Every time a new idea surfaces, a new name is added, a new rumour is leaked about Jake Kasdan‘s Jumanji, it becomes more and more of an enigma. From what we know already, for better or worse, the new movie looks like it is going to be a completely different beast from its inspiration and namesake. Starring Dwayne ‘the Rock Johnson’ should tell you that, if nothing else, but there’s plenty more to go on: the inclusion of his partner in crime, Kevin Hart, as well as the likes of Nick Jonas and Jack Black joining the cast hardly adds up to something that looks like the Robin Williams original. Not to mention Jake Kasdan’s directorial style.
A new revelation has added further mysterious to just how similar the two movies will end up.
In the original film, Annabel Kershaw played Martha, the mother of the two Judy and Peter, the kids who find and unleash the magical board game. She doesn’t play a huge role in the movie. Her death alongside her husband Jim is the reason that Judy and Peter move into their aunt’s house where they find the game. She appears briefly after all the action has taken place as the movie settles into its new equilibrium.
But the role of a character called Martha in the new movie has been reported to be a hugely coveted role, with a number of A-list actors allegedly battling over it.
It was won, in the end, but Karen Gillan, most recognisable from her roles on Doctor Who and Guardians of the Galaxy.
Already, the character is very different. For a start, she’s hardly old enough to be the parent of kids the age of the original Judy and Peter.
It lends credence to the claim that the new movie won’t be a remake, but a continuation of the story. After all, why cast such a talented name for a two minute role?
Rumours are already spreading that this might mean that the new movie is a prequel rather than a sequel, perhaps telling the story of Martha and Jim Shepherd – or even Aunt Nora, who has held onto Jumanji for who knows how many years – before Judy and Peter came along.
Maybe it is a sequel and she’s a descendant of the original Martha, named for her grandmother (or great-grandmother, or … so on). Maybe the name is a simple homage on the writers’ part and the two characters have no relationship whatsoever.
Until the new movie is released in July 2017, we can only speculate.