‘Jumanji: The Next Level’: Which Stars Are Back for the Sequel?
Reboots and remakes are a dime a dozen these days. To that end, some moviegoers feel like they need to be constantly vigilant to protect their childhood favorites. Such was certainly the case when Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was released in 2017.
The 1995 Jumanji held a special place in the hearts of many fans who grew up with it. And that sentiment was heightened further by the tragic death of star Robin Williams in 2014. Yet, against all odds, the new Jumanji was a monster hit, bringing in $962 million worldwide.
Of course, Sony moved fairly quickly on a sequel. But which cast members are back onboard for Jumanji: The Next Level?
Some ‘Jumanji’ stars aren’t playing the same roles
Unlike the original film, the new Jumanji series has transformed the titular pastime from a board game into a video game. In Welcome to the Jungle, director Jake Kasdan contrasted the players with the avatars they assumed in the Jumanji game. The end result served the film’s humor but also perpetuated the characters’ personal journeys.
Jumanji: The Next Level takes this even further. Sure, the sequel could have allowed its teen heroes to take on the same playable characters within the game. But instead, the film lives up to its title by mixing and matching the movie characters with the game avatars in fresh, exciting ways.
This approach does risk overcomplicating an idea that is already fairly high-concept. But the new Jumanji films have wisely reveled in the insanity. We’re expecting audiences will turn out with just as much fervor this time around.
Dwayne Johnson and company are back
So now we’ve addressed how Jumanji: The Next Level toys with its characters. But which actors from the first film are returning for seconds? Fans of Welcome to the Jungle will be glad to know just about every familiar face is back in the game.
As the playable characters within the Jumanji game, all four marquee stars are back for The Next Level. Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, and Jack Black will reprise their roles, with Gillan taking a more central role in trailers. Nick Jonas is also back as Seaplane, a key avatar from the first film, and Rhys Darby returns as the in-game guide.
In addition, Alex Wolff, Morgan Turner, Ser’Darius Blain, and Madison Iseman reappear in The Next Level as the high schoolers who bonded after they got trapped inside the Jumanji game in the previous film. Likewise, Colin Hanks is back as a man who got lost in the game decades ago and was freed by the end of Welcome to the Jungle.
Danny DeVito and other new additions
Naturally, the sequel brings some new faces along for the ride, as well. This time out, Danny DeVito joins the cast as Eddie, the curmudgeonly grandfather of Wolff’s character. Danny Glover plays Eddie’s friend, who — along with Eddie — must adapt when the two men wind up trapped in the game.
Fresh from her critically lauded work in The Farewell, Awkwafina will appear in the film, as well. The rapper/actress is playing a new avatar, which the main characters discover in the game. However, it’s not clear exactly who is controlling that character.
As one of the biggest releases of the holiday season, Jumanji: The Next Level is expected to be among the most commercially successful films of 2019. In fact, the only real competition it faces in December is Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. With such a stellar cast and a fun story to tell, we think the Jumanji sequel will be just fine.
Jumanji: The Next Level opens in theaters on Dec. 13.