How Night At The Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again Handled Including Robin Williams’ Franchise Favorite Character

Robin Williams stands smiling in the museum loading dock in Night At The Museum: Secret of the Tomb.
(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Throughout the run of the original Night at the Museum movies, one of the constants that nailed down the formula was Robin Williams’ Theodore Roosevelt. Reviving the world of the franchise through the new movie release Kahmunrah Rises Again, a huge question arose about how the series would handle including or omitting the presence of Williams’ fan favorite character.

When asking about the decision process pertaining to Teddy’s inclusion in this animated Disney+ feature, franchise producer Shawn Levy offered some keen insight. I was given the opportunity to speak with the director of the original trilogy of films, and a protective steward of the saga at large, during the press day for Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again

Still very active in the saga he helped put on the map in 2006 original, here’s what Levy told CinemaBlend about the thought process involved in handling Teddy Roosevelt: 

The confluence of Robin’s death with the release of [Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb] was a very emotional time for me. We knew that Teddy was an iconic character from the film franchise. There was always going to be a Teddy, but I didn’t want someone who was gonna emulate Robin’s character, Robin’s readings. So it was somehow appropriate and meaningful that Tom Lennon plays the voice of Teddy Roosevelt.

After Robin Williams’ untimely death in 2014, the third and final live-action Night at the Museum film ended up becoming a proper, bittersweet sendoff for Williams’ Teddy Roosevelt. With Ben Stiller’s Larry Daley leaving his post at the Museum of Natural History, the presumed end of the story left the world with one of the most beautifully heartbreaking goodbyes ever committed to film.

It’s become so memorable that Williams’ last lines from the clip below have been used as an inspirational social media meme. Watching that moment for yourself, you can see why: 

Between the sorrow still felt from Robin Williams’ death and the way the story of that film closed things so beautifully, it initially felt weird to see Teddy Roosevelt brought to animated life. Watching Teddy’s return through animation in Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again seemed to quell all of those doubts, as Thomas Lennon’s delivery fits the character while being its own thing.

What makes it even more fitting is, as Shawn Levy noted, the comedy veteran helped originate the Night at the Museum film series with his Reno 911 co-star and writing partner Robert Ben Garant. The two even cameoed in a previous installment, and Levy’s favorite of the bunch, Battle of the Smithsonian, as Garant and Lennon played the likenesses of the Wright Brothers in the Air and Space museum. 

That pedigree makes for a perfect successor to the role of Theodore Roosevelt, though as Thomas Lennon mentioned in a recent interview with, that history didn’t change the fact that he had to audition for the role in Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again. As far as Shawn Levy is concerned, that casting only reinforces the work ethic he applies to his live-action directing gigs: 

So Thomas Lennon plays Teddy, and Thomas Lennon has been with me in this franchise since he wrote the first draft of the first movie, 17 years ago. If you talk to anyone who’s worked with me, this isn’t every director’s approach, I really want people to have great experiences in the creative process. And I wanted to leave a good feeling, so that you can collaborate again in the future. It’s why so many actors and I have done multiple movies together, and it’s been with me and Lennon and Garant. So it was just really kind of meaningful that Tom plays the voice of Teddy. It felt like if anyone’s going to, let it be someone who’s been with this franchise from its origin.

Shifting to the world of animation was a huge change up for the Night at the Museum series, as the action of Kahmunrah Rises Again gets to go bigger than ever. At the same time, maintaining series hallmarks like Alan Silvestri’s enchanting theme and the indomitable spirit of Theodore Roosevelt only make the trip back to this New York landmark feel like returning home. The magic is back again in Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again, bringing the world of natural history and supernatural excitement to all who hold a Disney+ subscription

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.