- Chris Van Allsburg hated the idea of a Jumanji sequel set in the White House, which led him to write Zathura instead.
- The recent Jumanji movies, with their video game concept, have been a vast improvement over the original sequel idea.
- The video game concept allows for comedy and appeals to modern audiences with its pop culture references. Jumanji 4 is in the works.
Chris Van Allsburg, author of the classic children’s book that served as the basis for the Jumanji movie franchise, has revealed a ridiculous plan producers had for a sequel to the Robin Williams movie. Despite receiving mixed reviews at the time of its original release, Jumanji managed to draw in over $262 million at the worldwide box office and go on to be regarded as one of the late comedian’s most iconic films. Long-gestating plans for a sequel eventually came to fruition with 2005’s Zathura: A Space Adventure, before the franchise eventually received a more modern overhaul with 2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
In a recent interview with SyFy Wire, Van Allsburg revealed that long before Zathura: A Space Adventure, producers had approached him for plans for an unlikely Jumanji sequel that would have been set in The White House. The author even says he hated the idea so much, that it is what prompted him to write Zathura. Check out his comments below:
I don’t know if there was a single writer involved, but [they] decided that that event happened in Normandy, that the game had floated across the ocean. The game ends up in an antique shop in Normandy and stays there for some period of time.
[The President has] promised his kids to bring back a souvenir from his trip [to celebrate D-Day]. And so, the presidential entourage stops at this little antique shop in Normandy and the President goes in and finds this old board game, Jumanji. He packs it up and he takes it back to Washington, DC and then all the mayhem that the game can generate is generated in the White House and the halls of Congress … They had some crazy stuff. I think there was a gorilla that climbs the Washington Monument in an homage to King Kong.
[One scene would have featured animals being cut in half by a propellor] then they were able to reassemble themselves into different parts of an animal. It was just a really lame excuse to see what some CGI artist could do. Totally idiotic.
One of the producers said to me, ‘The only thing that would keep them from making this is a better idea.’
How Jumanji’s New Video Game Concept Was The Perfect Sequel Choice
While Van Allsburg seems pleased that the original plan for a Jumanji sequel never came to fruition, more recently the franchise has enjoyed considerable success with the movies led by Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan. Transforming the board game from the original movie into a magical video game where players assume the role of in-game avatars, the most recent installments provide audiences with a compelling twist to the original Jumanji concept. Offering plenty of comedic fodder, the franchise’s updated concept is a vast improvement on the White House pitch Van Allsburg detested so much.
Jumanji 4 Needs More Than Next Level’s OG Actor Return To Unite The Rock & Robin Williams’ Movies
Jumanji: The Next Level brought back a member of the original Jumanji’s cast, and Jumanji 4 needs to go even further with this strategy.
Yet perhaps what makes Jumanji’s new video game concept so successful is that it not only allows Johnson and his co-stars to showcase their comedic prowess, but it also provides modern audiences with a far more relevant pop culture element than the board game could have ever offered. Just like the nostalgia surrounding the inclusion of a ‘60s-era game in the mid-1990s, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Jumanji: The Next Level offer a similar retrospective leap by depicting the game as a ‘90s-era video console complete with the 16-bit graphics of the time.
This time difference allows older viewers the chance to reflect directly on entertainment trends popular during their youth, while not being so expansive as to completely alienate younger viewers. What happens to Jumanji‘s titular game after the next chapter in the franchise remains to be seen, though with plans currently in place for Jumanji 4, it will be interesting to see what Johnson and his co-stars have in store for audiences.
Source: SyFy Wire
Jumanji is an action-adventure comedy film by director Joe Johnston and starring Robin Williams. Two orphan siblings move into a home occupied by the former Parrish family, whose son disappeared years ago. When the two start playing a mysterious board game known as “Jumanji,” they unknowingly release the missing Alan Parrish later, along with various other jungle-themed dangers that can only be stopped if they finish the game.
- Release Date
- December 15, 1995
- Joe Johnston
- Robin Williams , Kirsten Dunst , David Alan Grier , Bonnie Hunt , Jonathan Hyde , Bebe Neuwirth
- 104 Minutes
- Jonathan Hensleigh , Greg Taylor , Jim Strain
- TriStar Pictures , Interscope Communications
- Sony Pictures Releasing