Everybody's favorite cartoon rabbit of Looney Tunes fame, Bugs Bunny has just turned 80 years old with fans across the world celebrating the special occasion. For eight decades now, Bugs has been known as one of the most popular cartoon characters of all time, and even still, it seems impossible for any child to grow up unaware of the popular animated rabbit. With a planned return to the big screen in 2021, the legendary cartoon character is just as popular as ever, and there certainly won't be many other characters that will be able to say the same 80 years later.

It was July 27, 1940, when Bugs Bunny made his very first cartoon appearance. Directed by Tex Avery, he was featured in the classic Merrie Melodies cartoon called A Wild Hare. The animated movie also establishes the hunter-and-prey relationship between Bugs and Elmer Fudd, a feud which has persisted after eight decades. A Wild Hare was also the first cartoon to feature Mel Blanc providing the voice of Bugs Bunny, a role that he would become synonymous with over the next several decades. After Blanc's death in 1989, Jeff Bergman and a handful of other voice actors have stepped in to voice Bugs Bunny in other animated projects.

RELATED: Bugs Bunny 80th Anniversary Collection Coming This Fall with 60 Original Theatrical Shorts

Of course, Bugs is also very well known for his sense of humor. Often playing tricks on Elmer Fudd and other animated characters, Bugs can often be seen munching on carrots and cracking catch phrases like, "Ain't I a stinker?" and "Eh... what's up, Doc?" Over the decades, Bugs would branch out from cartoons into many other mediums, starring in video games, comic books, and various animated movies and television projects. He famously appeared in the 1996 basketball movie Space Jam alongside NBA legend Michael Jordan, with the two teaming up to take on an opposing basketball team made up of monsters.

Next year, Bugs just might return to the big screen for the release of the anticipated sequel Space Jam: A New Legacy. Directed by Malcom D. Lee, the movie will bring back Bugs Bunny, along with his pals like Lola Bunny and Daffy Duck, to hit the basketball court once again. LeBron James will lead the sequel with Kath Soucie reprising her role from the original movie. Potential production delays could result in the movie coming out later than planned, but as of now, Space Jam 2 is currently scheduled to be released on July 16, 2021.

Online, Looney Tunes fans have been honoring Bugs Bunny with birthday messages addressed to the animated character. The posts come from all over the world from people of all ages, as the love for the Warner Bros. mascot appears to be universal. Because he will be back in theaters soon enough to be reintroduced to another new generation, chances are Bugs is going to be around for much, much longer as well, even after eight decades. You can take a look at some posts from social media honoring Bugs Bunny's 80th birthday below. Happy birthday, Doc!

Jeremy Dick at TVweb
Jeremy Dick