Why Zendaya’s Lola Bunny Voice Just Doesn’t Seem to Work
On Sunday (June 6), Warner Bros. Pictures unveiled a brand new look at Space Jam: A New Legacy starring LeBron James and the Looney Tunes.
Positioned as an episode of ESPN's 30 on 30, the clever trailer — titled "The Bunny & The GOAT" — gave fans a behind-the scenes glimpse of several characters in the upcoming sequel, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Lola Bunny. But when it came to the Tune Squad's female MVP, many longtime fans were, well, less than impressed by what they heard.
The clip shows off Lola's new voice, courtesy of none other than the very talented Zendaya. But there's just something... off about the whole thing when we hear the character scoff, "So cute to watch them bicker when everyone knows this is Lola's team."
Is Lola's new voice too low? Is it not syncing perfectly with the animation? Does it sound just a little too much like Zendaya's natural speaking voice, making it difficult to suspend disbelief? Either way, it's a far cry from the sassy, energetic superstar we first met in 1996's Space Jam — or even the zany and upbeat version of the character (voiced by Kristen Wiig) later introduced in Cartoon Network's The Looney Tunes Show.
Plus, considering how incredibly cartoon-y the other Looney Tunes' iconic voices are, this more casual, nonchalant voice for Lola just doesn't seem to fit in with her animated pals.
Fans across social media also took note of Zendaya's different take on the character, though many couldn't quite put their finger on what wasn't quite working.
"I’ve tried to increase the pitch for the voice," wrote one person on Twitter who played around with the vocals. "It sounds a tiny bit better, but there’s just something with the voice that does not fit at all with Lola’s character."
"I love Zendaya, but this just sounds like her natural voice rather than a voice for Lola," commented another, leading a different fan to reply, "This is what happens when studios forget that actual voice actors exist."
It's important to note that back in the original film, Lola was played by talented and versatile voice actress Kath Soucie, who's also given voice to the likes of Daisy Duck, Dexter's Mom from Dexter's Laboratory and the Bimbettes from Beauty and the Beast, among a litany of other roles. Initially, it was announced that Soucie would return to reprise her role, but somewhere along the way, she was replaced by Zendaya, likely in a marketing move to amp up excitement for the film and draw in a new generation of viewers.
This isn't the first time Lola Bunny has stirred up controversy, either. Back in March, the studio revealed the spunky rabbit had been entirely re-designed in an effort to tone down her admittedly more "sexy," voluptuous look from the original film, in which she appeared in a crop top and very short shorts.
Watch the new Space Jam featurette and check out some of the strongest reactions to Lola's new voice, below.
We won't truly know until later this summer if Zendaya's more laid-back version of Lola Bunny is a slam dunk, but right now, it's sounding more like an air ball — as in, it misses the mark.
Space Jam: A New Legacy is out July 16.