When it was announced that there was a sequel coming to 1995 Robin Williams movie Jumanji, many fans had just one question in their minds – how will the film pay tribute to the original’s late star, who sadly died shortly before the sequel was announced?
Now we can reveal that Williams’ role in the saga is acknowledged in the new film in a sweet and subtle way, in a scene where Nick Jonas’ character Alex invites the main characters (played by Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Back and Karen Gillan) into his treehouse.
Written on the wall is “Alan Parrish was here”, a reference to Williams’ original character, who was similarly trapped in the jungle world of Jumanji for years in the first film.
“This house was built by Alan Parrish – I just live in it,” Jonas’ character adds when asked about the message. Star Karen Gillan says there was never any question of not including some reference to him in their new movie.
“It was incredibly important!” Gillan told RadioTimes.com. “It would have been the worst thing ever to not do that. I don’t think there was ever a version of the movie where we didn’t do that.
“I mean, you can’t ignore the legacy of Jumanji when there are so many fans. Like me!”
Of course Williams’ Alan Parrish wasn’t the only part of the original film to be referenced in the new story, with the villain (played by Bobby Cannavale) sharing the “Van Pelt” surname of the 1995 movie’s villain and the new film beginning with more or less the same shot that the last movie ended with.
“The original finished with the game in the sand, and some people running past it,” Gillan agreed.
“It’s a continuation. I think that they definitely struck the right balance there with paying homage to the original, but then also not trying to recreate the original,” she added.
“That would have been the worst, because you can’t recreate something that good. But to give it its own new concept and evolve it, but also giving nods to the original was I think the right way to go.”