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Space Jam's Lola Bunny goes from 'very sexualized' to sporty in sequel

Director Malcolm D. Lee says the character was modernized for 2021 and some social-media users dunked on the new look.

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Everyone needs a makeover every, oh, 25 years or so.  On Thursday, Warner Bros. revealed a new look for Lola Bunny, a cartoon rabbit from 1996's basketball comedy movie Space Jam, making it clear her look has gone from va-va-voom pinup girl sexy to modern-day strong and sporty.

Entertainment Weekly published a preview and a gallery of photos from the upcoming movie Space Jam: A New Legacy, which is set to premiere in July. LeBron James takes over Michael Jordan's role as the NBA superstar in the new movie, but it was Lola's look that scored the most social notice. The original Lola wore a midriff-baring crop top and short shorts, while the new Lola has a regular-length basketball jersey and leggings under her shorts.

And the change was very intentional.

Director Malcolm D. Lee told the magazine he was caught off guard by original Lola's "very sexualized" look.

"This is 2021," Lee said. "It's important to reflect the authenticity of strong, capable female characters."

Lee also addressed Lola's changed appearance for the new film.

"So we reworked a lot of things, not only her look, like making sure she had an appropriate length on her shorts and was feminine without being objectified, but gave her a real voice," he told EW. "For us, it was, let's ground her athletic prowess, her leadership skills, and make her as full a character as the others."

Roll the Twitter reactions, many of which were as funny as the movie hopes to be. Comedian Rajat Suresh envisioned a scene in the new movie, writing, "LeBron James: hello Lola you do not make anyone horny. I respect you for basketball Lola Bunny: thank you."

Said another Twitter user, "New Lola looks like the kind of girl you'd meet in rehab when she asks to bum a Newport and pretty soon she's at your place pretending to help you look for your stuff she just stole."

Lola Bunny's new look was a trending topic on Twitter, a fact that likely made for a weird workday for one Twitter employee. "Thoughts are with the person whose job it was to look at all the accounts being horny for old Lola Bunny and / or upset that they aren't as horny for new Lola Bunny and then summarize it as "people share their feelings," wrote writer Emma Baccellieri in a tweet.

Space Jam: A New Legacy is scheduled to be released in theaters and on streaming service HBO Max on July 16, 2021.

Correction, March 6 at 12:52 p.m. PT: An earlier version of this story mistakenly included a fan art image of the original Lola Bunny.