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Although Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle only had slight references to the first film, Jumanji 3 will continue to connect the series to the original movie. Welcome to the Jungle was a follow-up to Joe Johnston's original Jumanji which released in 1995. It starred Robin Williams and centered around two kids who wound up playing a board game that brought the creatures and the world of Jumanji to life.
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle took that idea and flipped it on its head, sucking the players into the game itself. In order to appear more relevant for modern audiences, Jumanji was converted to a video game. Fans of Williams were no doubt skeptical of filmmakers making another Jumanji film since the original is beloved by fans; however, Dwayne Johnson was quick to point out that the new film was actually a sequel, not a reboot. Johnson also promised to honor William's character Alan Parrish in the sequel, which they did by showing Nick Jonas' character, Seaplane McDonough, take refuge in a tree house that Parrish built. While it was a small reference, director Jake Kasdan confirmed that Jumanji 3 would again reference the first film.
When talking with Slashfilm, Kasdan explained how the third Jumanji film would connect with both of the previous movies. While he admits that Jumanji 3 is mostly a continuation of Welcome to the Jungle, Kasdan commented that, "Our hope is to keep a long continuity through the whole thing. We love the idea of keeping all of this together and connected in some way or another.” Slashfilm also reported that Kasdan is still trying to make a Christmas 2019 release date which Johnson had previously confirmed.
Even though Kasdan didn't go into detail on how the new sequel would incorporate the first film, it's likely that the third movie's references will be comparable to Welcome to the Jungle. The sequel managed to have a Robin Williams tribute without heavily relying on the movie, allowing Welcome to the Jungle to become its own unique take on Chris Van Allsburg's picture book.
It wasn't much of a surprise when the third film was announced since Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was a huge success for Sony. The Jumanji sequel even grew to become Sony's most successful film ever at the domestic box office, beating out Sam Raimi's original Spider-Man which previously held the record for Sony's highest grossing film. If Jumanji 3 remains on track, it will be released in December 2019, which means it will once again be going up against a Star Wars film at the box office. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle did pretty well against The Last Jedi, but only time will tell if Kasdan can repeat his success when Jumanji 3 hits theaters next winter.