Q: Is the new "Jumanji" movie the third movie in the series, or the fourth? I heard someone say it was the fourth but I only know of three.

« Back to Q & A

Adam Thomlison / TV Media

Anyone saying that "Jumanji: The Next Level" is the third "Jumanji" movie is making the understandable mistake of forgetting about "Zathura: A Space Adventure." And to be fair, the director of "Zathura" made a point of forgetting about "Jumanji."

Both "Jumanji" (1995) and "Zathura" (2005) were based on children's books written by Chris Van Allsburg. The "Zathura" book was a direct sequel -- the "Jumanji" book ends by introducing the main "Zathura" characters. The "Zathura" book starts with those characters intending to play the same board game from the first book, but underneath that board they find a second game, called Zathura.

All that continuity is stripped from the movies. Their only commonality is that both movies are about board games that transform the world around them as they're played.

Jon Favreau, who directed the film "Zathura," said in an interview with the Los Angeles Daily News that he thought 1995's "Jumanji" was "too complicated" and "went down a lot of dead ends," and he didn't want people to link his movie to that one.

But the studio disagreed, and so the poster for "Zathura" said that it existed in the same universe as "Jumanji." 

Therefore, "Jumanji: The Next Level" is, in fact, the fourth movie in the series and it, at least, maintained a definite link to its predecessor, 2017's "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle."

Not only did they not wait another decade between sequels this time, but they also kept the same characters and even actors, with Dwayne Johnson ("Ballers"), Karen Gillan ("Avengers: Endgame," 2019), Jack Black ("The Brink") and Kevin Hart ("Ride Along," 2014 reprising their roles.

If you haven't seen "Zathura," it's worth a watch. At least, according to DenofGeek.com it is -- they admitted it was "easy to forget" about this entry in the franchise, but called it "a terrific movie worthy of reappraisal."


Have a question? Email us at questions@tvtabloid.com. Please include your name and town. Personal replies will not be provided.