SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Jumanji: The Next Level. If you have not yet seen the film, proceed at your own risk!
After yet another rousing adventure set within the confines of a video game world, Jake Kasdan’s Jumanji: The Next Level sets up an awesome approach for the next chapter with a very tease-y mid-credits sequence. While the details of the circumstances aren’t immediately made clear, it would appear that the next film in the series is going to take a page out of the playbook from the 1995 original and have the perils of Jumanji enter the real world.
This would seemingly imply that the franchise’s “real world” heroes are going to have the chance to meet their in-game avatars, and that’s a tremendously exciting proposal. And while nothing has been confirmed just yet, Jumanji: The Next Level’s Madison Iseman, Morgan Turner, and Rhys Darby are already considering what it could possibly mean for their respective characters in the upcoming sequel:
Last week, in advance of Jumanji: The Next Level’s release on 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD, I went on a special movie-themed adventure, and it was following an overnight stay in Solvang, California that I had the pleasure of sitting down with three of the film’s stars. In separate interviews I asked the actors what their expectations are for what’s coming in the future, and they all definitely shared a legitimate excitement.
Speaking specifically to how the real world characters are going to interact with their avatars, Madison Iseman, who plays the ditzy Bethany, went a bit bigger with the question by noting that determining the base personalities of the in-game heroes – played by Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, Karen Gillan, and Nick Jonas – is going to be a challenge for the sequel, given that we only know how they act when they are taking on the personalities of individuals sucked into the game. It’s an element of Jumanji 4 that very much has her excited:
I have no idea [how they are going to interact] because these avatars have our personalities [in the game], so if that's the direction they decide to go with it, they're going to have to figure out who they are, which is interesting! It'll be really cool to see.
Taking that ball and running with it, Morgan Turner, who plays the introverted Martha, noted that just because the real world characters are familiar with their avatars doesn’t necessarily mean that they will totally get along. Martha may be able to open up a bit when playing as Karen Gillan’s Ruby Roundhouse in the game, but they may clash when Ruby comes to life:
I think it will be cool to just see, like you're saying, what kind of personalities they're all gonna have, and if like we actually don't get along. Like what if we don't get along with our avatars?
As for Rhys Darby, he has a totally different perspective on the matter, as the character he plays, Nigel, isn’t simply another avatar. Instead, he’s what’s called a Non-Playable Character (or N.P.C.), meaning that he isn’t so much a thinking individual as he is a limited collection of recorded lines and movements.
If Nigel is brought into the real world in Jumanji 4 and becomes an actual person, his whole existence will completely change – and not only is that an awesome concept for Nigel narratively, it’s also a terrific for Darby as an actor getting to do a bit more than he’s been doing thus far in this franchise:
I'm excited because if Nigel ends up in the real world, what will he be? Will he be real? I hope so, and therefore I can go off script and make Nigel funnier than Kevin [Hart], and funnier than [Dwayne Johnson’s] Bravestone. I know they're all funny. Obviously Jack [Black]’s amazing, and even Karen [Gillan], but the thing is, is that I'm funnier than all of them in real life, so I need to show that. Sorry.
We here at CinemaBlend couldn’t be more excited for what develops with Jumanji 4, and will be following the development of that project closely in the coming months/years. For now, movie-goers everywhere can rewatch Jumanji: The Next Level as many times as they please, as the film is now available for digital download, and on 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD.