Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle star Jack Black told Screen Rant in a new interview about his intriguing idea for Jumanji 3. The hotly anticipated sequel drew largely positive reviews for delivering a breezy, fun update to the 1995 original on the strength of its infectious cast, led by megastar Dwayne Johnson. The film also has a chance to bring solid returns at the box office on its relatively modest $90 million budget, despite clearly being a distant second to Star Wars: The Last Jedi in its opening weekend.
Welcome to the Jungle finds the titular board game transforming into a virtual reality video game and transporting a group of teens into avatars of characters who are decidedly different from their real-life forms. Black portrayed the multi-skilled Professor Sheldon Oberon, who is the avatar of the popular girl Bethany. The film features plenty of mini-adventures for the heroes within the game, but doesn't touch upon how the new Jumanji came to be in the first place. That's something that Black would like to see explored if and when a potential Jumanji 3 comes out.
Speaking to Screen Rant at a press event for Welcome to the Jungle, Black (along with Johnson and Hart) commented on the evolution of Jumanji from a board game to a video game and how it could evolve from there in future installments. Black is particularly interested in finding out more about the origins of the game and its creators - a la The Wizard of Oz, as Johnson pointed out.
Here's the full response:
Jack Black: If you don’t mind me jumping in. I think it would be cool to see the mind behind the game. It’d be cool to like explore – because there’s gotta be like some alien technology –
Dwayne Johnson: Like Oz.
JB: Exactly. Who’s behind the curtain on this game.
JB: We haven’t really scratched the surface of that universe.
DJ: That was a cool thing when we were putting this thing together, developing the script, and we all felt like – first of all, the device – if it evolves from a board game then to a video game, then in the future it could be… who knows what it could be, right? So it’s kind of like limitless where the entry can be. And also the device of us being teenagers, too. We knew it was going to be fun because then I think it opens up the world and you think, “Well, who are the other actors you want to play with?”
Kevin Hart: Yeah.
DJ: Who can be a great high school kid and turn that high school kid into you name it. Whoever your favorite is, you know. I dunno. Chris Hemsworth or something.
KH: You said it. The video game is endless. Go ahead, Jack.
JB: It’s just that the cool thing is that the game itself is alive. It has evolved since the first one. So it’d be cool to see how it evolves to the next chapter.
DJ: Yeah. Yes.
KH: Look, when you say "game" I think that’s one of the biggest things going with the generation today. The games continue to grow. They continue to get bigger. They continue to get better. So as long as you can tap into that world of bigger you have unlimited options. The question is, what do the people want? You know, the fanbase out there, and how are they going to respond to what we did this go around. Are they going to go "Oh my god, it’s amazing! We had no idea it could be this." And if so, those numbers at the box office can then turn into another situation we put ourselves in.
Welcome to the Jungle plays it fairly straight with its new adventure, sending the characters on a quest to obtain the "Jaguar's Eye" jewel and return it to a massive jaguar-shaped statue. The beginnings of the game aren't part of the plot, but they do have to battle villainous explorer Van Pelt (played by Bobby Cannavale).
Introducing narratives and themes surrounding the creation of the Jumanji game would certainly add an intriguing new layer to the revived franchise. After a rather straightforward take on the game, new mysteries about the origin of Jumanji would open up plenty of possibilities for sequels to add to the already-established action and humor.
Despite the positive response for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, even good reviews have noted that it's not a particularly deep or complex story. Black is right that they have barely scratched the surface of what they could do with the next Jumanji movie. Assuming the sequel has enough commercial success to make a third film a reality, Black might be onto something with his Wizard of Oz-esque ideas.
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