At the end of 2019, Jumanji: The Next Level arrives in cinema screens to not only continue the story of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, but also to expand upon the Jumanji legacy. If you’ve not checked out the trailer for The Next Level yet, then give it a whirl.

But if you’re new to the world of Jumanji, where do you start? What should you know and in what order should you watch the movies?

Welcome to Jumanji

First and foremost you should know that Jumanji is based on a 1981 children’s picture book (also titled Jumanji). Written by Chris Van Allsburg, the book introduced the concept of a magical board game with the ability to whisk players into a fantasy world.

In 1995, the book was adapted into a film, then an animated series and a couple of sequels. A spin-off book called Zathura was also published and this in turn became a movie.

OK, so that’s a little back story, but if you want to watch the Jumanji films in order where should you start?

I’m about to provide you with a number of options. Choose wisely.

The Alan Parrish order

Image: ©TriStar Pictures

This viewing order covers the three main entries in the series, beginning with the 1995 action adventure film, Jumanji. This order – which I’m calling the Alan Parrish order – begins the story in the 1960s, when a young boy gets trapped in a board game.

The first movie in this viewing order stars Robin Williams in the role of Alan Parrish. The next two films feature Dwayne Johnson.

The films should be viewed as follows:

  • Jumanji (1995)
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)
  • Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)

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The Alan Parrish order II

Slightly different this time around. This viewing order includes two live-action movies, plus Jumanji: The Animated Series.

The films and TV show should be viewed as follows:

  • Jumani: The Animated Series (1996-1999)
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)
  • Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)

So why is the original film being omitted?

Jumanji: The Animated Series tells an alternative take on the Jumanji story. Alan Parrish is one of the main characters, but this time around he has a number of adventures in the world of Jumanji and a different resolution to his story.

If you want to know more about Jumanji: The Animated Series I recommend you check out my post: A guide to Jumanji. This will give you the highlights of the series, and explores more of the mythology.

If you watch all three seasons of the animated show, you can then move onto Welcome to the Jungle and The Next Level.

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The expanded universe

Image: ©Columbia Pictures

In addition to the three main movies (and that animated series), Columbia Pictures released a spiritual follow-up to Jumanji, called Zathura: A Space Adventure. Zathura is not a sequel to Jumanji and does not feature any of the same characters, but it does revolve around a similar premise and feels like it is part of the same world.

The viewing order for this one is very simple:

  • Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005)

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The production order

Image: ©Columbia Pictures

And finally, should you want to watch all the content set (or sort of set) in the Jumanjiverse, then you had best watch everything in production order. This is as follows:

  • Jumanji (1995)
  • Jumani: The Animated Series (1996-1999)
  • Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005)
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)
  • Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)

And that’s pretty much it. Happy viewing and… game on!

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