The ‘Looney Tunes’ Are Back in Action

Warner Bros. has announced new movies and more television shorts. Plus a long-awaited sequel could finally be moving forward.
By  · Published on September 3rd, 2018

It’s been almost 50 years since the golden age of Looney Tunes cartoons ended. It has also been 15 years since we last saw most of the beloved Warner Bros. cartoon characters on the big screen, in the excellent Looney Tunes: Back in Action. Other incarnations featuring the beloved characters have appeared since, but not on the scale Bugs, Daffy, Foghorn, and the rest of these rascals deserve. Fortunately, that’s all about to change.

According to Deadline, Road Runner’s nemesis, Wile E. Coyote, is getting his own cinematic adventure. The movie, which is being scribed by Living Biblically and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia producers Jon and Josh Silberman, will be called Coyote vs. Acme. The Lego Batman Movie‘s Chris McKay is also producing. That’s quite a line-up of talented folks right there.

If you aren’t familiar with Wile E. Coyote, the character first appeared in the short Fast and Furry-ous on September 17, 1949. He is known for his unsuccessful attempts at catching Road Runner, a ground bird with a penchant for running really fast. Despite setting up many elaborate devices to catch the bird, Wile E. Coyote never finds success and always ends up the victim of his own his plots to capture his nemesis.

That said, the upcoming movie will likely take a different approach to the character’s escapades. While the story is unknown at the moment, the title suggests that the movie will be based on Ian Frazier’s hilarious humor essay “Coyote vs. Acme”, which was published by the New Yorker in 1990. The piece chronicles Coyote’s legal battles with the Acme company after he’s had enough of the pain, trauma, and humiliation inflicted upon him because of their products. Therefore, he seeks compensation for injuries, loss of income, and mental suffering.

Like the two previous Looney Tunes features, Space Jam and Back In Action, Coyote vs. Acme will likely be a hybrid of animation and live-action. Furthermore, a courtroom caper is perfection for this universe. The previous movies are fun because of their satirical elements, and what’s a better way to poke fun at the corporate elite than a movie centered around a lawsuit? When you factor in all the talent involved here, there’s reason to believe that Coyote’s movie will be a hoot.

Should this movie go ahead, it won’t be the only upcoming Looney Tunes project we have to look forward to, either. Back in June, Warner Bros. announced that brand-new short-form cartoons were in development. Set to air in 2019 with over 1000 minutes of material for each season, the comeback promises to harken back to the halcyon days of the original cartoons and will feature the same characters we all know and love. Voices for the characters will be provided by Eric Bauza, Jeff Bergman, and Bob Bergen. Sam Register and Peter Browngardt will serve as executive producers.

That’s not all. On top of the Coyote movie and the new cartoons, the long-gestating Space Jam 2 starring LeBron James is still in the works. Earlier this year, The Wrap reported that Terence Nance was in “advanced negotiations” to direct the film after talks with Justin Lin fell through. While nothing is concrete yet, it is reassuring to know that the project seems very much alive. That’s if you’re of the opinion that the world needs a Space Jam sequel anyway. It does.

Despite the studio neglecting the IP in recent years, Looney Tunes is still held in high regard among the higher-ups at Warner Bros. At one time, former co-chairman Bob Daly even considered the characters the studio’s “crown jewels.” While it’s been a minute since the franchise seemed like a major focal point, the failure to get more movie projects off the ground in recent years certainly hasn’t been from lack of trying.

In 2016, the studio bought a Max Landis penned script for a Pepé Le Pew movie. A Speedy Gonzales heist movie was also in development that year, with Eugenio Derbez attached to voice the Mexican mouse. Those projects appear to have been put on the back burner for now, but they haven’t been ruled out either. I’d love to see both characters make the jump to the big screen for their own solo outings.

In the meantime, we have over 1000 hours worth of shorts to look forward to in 2019. Those are definitely happening. But Warner Bros. seems serious about giving their jewels a new lease of life, and the youth of today are in for a treat. This calls for a big Woo-hoo, as Daffy Duck would say.

Kieran is a Contributor to the website you're currently reading. He also loves the movie Varsity Blues.