mostly due to her relationship to Pepe (even though, of course, she didn't actually do anything wrong), so it’s nice to see her back in action.
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a red fox
New teeth. That's weird.
Your knowledge of random Looney Tunes trivia is impressive.
Chuck was right!
New details about Space Jam: A New Legacy have emerged ... which mostly just caused Lola Bunny to trend on Twitter. (She made it to at least #8 last I checked.)
Okay, so update with new trailer:
Speedy Gonzalez is confirmed! He has not been "cancelled". He probably won't have a big part, but he wasn't very big (no pun intended) in the first one.
Speaking of cancelled, Elmer is seen with a shotgun and Yosemite Sam explicitly, like, the trailer goes out of its way to show, shoots guns. So, it feels like "okay, we cancelled Pepe, but guns are back; can we have your money now, people on the right and left?"
Bad news, didn't see Penelope or for that matter Marvin the Martian. Please tell me she didn't get deleted with Pepe. She did get namechecked in the scene that was deleted, so hopefully that wasn't it. Bugs is wearing Marvin's helmet for some reason at one point in the trailer. We have seen both characters in a Tune Squad uniform, and I really can't see a character as popular as Marvin the Martian being completely cut, but Penelope was shown so far back, I think the movie had a completely different director at that point, so 50/50. (Or she could be a bench cameo, and that's about it.)
Also, I think I've given this movie two articles and I remember when I did a bunch of articles about Zootopia and everybody got pissed, like, out of their minds, and that was good movie, so new trailer gets a Newsbyte and we're good from me.
If there's anything semi-important I'll update here or the other article's comments, whichever feels appropriate, then I'll review it when it comes out.
Speedy definitely is not only appearing in the movie, he is part of the team; he even got a character poster.
So, Speedy has a whole Matrix parody scene this movie in the more recently released clips. He's, like, less canceled than the first movie.
Penelope is still MIA in released footage on one hand, but still regularly appearing in promotional tie-in art on the other.
Nice roundup. Some notes, though:
-Space Jam actually has both the later versions of Daffy, as well as his earlier, zanier depictions
-It was kind of weird that you didn't mention Witch Hazel at all, even if she was a cheerleader
-I'm sure Marvin and Penelope are still sticking around, since they both have voice credits
-I already miss Pepe
I'm really surprised Witch Hazel isn't part of the team this time. They seem to like bringing her back.
IMDB doesn't list Penelope's voice actor, though some wikis do. Also, 'nother reason to hope Penelope didn't get cut, because, if the wikis are right, Kath Soucie (the original Lola) is also cut.
Hey, same anon as before. I actually have some proof that Penelope is part of the new team almost definitively. There's a brief scene in the trailer where the Tune Squad members are stacking their hands to show their team effort. We see Daffy's hand (which you know it's his because of his blue sleeve), Road Runner's foot, Elmer's hand (I think), Gossamer's hand, Foghorn's hand, Granny reaching out from the side, and a mysterious black hand with fur and claws. I basically used process of elimination to figure this out. There are four black characters on the team: Daffy, Sylvester, Marvin, and Penelope. It can't be Daffy since his arm was already shown, or Marvin since he doesn't have fur, claws, and wears gloves. It can't be Sylvester since he has white hands; therefore, it has to be Penelope.
This is not the same anon as before.
I saw the latest featurette on YouTube with new footage for the film, and after hoping and hoping that Penelope would be in the film later in the third act, but we see footage with all of the Tune Squad members stacking their hands together, and that included Lebron and his son. I felt stabbed in the heart when knowing my last hope of Penelope being a part of the team was shattered. By the way, the black hand with fur and claws is a dark brown hand belonging to either Taz or Wile E.
This just goes to prove that at the Looney Tunes' last shot as a group effort on the big screen, Warner Bros. downright hates Penelope. Think about it. They ignore how she broke her tradition in Carrotblanca, then they leave her out of Looney Tunes: Back in Action, they don't have her as a baby in Baby Looney Tunes (except in paintings), they don't give her a descendant in Loonatics Unleashed, they don't give her a mascot at Six Flags for people to meet (and she'd make a cute mascot), they don't give her anything different to do in The Looney Tunes Show which has the Looney Tunes going down a different path (they just give her three three-second appearances), they don't let her appear in Rabbits Run (but Pepe appears), and they don't let her appear in Wabbit.
This truly is a stab in the heart. They could have taken advantage of a good opportunity but chose to throw it out the window yet again.
