Why Nick Jonas Is Glad Jumanji: Into The Jungle Isn’t A Direct Sequel

Jack Black, Nick Jonas, and Karen Gillan in Welcome to the Jungle

If there's one trend that's been dictating how TV and film projects are produced, it's nostalgia. As a result, there's a ton of long awaited sequels and revivals that are on the way, including Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. The blockbuster will hit theaters later this week, and is bringing the Jumanji property into a modern context through a wild video game adventure that has almost no resemblance to the 1995 original. In many ways this is helpful for the sequel, as it can avoid comparisons to the beloved original film. And for Nick Jonas, this also helped his job as an actor. When I asked how it was to create his own character in the Jumanji universe, he told me:

They did a great job with crafting a new Jumanji adventure, while still having some of those nostalgic moments about the first one that we all love. But as an actor, it was a nice thing to be able to create your own character. And tell your own story in a sense, and have that kind of freedom.

It looks like Nick Jonas is psyched about playing the mysterious role of Alex in Welcome to the Jungle, rather than some distant relative of Robin Williams' character Alan from the original film.

During my conversations with Nick Jonas and the rest of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle's cast, they all seemed psyched to be apart of the Jumanji universe. In particular, Jonas and his co-stars are especially psyched about their roles, given that the blockbuster isn't a direct sequel. This allows them each to have freedom in their characterization, and production and the writers to take bolder choices-- free from needing to be too connected to the Robin Williams original.

While Jumanji's board game brought the dangers of the titular jungle to the real world, Welcome to the Jungle will do the opposite. Instead, the story focuses on four high school students who are sucked into the jungle when they try and play an 8-bit video game. The starring cast of the film plays those kids' respective avatars in-game, giving them the duel roles of playing a teenager and having the physicality of a video game character. Nick Jonas' role as Alex has been mostly kept under wraps, but he's been seen in the promotional images and trailers working alongside the likes of The Rock, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan.

You can see my conversation with Nick Jonas below.

And the early reception for this choice seems to be well received by reviewers; Welcome to the Jungle currently holds an 80% approval on Rotten Tomatoes. Of course, it will have some stiff competition at the box office, going up against The Greatest Showman, and the second weekend of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle arrives in theaters December 20th. In the meantime, check out our 2018 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.