Back in 2017, the JUMANJI franchise returned to theatres in a crazy exciting and unexpected way. While JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE is a very different film than its predecessor starring the legendary Robin Williams, it’s also a wonderful, hilarious big screen adventure that audiences totally fell in love with. As a result, we have been patiently waiting for a return to the world ever since, and finally that itch is being scratched next month by the forthcoming JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL.
If you’re like us, however, you’ve seen about 10,000 films since December 2017, so you may not fully remember all of the details about the movie. Fortunately, we have you covered, as this guide will share everything you need to know before seeing the sequel!
In the original JUMANJI, the titular recreation was introduced as a board game that caused elements of the jungle to magically appear in real life (leading to many, many dangerous circumstances along the way). In JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, however, things got a bit modernized. Jumanji now exists as a video game, and it’s a hazardous one at that, given that it sucks players into its world as soon as each person chooses their avatars.
In JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL, audiences will have the chance to reunite with the main protagonists of the previous movie, namely the geeky Spencer (Alex Wolff); the jock Anthony, aka Fridge (Ser'Darius Blain); the popular girl Bethany (Madison Iseman); and the cynical Martha (Morgan Turner). Originally, the disparate characters were brought together because they all had detention on the same day and were assigned to clean out their high school’s basement. It was there that they first found the Jumanji game cartridge and got pulled into the jungle-covered world (the same world where Robin Williams’ Alan Parrish was stuck for decades in the original JUMANJI).
Like any adventure game, Jumanji works by having players select characters that they will guide through the story, with each personality possessing certain positive and negative traits that impact how the plot unfolds. Of course, what’s special about Jumanji in particular is that it has its players actually become their avatars. In JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, Spencer became the brave adventurer Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson); Fridge was the short zoologist Franklin "Mouse" Finbar (Kevin Hart); Martha played as the ass-kicking Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan); and Bethany became the scientifically minded Professor Sheldon "Shelly" Oberon (Jack Black).
In a twist, it was also revealed that there is a fifth avatar, the pilot Jefferson "Seaplane" McDonough (Nick Jonas). The main characters discover that he is another player who has been stuck in the game for decades, and at the end of the film, they all manage to escape together.
Where Things Ended in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
While Spencer, Fridge, Bethany and Martha were all from totally different walks of life at the start of JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE, their adventure together bonded them in friendship, with old wounds being healed (namely between ex-best friends Spencer and Fridge), romances blossoming (namely Spencer and Martha), and personality flaws being overcome. They even did their best to prevent anyone else from ever being sucked into the world of Jumanji by using a bowling ball to smash the game cartridge.
Clearly, it was an effort that didn't work, however, given that the high schoolers will soon be back playing the game in JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL, along with Spencer’s grandfather (Danny DeVito) and his best friend (Danny Glover). We’ll just have to wait and see how the Jumanji game manages to reconstitute itself.
JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL arrives in theatres on December 13.