Uh, pal, that's just because her hand appears ABOVE Gossamer's hand, which they happen to cut off in the featurette. If you watch the trailer, they show her hand appear after Gossamer's, followed by Foghorn. Look at it. That is not dark brown; it is black. I went even further and looked at the positions of the characters prior to doing that in the featurette. Wile E. is in front of LeBron and Taz is to his diagonally-upwards right, yet the black hand, shown from his perspective, is coming from his left. The direction from which every other Tunes's hand is coming from is consistent with their positions compared to LeBron. My guess is she happens to be right next to LeBron to the point where he covers her from the camera. Otherwise, prove me wrong.
I'd say something like "chill, guys, we'll find out soon enough", but, I mean, Penelope's presence is about the most interesting question about this movie for me to, so I guess carry on.
I'm betting she's a background player, is all. Hardly the character to sell the movie on, so not appearing in the advertising because she mainly appeals to us diehards like us who are going to the movie anyway, going to hate the movie anyway, or both.
It's Kotal Khan cameoing (I'm sorry, kameoing) in the background of the Mortal Kombat movie. Fans enjoyed it, but you don't advertise it. Of course, this movie is advertising its background cameos, but that's a bit different, as they aren't actually for diehard Looney Tunes fans.
Seeing as how she actually did get teased in uniform in early ads and we know she had dialogue (despite the fact she's a traditionally mute character) in an admittedly deleted scene, I mean, makes sense
she's still in the movie somewhere. And that's fine; the spirit of this article is partially noting that kind of character, and appreciating the Barnyard Dawgs and Beaky Buzzards as much as the DaffyvDucks and Bugs Bunnies.
And, I mean, it's not like Penelope's presence will actually make this a good movie.
My biggest thing is the promotional stuff. The fact that Penelope is in books, which have plot details, is quite significant. She's also in the coding stuff that they are promoting as a possible player for your team. There's an image out there that shows the full team this time around. It omits Pepe yet has Penelope, so it can't be an early piece of promotion. Besides, the change in directors and the infamous deleted scene happened in mid-2019, not late 2020.
All that said, I agree that she will basically be the Beaky and Speedy of this team. (Speedy still being around makes that sound a little strange).
Okay, so, in what constitutes "investigative journalism" around here, I did some googling. What I found is that ... I'm not very good at googling.
But, okay, the Space Jam site has a PDF "Activity Book" and Penelope's kind of in it; her silhouette is on the back of the "cut out this mask" page along with most of the rest of the team, but she's never actually mentioned anywhere in the book, or seen anywhere else. The book does feature a short team roster, but it only mentions 10 of 18 characters, and leaves out characters like freaking Daffy Duck and Sylvester, so that's a wash. It also features two pages of cut out "trading cards" which, with 9 per page, would include all 18, but one card is deleted to explain what a trading card is, and another is used to list the Goon Squad. Marvin the Martian also didn't get a card (he also doesn't actually show up in the trailers, outside his helmet), but he does appear throughout the activity book.
While we're talking about those trading cards, they do give jersey numbers; most of the characters are the same, but there are some differences. Yosemite Sam's number 6 was changed, as 6 is Lebron's number; Sam inherited Bill Murray's 22. In what may just need a correction, Tweety Bird is 1/3; about half my sources said Tweety was 1/2 and about a third said it was 1/3 for the original movie, so I went with 1/2, but I could have got that wrong (and, no, I didn't actually go through the movie looking for numbers, I just trusted IMDB on that one). Speedy Gonzalez is .25; I don't know if that was his number in the original movie or they finally actually gave him one. The cards list the Road Runner as 5 and Lola as 11, as compared to 7 and 10 as listed above; I don't know if they were changed arbitrarily, I just got them wrong, or what, though I will say Road Runner as lucky number 7 compared to Wile E. Coyote's unlucky number 13 made sense to me. Gossamer and Granny are 00 (appropriately, all the MonStars' number) and 88, respectively.
Also, I want to clear up that Pepe was never meant to be a part of the team in A New Legacy; every description of the deleted scene sounds like they deliberately chose not to recruit him (so he was "canceled" even before he was cut); the only reason they even were talking with him is because they were looking for Lola, and Penelope had told them Pepe knew where she was.
