There are some pretty “out there” titles in the list of Dwayne Johnson movies, but none quite as out there as Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (rated PG-13 and being released on December 20, 2017), sequel to the 1995 original Jumanji. Whereas that film, which starred the late Robin Williams, had kids play a board game that accidentally brought elements of it into the real world, this one takes four kids in school detention and transports them into a computerized version of the game. Along the way, they are transformed into very different avatars of themselves. Beyond The Rock, the Jumanji cast includes Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, and Jack Black.
Dwayne, who also served as executive producer, said he was incredibly excited to be a part of the new movie. “The spirit of Jumanji flows through the continuation of the story. We wanted to bring that spirit of wonderment, of overcoming fears and discovering who you are — it’s all woven through Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Every once in a while, a movie comes down the road that you just know in your gut has a special quality to it.”
“We all have tremendous love and reverence for the original movie, and I’ve always been a huge fan of Robin Williams and his performance and that movie meant a lot to me and my family at that time,” he added. “So while the jungle came into our world in the original Jumanji, we go into Jumanji in this film. We could also have fun with the idea that the game has evolved into a videogame — what would it mean to have multiple lives? What happens if a character dies and comes back? In a videogame, you have powers — what would those powers be?”
Producer Matt Tolmach, who loved both the original film and the Chris Van Allsburg children’s fantasy book it was based on, was struck by the notion that there were more stories to be told. “My first thought,” he said, “was, ‘What’s the next chapter in that story? What’s the next Jumanji adventure?’ It was a natural step to continue what began over 20 years ago.”
Jumanji has a long history behind it, and what follows is a look at the characters from the new film, as well as a guide to the novels, films, and video games that have preceded it.