Dwayne Johnson’s two Jumanji blockbusters confirmed themselves as direct follow-ups to the beloved 1995 original when a reference to Robin Williams’ Alan Parrish was made in Welcome to the Jungle. However, that’s pretty much where the callbacks ended, with director Jake Kasdan making the wise decision to tell a standalone story that didn’t rely on past events, a trap that countless sequels and reboots have fallen into over the years.
It clearly worked a treat, with the crowd-pleasing adventure raking in over $962 million at the box office and follow-up The Next Level failing to match that total but still pulling in an impressive $800 million. Add in the $262 million that Joe Johnston’s first installment made, and that makes Jumanji a multi-billion dollar franchise.
Based on how the last movie ended, the next chapter is bringing the video game action into the real world, which will freshen up a concept that had lost a little bit of its shine by the time the quartet of heroes got into their umpteenth scrap with either faceless thugs or CGI animals, and insider Daniel Richtman is now claiming that the next Jumanji will feature more callbacks to the first film than ever before.
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The real-world sequences are already set in the same town of Brantford, Welcome to the Jungle‘s villain was also named Van Pelt and Bebe Neuwirth made a cameo as Nora Shepherd at the end of The Next Level, so it isn’t like nostalgia-hungry fans are being starved.
Still, the series has tended to rely on more subtle references to the expanded Jumanji canon instead of throwing on the rose-tinted glasses, and while Richtman doesn’t offer much in the way of details, it could end up being something as innocuous as a cameo from someone like Kirsten Dunst, Bonnie Hunt or David Alan Grier.