This could be another explanation for why both Marvin and Penelope are absent from game and team scenes; they may not be part of the team. This is kind of a "good news/bad news" situation; good news, they actually have a bigger role to play than just benchwarmers, but, bad news, they're not on the team. They put'em in uniform for marketing, but that's it. I mean, the first movie had cameos of characters not on the team (besides Witch Hazel as a cheerleader and Marvin himself as the ref, the mice Hubie and Bertie were the game's announcers, and of course multiple cuts to crowd shots which were just mass cameos, which is where Penelope herself appeared), and it makes sense that they'd meet characters who weren't actually part of the team this time around, as well. As in this movie, they're using the crowd to cameo ... A Clockwork Orange, for some reason (if there's one movie kids love more than Pulp Fiction, it's A Clockwork Orange!), the actual Looney Tunes cameos would have to be before the game. There's also plenty of evidence that Marvin's green space dog, K9, will appear exactly like this. My guess is they apparently steal Marvin's base, so he's actually kind of antagonistic, while Penelope helps them recruit Lola, but otherwise, being a French cat, doesn't have much interest in playing basketball.
Of course, the "black paw" pointed out in the above thread is definitely interesting; as Daffy Duck points out, creating a CGI character is kind of expensive. If they already created a CGI model of the character, they'd use that thing, if only because they already spent the money and took the time.
Anyway, here's the mysterious black paw if you haven't seen it.
I know the black paw, but it still looks like Wile E.'s with a shade of brown dark enough to look black. Wile E. could have been crowded by the other toons, forcing him to put his paw above the others.
It does kind of feel like the Patterson Bigfoot video at this point.
Also, this is the kind of thing Fred Patten would have already read the junior novelization and just told us. Or maybe not. I don't think he liked the original Space Jam much.
P.S. being a feline in France is a dumb excuse not to include her on a team, and not to mention, a dumb excuse to make the over-exposed Lola the better female Looney Tune instead of having both.
I don't know, there were a lot of people complaining Lola was a bit under-exposed this time around ...
Also, speaking of things that can be over exposed, you can totally say balls here, by the way. Don't need to censor it; we won't get mad.
That last one was more of a personal opinion of how I feel towards not including Penelope with Lola.
Those morons had a ton of b***s raising our hopes and lying to us by putting her in a jersey in XBOX promos and a couple books!
Not that it matters, but Marvin has just been shown in the newest TV spot being squashed by a ramp from a spaceship in the game, before saying "A little help here".
But again, no Penelope.
Of course, if she's included in the film, but not during the big game, here's my latest theory:
According to the second theatrical trailer, when Lebron's glad to see Bugs, it's a different landscape (the forest) than when he first landed (the desert).
Maybe after a long while after getting his family back, he returns to the Serververse and Tune World somehow, and rejoins Bugs and the others for another game but just for fun (no facing evil or anything), and Bugs announces two new members for the Tune Squad: Marvin and Penelope.
Just a theory though. Might be debunked by the time the movie comes.
Okay, so the review is up, but I'm going to do this post here.
I revealed there that, unfortunately, Penelope was not present in the movie. It feels like she was kind of a victim of Pepe's scene getting deleted, and I think the decision to do the game in CGI animation. Her main gimmick was basically being a replacement for Pepe, so that scene getting deleted meant her story purpose was gone, and then add in the fact that giving her an entire (expensive) 3D model to then just stand around was probably not cost effective. I think there was a planned scene where she pretended to be a skunk and scared away the Goon Squad to score points, but after that there's not lot you could do with her and even that's just a watered down version of a gag they did last movie. It's disappointing on a lot of levels, but I think the Pepe scene as described was actually just a little too mean, and needed to be cut. Surely, after all that, Penelope's automatic for Space Jam: Threepeat or whatever in 2046. (And I'm still not sure that that isn't her paw.)
Marvin, though in the movie and featuring in multiple scenes, is also not on the team. Bugs basically just steals his spaceship and uses it to fly to the different themed worlds.
Ironically, Daffy also no longer plays for the team; he calls the "coach" position, and never dons a uniform. I think that was pretty clear from the advertising, but I still half expected him to actually get in the game (the Goon Squad's coach does). Of course, he doesn't actually coach much, either.
The Road Runner's jersey number changing from 7 to 5 now makes sense; another character takes the number 7. That's kind of a spoiler, but only plot-wise. It's not a super secret cameo character. Still not sure why Lola moved from 10 to 11, though. I didn't really spend a lot of time checking; maybe the activity book got that wrong. (Alternatively, I have reason to believe 10 might have been Penelope's number; I believe there might have been an attempt to pair her with Sylvester, who both managed to gain a starting position and yet didn't actually get much to do, and having the two cats' number in proximity might have reinforced that.)
DICKLESS BASTARDS! That's what they are! They could have thought outside the box and did more with her, but no! They had to worry about Lebron and his stupid kid!
Yes, it's true. These bastards have neither dick nor pussycat.
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