Why Pepe Le Pew’s Scene Was Cut

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One member of the Tune Squad is sitting this game out.

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Although Pepé Le Pew was a part of the first Space Jam, he’s going to be sitting this game out, according to a report from Deadline. Set to premiere July 16, the sequel, Space Jam: A New Legacy starring LeBron James, is the long-awaited follow-up to the 1996 film starring Michael Jordan and the iconic Looney Tunes crew.

The French skunk has been around the Looney Tunes since 1945 and was a featured member of the Tune Squad in the original Space Jam. Per Deadline, the infamous animated skunk was set to appear in a Casablanca-themed scene in Space Jam: A New Legacy. The scene in question had Pepé Le Pew as a bartender getting too friendly with a human woman (played by Jane the Virgin star Greice Santo), which would lead to her slapping Pepé Le Pew across the face before James and Bugs Bunny appear to inquire about Lola Bunny’s whereabouts.

The reason for Pepé Le Pew’s cut from Space Jam: A New Legacy stems from his recent resurgence in the pop culture discourse. Pepé Le Pew became the topic of conversation when New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow said the cartoon, whose primary character trait is wooing his object of affection even when that character protests, “added to rape culture.” After the piece made the rounds online, the news broke that Pepé Le Pew’s scene had been cut from A New Legacy. Deadline notes that Santo was reportedly disappointed in the scene being cut because it would have depicted a “comeuppance” for the character.

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Space Jam: A New Legacy has already been off to the races in terms of heated fan discussion, especially when new images from the movie surfaced featuring Lola Bunny sporting a new look. All of these changes have encouraged an intense reaction because of the nostalgic value of the original movie; Space Jam is a movie many ’90s kids adore to this day. Seeing the Looney Tunes take on the Monstars with the help of Jordan as well as Bill Murray is something that still brings joy to audiences, so many are on the edge of their seats to see what A New Legacy has in store for fans. The changes are a preview of what’s in store — but it might not be the preview fans expected.

This might be the beginning of the end for Pepé Le Pew content as well, as the cartoon skunk has slowly been phased out and there are no plans to include him in Looney Toons, Bugs Bunny Builders, Tiny Toons Looniversary, or future projections. Regardless, the movie has a lot to live up to and we can’t wait to see where the Looney Tunes, James, and the cast take us next.

Space Jam: A New Legacy will be released in theaters and on HBO Max on July 16.

KEEP READING: First Images from ‘Space Jam 2’ Revealed; Film Includes Cameos from Batman, Mad Max and More

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