WARNING: This article contains minor SPOILERS for Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle
The new Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle is following in the footsteps of the original movie – including making a BIG change to the original story, and its hero, Alan Parish. Even with Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson in the spotlight, and a talented cast to match, there was no way the film was ever going to get away with turning a blind eye to the Robin Williams original. The filmmakers knew that from the start, which means Williams’ character won’t just be referenced in the film… he’s a key part of its mythology.
Previously, Jumanji‘s Jack Black explained that when the film’s cast of characters head into the titular jungle, they stumble upon evidence of Alan Parrish’s own time condemned to that same jungle. But as we learned while speaking to cast and filmmakers on the movie’s set, the actual story and legend of Alan Parrish is going to grow. Not just as a way to honor the memory of Robin Williams, but to expand the mythology of the Jumanji universe around the first film’s hero.
And believe us, Jumanji fans: you’ll never see the same movie the same way again, after hearing what change the sequel will be making.
The character played by Robin Williams would be the elephant in the room of any sequel/prequel/reboot/spinoff, even before he passed away. According to producer Matt Tolmach, the influence felt is impossible to ignore – but stops short of explaining exactly how the movie will hinge on Alan’s time in the game:
I really don’t want to give away spoilers, but I will say that the character that Robin played, the spirit of that character is something that is massively important to this movie. And is reflected in the movie. You know Dwayne has been pretty open about it in his various Tweets and Instagram posts about it that the spirit of Robin is something that you’ll feel. And the spirit of Alan Parrish is something you’ll feel in this movie… Our movie goes into the game– that’s what he did. So his presence in this world is felt.
Unfortunately, that presence may be years apart. Not only because the first Jumanji movie was set in the 1990s, but because Alan’s game started decades earlier. When the game concluded, he was sent back to the moment he first left his life as a child – and left to live to adulthood with all his memories intact. And if that seems to suggest some serious physics and reality-defying rules going on with Jumanji as a concept… you’re not wrong.
Now that the movies will be diving into the same unreal/fantastic place that exists inside of Jumanji, and in which the young Alan lived out most of his life, it’s time to get some answers. Does Jumanji defy time and space as a necessity? Is this exact game being played in Welcome To The Jungle the same copy played in the first film?
We directed our questions to Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson on set, who didn’t answer all our questions. He did, however, explain just what Alan really discovered during his years inside Jumanji’s jungle:
Without giving too much away… the… [Laughs] Now I’m biting my tongue right now… So for example, the journey that Alan Parrish went on, we soon realize… he was the one who discovered that there were multiple Jumanji worlds… yeah. So I think it should be cool.
This modification to the story of Jumanji doesn’t break anything in the original film, since Alan’s time in the jungle is a total mystery, and he’s eager to never discuss or relive any part of his time there (until a figure comes to hunt him down in the real world, for a change). And by its very nature, Jumanji is the story of a game that is played, has been played, and will continue to be played by whoever finds it. Could there be more than one Jumanji game granting access to the same shared arena? Or do different Jumanji games send their players to different assigned locations?
Johnson’s comments strongly imply we’ll have some answers when the movie releases, but for now, what do you think of this change to Alan Parrish’s story? Does it seem like a welcome, logical addition given Alan’s characterization? Or do you think it’s dangerous for any Jumanji movie to start retroactively reshaping the original?
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