Space Jam 2 director Malcolm Lee has admitted that he was stunned over the “super weird” controversy surrounding Lola Bunny’s appearance.
Lola’s new appearance was first showcased in March with the release of stunning images from Space Jam: A New Legacy, which also featured LeBron James and 3D Bugs Bunny.
However, Space Jam 2 was met with backlash from fans as Lola traded in her short-shorts and cropped tank top for a Tune Squad outfit similar to the other Looney Tunes characters.
Lee, who took over from Terence Nance as Space Jam 2’s director, initially defended the changes to Lola by claiming they wanted to make her “feminine without being objectified.”
Now, the 51-year-old American director insisted that the fan-favourite Looney Tunes character “needed some evolution.”
Lee told Entertainment Weekly: “I had no idea that people would be that up in arms about a bunny not having boobs.
“Listen, I understand people don’t want things to change, but I think we needed some evolution with her, not by objectifying her but by making her strong and still feminine.”
A New Legacy’s director hit out at those who questioned why she couldn’t be strong and have big boobs, saying that they are not talking about a woman in this case.
Lee added: “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!”
Lola was voiced by actor Kath Soucie in the 1996 cult classic Space Jam, which featured basketball legend Michael Jordan in the starring role.
However, Soucie has not reprised the role of Lola for Space Jam 2 as Spider-Man: Far from Home star Zendaya will provide the voice for the character.
Zendaya admitted that she was surprised with how “much of a focus” was placed on Lola’s appearance amid the controversy.
The 24-year-old American actor said: “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.
“But I understand, because she’s a lovable character. She’s very important, so I get it.”
Space Jam 2 is slated for release in UK cinemas on 16th July.