Jumanji: The Next Level was an inevitable sequel when its Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle predecessor was a massive hit at the box office. However, when director Jake Kasdan was writing and directing the movie in 2017, he did not know that he might have a whole new franchise on his hands. Now, only two years later, Sony is gearing up to release a sequel to the film which relaunched the Jumanji stories, bringing back the original cast and adding a few very welcome additions. Speaking to ComicBook.com, Kasdan opened up about tackling the sequel which his first effort did not leave much easy room for.
"The truth is we made the first movie without really thinking about a sequel," Kasdan said. "That wasn't where we were focused at all. It was always sort of thought like, 'Let's try to do one as well as we can.' You know? And honestly even with this, it's always, I always think of it like, to me it kind of isn't successful if it isn't a closed loop. I want the movie to stand on its own two feet, you know what I mean? So it wasn't until afterwards and it had had this sort of surprising and thrilling life and we were like, it would be crazy not to think about what we could do next with this. We all loved doing it. We loved working together and that was how it got rolling."
Although The Next Level does have a beginning, a middle, and an end, it does its fair share of allowing for a story to pick up in a third movie. This is something Welcome to the Jungle did not lend itself to when The Next Level's story started coming together. The first installment from Kasdan saw the Jumanji game being destroyed, meaning that they literally had to put the game back together for The Next Level to exist.
"We sort of knew that it had to come from a place of what's happening with these characters," Kasdan said. "For me that would be the access point to then kind of go bigger and figure out how all the ways we could expand on it and vary it. And it was like how do we make it different? And then like how do we sort of blow out what we did last time? And then also how do we locate our people, these characters that we've sort of become attached to, played by both the kids and the avatars, you know what I mean? Where are they, what's going on with them and how could we possibly get to a story where they're back there. And then you start to put it together from that place."
The final product in Jumanji: The Next Level landed the film a four-star review from Comicbook.com. Are you looking forward to the movie? Share your thoughts in the comment section or send them my way on Instagram and Twitter!
Jumanji: The Next Level hits theaters on December 13.