2017’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle didn’t exactly set up a sequel, with the cursed videogame console (formerly a board game in the 1995 original Jumanji) destroyed at the end of the film and, handily, our heroes apparently reaching the end of their emotional journeys.
And yet, just two years later the franchise is back with Jumanji: The Next Level – and at the conclusion of this film, another entry in the series looks far more likely, with a post-credits scene setting up an intriguing new premise.
Look away now if you haven’t seen the film, as we’re dealing with spoilers from hereon out.
At the conclusion of the film, lead characters Spencer, Fridge, Martha, Bethany and their friends have managed to beat the Jumanji game once more, Spencer appears to have resolved his issues and all is well – but as the gang head to a diner for a victory meal, trouble is stirring back at Spencer’s house.
In a post-credits scene (which arrives very quickly) a heating engineer played by New Girl’s Lamorne Morris is taken down to the basement by Spencer’s mother, only to discover the partially broken Jumanji console and start to investigate it.
The fruits of his investigation aren’t seen exactly – but back at the diner the kids begin to hear the trademark beating drums of Jumanji (usually signalling danger is coming) as a horde of violent ostriches race down the streets of their town.
At the very end of the credits, the Jumanji drums and a single ostrich squawk can also be heard, indicating that there’s more to come from this latest twist.
Karen Gillan and Jack Black in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle; Robin Williams and Kirsten Dunst in the original Jumanji (Sony, Getty, HF)
Assuming it’s not just a joke, this ending could signal the direction planned for an upcoming new Jumanji sequel – technically the fourth or fifth film in the saga if you count 2005 film Zathura (which some say takes place in the same universe) but the third with the current cast line-up – where the videogame world of Jumanji begins to invade our own world.
This would mean our heroes have to face the deadly animals, villains and other challenges of Jumanji without their powerful videogame characters, really putting them through the wringer as their real life and limb is in danger – though we’re sure the avatars (played by Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black and Kevin Hart) – would still be included in some way, considering they’ve essentially been the faces and lead characters of these last two films.
And when you think about it, the idea of the jungle world invading our own isn’t that big a twist on the formula – it is the formula. In the original Jumanji movie, the characters (bar Robin Williams’ Alan Parrish) weren’t sucked into the game, the game came to them, and had to be played in real life while jungle creatures and perils leaked into present-day America.
If this is the direction writer/director Jon Kasdan is going in, it’s a way of freshening up the formula – they’re not just going into another videogame level again – while actually returning to a more faithful kind of follow-up, in keeping with the story of the original Jumanji.
Assuming, of course, they don’t just make it “Jumanji, but VR!” next time.
Jumanji: The Next Level is in UK cinemas now