Tarzan is back. The King of the Jungle has been in movies for almost as long as movies have existed, making him one of the longest-running franchise characters in American popular culture. The newest iteration sees an insanely-ripped Alexander Skarsgård step into the iconic role in The Legend of Tarzan, which hits theaters on July 1. It's the first new Tarzan movie since 2013's computer animated Tarzan, which starred Kellan Lutz as the titular character. But how does Legend of Tarzan connect to other Tarzan movies?
Simply put, it doesn't. According to IMDb, over 100 films have been made about Tarzan over the last 100 years, so trying to keep up any kind of continuity would be impossible. Instead, Tarzan gets rebooted a lot, but like other classic characters, it's assumed that the audience knows the basic story. That is, he's a British man raised by apes in the African jungle, and he falls in love with a woman named Jane. The Legend of Tarzan picks up the story after all that familiar stuff has already occurred. Tarzan is back living in England as a perfect English gentleman named John Clayton, when he is lured back to the jungle under false pretenses and Jane is put in danger. He then reverts back to his animalistic tendencies, and Tarzan becomes King of the Jungle once again.
It remains to be seen where The Legend of Tarzan will fall in the pantheon of Tarzan movies, but here are some of the more prominent films about the King of the Jungle that it will be looking to live up to.
If you're alive today, odds are this animated Disney classic is the version of the character with which you're most familiar. Depicting the well-known origin story with some fun new talking animal characters, and set to a Phil Collins soundtrack that somehow works, Tarzan was the last film of Disney's powerhouse '90s.
Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984)
Perhaps the most prestigious Tarzan film with the possible exception of Disney's effort, this film received three Academy Award nominations, making it the first Oscar-nominated Tarzan movie.
Tarzan the Ape Man (1932)
Not to be confused with the 1981 film of the same name that's considered one of the worst movies ever made, this '30s version introduced Tarzan's iconic jungle yell, and was the first of twelve films to star Johnny Weissmuller in the lead role.
Tarzan and His Mate (1934)
The sequel to Tarzan the Ape Man is considered by some to be the best depiction of the character, and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2003.
Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939)
The fourth film to star Weissmuller, this film introduces Tarzan and Jane's adopted son, Boy.
Tarzan's New York Adventure (1942)
Guess who stars in this movie? That's right, Weissmuller, only this time he makes his way to the concrete jungle of New York City to rescue Boy after he's been kidnapped by a circus.
Tarzan of the Apes (1918)
The first ever on screen depiction of the character, this silent film is based on the first half of Edgar Rice Burroughs' first Tarzan novel, Tarzan of the Apes, which had been published just six years earlier.
Tarzan has a very long history in the cinema, but his heyday has long since past. Can The Legend of Tarzan put the King of the Jungle back on his throne? Will Alexander Skarsgård become the next Johnny Weissmuller and star in eleven sequels? We'll find out soon enough.
Images: Warner Bros. Pictures