The Rock is here to welcome you back to the jungle. Dwayne Johnson shared the first Jumanji 2 photo from the set on his Instagram page on Tuesday, March 11, and it looks like the whole gang's back together again. The sequel to 2017's Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle still doesn't have an official title yet, but at least it has all its main characters returning in this first look, and that's good enough for now.
Johnson posted a picture of himself as Dr. Smolder Bravestone, alongside Kevin Hart (Franklin “Mouse” Finbar), Karen Gillan (Ruby Roundhouse), and Jack Black (Professor Sheldon Oberon). In his caption on Instagram, Johnson wrote: "Yes, you’re favorite band is back ~ lookin’ lean (ish) and mean. Even though things may not be as they seem." (Obviously, "lean (ish)" for the Rock is still absolutely ripped, but otherwise the description is pretty accurate.)
As for the "things that aren't what they seem," SyFy observed that the cast is not in the jungle at all but in some sort of bar or club. Another anomaly is the man in the steampunk goggles on the left, which caused the outlet to wonder, "Have the avatars gone not just back to the jungle, but back in time to an alternate steam-powered Victorian era?" Though, to be fair, it also resembles the decor of the Bazaar seen in Jumanji. Whatever it is, Johnson has plenty of time to drop more plot clues before Jumanji 2 hits theaters on December 13.
Actors Ser’Darius Blain, Alex Wolff, Madison Iseman, and Morgan Turner are also set to return in the sequel as the Jumanji players, according to the Hollywood Reporter. But, there are some big name newcomers who will join in on the sequel fun. Danny Glover, Awkwafina, and Danny DeVito are set to join the cast, though no details about their characters have been revealed.
Johnson announced the movie's release date in June 2018, also with an Instagram post. This one featured the Jumanji graphic with the release date, Dec. 13, 2019, written below. He wrote in his sweet caption to accompany the news: "I hold JUMANJI very close to my heart and I’m beyond grateful you made our movie into the global juggernaut ($1BILLION+) it became."
In fact, Johnson loves Jumanji so much that he claimed he passed on hosting the Academy Awards this year because of the movie's shooting schedule. Amid all the hostless Oscar controversy in early February, people on Twitter were nominating their picks for host, and Dan Buffa tweeted: "If the Academy is so inclined to line up a great host for next year's Oscars, just pick @TheRock. Nuff said." Johnson replied, claiming that he was actually the Academy's first choice to host in 2019, but he had to turn it down. "We all tried hard, but couldn’t make it work since I’m shooting Jumanji," he wrote. "Academy and I were super bummed but maybe one day down the road."
Though Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle took a risk by making the beloved board game from the 1995 Robin Williams film into a video game, the film was a huge hit and became the fifth-highest grossing film of 2017, as reported by Box Offie Mojo, earning almost a billion dollars. Fans are sure to turn out to go back inside the game, even if it's not going back to the jungle. But we'll just have to wait for more first looks to find out exactly where the Jumanji crew is headed next.