Jumanji has become a pop culture touchstone in the years since the 1995 original debuted with Robin Williams in the lead role. Building off of that tradition, it now looks like the long-awaited sequel, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, will embrace that idea and take a much closer look at other movie mainstays when it debuts this December. In fact, Dwayne Johnson opened up to CinemaBlend and other outlets during a visit to the Jumanji set last year and explained that the film would feature some notable shoutouts to Star Wars and Indiana Jones. Johnson said:
Indiana Jones, like a lot of us, was one of my top movies of all time. It's literally the movie where, when I was 8 years old, I thought, 'Wow, I want to do that.' Not necessarily, 'I want to be an actor.' But I want to be that guy. That guy is cool. That's why there are nods in the movie to Harrison Ford, and to that movie. Like, I have my hat. This is such a dorky thing, but like this [side saddle], this is my nod to Harrison in Star Wars. Right? It's kind of like slung real low. There's little things, little Easter eggs.
It looks like we can (at least partially) thank Harrison Ford for getting The Rock into the adventure genre at a young age. Franchises like Star Wars and Indiana Jones have become watershed moments in the blockbuster movie realm, and it seems that Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle will honor them with little visual elements and small moments -- such as a hat, or a low-slung bag to reference Indy or Han Solo. This does not necessarily imply any narrative connection to any of these films, but Jumanji apparently seems to know the source of its core DNA.
The overarching premise of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle arguably lends itself to this pop culture-centric approach more than the first film. By aiming for video games and gaming tropes, the belated sequel has already set itself up to examine a relatively contemporary cultural idea -- rather than the timelessness of a board game. Star Wars and Indiana Jones fall under that banner and they fit perfectly within this world, so it only makes sense to pay homage.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle takes the original idea for the first film and puts a new twist on it. Focusing on a group of kids in detention at their school, we follow them as they discover a video game (called Jumanji) and proceed to get mysteriously sucked into its jungle setting. Transformed into avatars with three lives each, the film unfolds as this group of mismatched teenagers learn to work together to get out of the game alive. Think Tron meets Indiana Jones with a dash of The Breakfast Club thrown in for good measure.
Check out a trailer for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle below to get a good look at The Rock (as well as the rest of the cast) in action!