Back in 1995, Jumanji took audiences on an inventive cinematic adventure. The Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger) film, based on the Chris Van Allsburg book, pulled comedic legend Robin Williams and his co-stars into an imaginative world set inside an old board game - something which director Jake Kasdan (Bad Teacher) seeks to recapture with his upcoming “continuation.” The upcoming film has been rounding out its cast, adding Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy), Kevin Hart (Central Intelligence), and Jack Black (Goosebumps) into the mix, with production on the semi-sequel slated to begin later this month in Hawaii.
In preparation for filming, lead player Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson gave fans a first look at his character's conceptual art.
Posted today on Instagram, Johnson revealed the character sketch which bears the title “The Smoldering Dr. Bravestone.” In typical fashion, The Rock throws a little shade at the artistic rendering, joking “not sure where my pecs went.” However, the superstar does express his excitement at the imminent Jumanji project, saying “This is gonna be fun. Can’t wait to ‘play the game that plays you.’” Check out The Rock’s character Dr. Bravestone below:
EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK: Concept art of my #JUMANJI character. "The Smoldering" Dr. Bravestone. (not sure where my pecs went;). This is gonna be fun.. Me, @kevinhart4real, Jack Black, @NickJonas and the Ginger Assassin @karengillanofficial can't wait to "play the game that plays you". #JUMANJI #DrBravestone #KingOfTheSmolder #TheAdventureContinues * JUMANJI Costume Designer Laura Jean Shannon
From the early look of things, the follow-up of sorts to the Robin Williams' 90s classic looks like it will embody the same spirit of adventure as its predecessor. The conceptual piece is as evocative of Indiana Jones as it is of the previous outing. Fans of the original who are unsure what to expect from the latest chapter can take some heart. With talented stars like Johnson and Doctor Who favorite Gillan on board, as well as fun support from Black, Hart, and Nick Jonas, the next Jumanji has a lot of potential.
If the next film retains the same sense of fun and whimsy which Williams brought to the project, without stepping on his massive comedic legacy, it has a strong chance for success. Even for a big personality like The Rock, filling the shoes of the beloved comedian is a daunting task. Fortunately, Johnson has been steadfast in his intent to respect the recently deceased legend. Assuming the film can successfully connect to its predecessor and also continue the mythology, it should be able to balance the difficult task of avoiding exploiting nostalgia and simply being worth the ticket price.
Of course, with so many angles to approach the film from, it would be easy to get lost in a dense jungle of potential plot points, so to speak. If handled properly, though, the modern classic adventure story could easily become an anthology series or a full-blown shared universe franchise. It will also be interesting to how Kasdan and company develop the rich mythos of Jumanji.
Jumanji is currently expected on July 28, 2017.