In case you didn’t know, there’s a new Jumanji film in the works. It’ll star Central Intelligence duo Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Kevin Hart. Just in case they weren’t enough, Jack Black and Nick Jonas are in it, too. That’s a lot of beefcake for one magical board game movie. Anyway, Dwayne Johnson revealed on Instagram that this new film won’t be a “reboot.” Instead, the film will be “a continuation of the awesome Jumanji story.”
The obvious takeaway here is that this new Jumanji could be a sequel to the 1995 film. But Johnson doesn’t say “sequel,” because that’s a bit of a dirty word. So I’m not sure his post means anything at all. The language of franchises is extremely vague. “Reboot” is a near-meaningless buzzword that came about because it sounded better than “remake.” Now, to reboot something means bringing back or establishing a franchise via remake, sequel, or establishing a new canon. Because nostalgia is currency, studios reboot a lot of things these days.
In the current state of the film business, reboot, reinterpretation, remake, sequel, and prequel can all be the same thing. 2011’s The Thing is a prequel that rebooted the Thing franchise while remaking John Carpenter’s film, which itself was a remake of The Thing from Another World and reinterpretation of a novella. See what I mean? It’s a mess. It’s hard to tell what anyone means when they say something is or is not a reboot.
In the case of the new Jumanji, the only guarantee here is that we’re getting another movie about a board game puts its players in jungle-flavored peril. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Sony’s gonna call this new film Jumanji, like the first one. The only thing that matters is this: will it regard the events of the 1995 film as canon? Johnson certainly seems to be insinuating that. But we may not know for sure until the movie’s release date. That’s July 28, 2017, by the way. Mark your calendars!