Recently, Dwayne Johnson confirmed that a direct sequel to Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is currently being worked on. It's not all that surprising, considering the film is coming dangerously close to becoming a billion-dollar box office success around the world. However, while Welcome to the Jungle lent itself well to being a sort-of sequel to the original Jumanji, while still allowing the franchise to go in a new direction, it seems like the plan for this movie is to be a more direct sequel, and that is interesting.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was a really fun movie and I have no problem with a sequel being made in general. However, the mere idea creates several interesting questions about the franchise that may have equally interesting answers.
How Does The Game Evolve?
One of the things that made Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle work was the way that it stood on its own by completely changing the way the game worked within the movie. However, if the main cast of actors (Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black) are all going to be coming back (which is the indication), how would a sequel justify that while still allowing for these same avatars to exist? The board game actually transformed into a console video game back in the 1980s, so perhaps it will evolve again in the modern day. If it transformed into some sort of online MMO or VR title, it could still be a "video game" while also evolving the concept into something somewhat fresh so it's not simply a case of people going back into the same game.
Will We Get New Players?
While we fully expect the big movie stars of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle to return, the same may not be true for the "players" in control of those avatars. At the end of Welcome to the Jungle, they actually smash the Jumanji game cartridge (we'll get to that) so it seems unlikely they would voluntarily return to the place where they all almost died. It seems more likely that we could get new players in control of the avatars. The kids were mostly just tropes anyway, that was sort of the point. Although, if we are going to get new people playing the game, that opens up another, potentially deeper question.
How Could The Avatars Change?
If we do end up seeing a new set of players controlling our in-game avatar heroes, it does open up what could be the most interesting idea for a Jumanji sequel. If the players change, then the personalities of the five avatars would also change. What if instead of the shy geek, the person controlling Smolder Bravestone was actually a young girl or a senior citizen. The original Jumanji saw the game being played by both kids and adults, and changing the age, gender, or simply the attitude, of any of the players could completely "change the game" so to speak. Just because we'll likely get the same actors doesn't mean we have to get the same characters.
Will We Get New Avatars?
Of course, if the version of the game within the movie does go through significant changes, we could also get entirely new avatars. While The Rock made a joke in his announcement of a sequel that he'd be killing off Kevin Hart's character, thus implying Hart would otherwise have a role, perhaps Dwayne Johnson will only actually produce the sequel and the new movie will actually contain a partially or entirely new cast of characters. It's not uncommon for video game franchises to replace playable characters in sequels, and perhaps that will happen in this film sequel. It would certainly be a way to make a new story.
Are There More Copies Of The Game Out There?
As previously noted, at the end of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the kids smash the game to pieces in order to be sure that nobody else accidentally plays it. That's going to make returning to the world of Jumanji somewhat difficult. Of course, any mystical explanation can be invented to explain how the spirit of the game might survive. However, since we have no idea where Jumanji came from, we can't know for certain that the game that we see in the films is the only edition of the game that's in the open. Perhaps there are other versions of the game out there and one of them will get uncovered at the beginning of the sequel.
Are There More Worlds Out There?
If we do see another copy of the Jumanji game as the centerpiece of the new movie, could we possibly see a game that takes players to a different sort of world? One of the other things that video game sequels tend to do to change things up is set the characters in new and unique locations. If we are going to see a game sequel as the focus of this movie sequel, perhaps it could put the avatars in someplace other than a jungle environment. If we are going to have the same characters again in the same sort of a location, the movie is going to need to do something very interesting with its story to keep things fresh and an audience engaged.