Want to navigate through the perilous realms of Jumanji, but confused by all of the different games and realities (yep, there’s more than one). Well fear not, in this post I am taking a look at the entire Jumanji movie universe, to explain how time (and space) play out across the course of the film series.
I am setting out a timeline for all of the films, incorporating the events of Jumanji (1995), Zathura (2005), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) and Jumanji: The Next Level (2019), to create one neat little guide. So, strap yourself in and prepare to journey with me as I run through the Jumanji universe from start to finish, stopping off in 1869, 1969, 2016 and various other points in time!
The Jumanji timeline explained
1869 – In 1869, two boys bury the Jumanji board game in Brantford, New Hampshire. The board game is locked inside a large wooden chest and it is implied that the boys are very familiar with the game, and hope no one ever plays it.
1969 – Alan Parrish – the young son of a local shoe manufacturer – discovers a large wooden chest buried within the grounds of a construction site. He opens up the chest, discovers the Jumanji board game inside, and takes it home.
Later that evening, Alan and his friend Sarah Whittle play the game. During Alan’s turn, a message materialises in the centre of the board which reads ‘In the Jungle you must wait, until the dice read five or eight.’ After the message has appeared in full, Alan is transported into the game, where he remains trapped inside a jungle environment for 26 years.
1995 – Nora Shepherd, her niece Judy, and her nephew Peter, move into the Parrish house – which has been abandoned for years. Judy and Peter are living with their aunt after their parents died in a car crash.
Inside the house, Peter and Judy discover the Jumanji board game and begin to play. During the course of the game, a now adult Alan Parrish is released from the game, along with various jungle creatures.
In order to return the creatures back to the world of Jumanji, Alan, Peter, and Judy recruit Alan’s friend Sarah (who is also now an adult) to help them finish the game.
After a series of near misses with various jungle wildlife, as well as a hunter named Van Pelt, all four players complete the game. With the game over, time is reset and both Alan and Sarah are returned to 1969.
1969 – Alan and Sarah find themselves back in 1969, where they recall all the events that took place between ‘69 and ‘95. Keen not to let history repeat itself, Alan and Sarah put the Jumanji board game back in the chest and throw it into the river. They then move on with their lives.
1995 – Alan and Sarah – now married, with their first child on the way – throw a Christmas party for all of their employees. Their newest member of staff is Mr. Shepherd – the father of Peter and Judy – who they discourage from taking any trips (thus preventing him and his wife from dying in a car accident).
Meanwhile, while the Parrishs and the Shepherds are enjoying Christmas, the Jumanji board game washes up on a beach in France.
1996 – The Jumanji board game has washed up on a beach in Brantford, where it is discovered by Mr. Vreeke. Mr. Vreeke takes the game home and gives it to his son, Alex.
Uninterested in the game, Alex sets it to one side, where overnight it transforms from a board game into a video game cartridge. More interested in a video game than a board game, Alex plays the cartridge and gets transported into Jumanji – where he remains for 20 years.
2005 – Walter and Danny Budwing are quarrelling brothers, spending a weekend at their father’s house. While their father is busy working, the brothers play a board game called Zathura, which Danny found in the basement.
Zathura is a (dangerous) space adventure game, which not only blasts the house into space, but also brings a robot and aliens to the Budwing household. The brothers quickly understand that the only way to return to normal is to complete the game.
The brothers continue to argue throughout the course of the game, and during a turn when Walter is given the opportunity to make a wish, he wishes his brother away. The game grants Walter’s wish and in doing so leaves him as the only player in the game.
Without Danny to help him complete Zathura, Walter remains trapped in the game for 15 years.
2020 – An adult Walter – now in the guise of an astronaut – enters a wormhole, which allows him to travel back to 2005.
2005 – Walter and Danny Budwing discover a board game called Zathura. During the course of the game, the two brothers meet an astronaut who brings a warning about playing the game.
The astronaut explains that the first time he played the game he wished his brother didn’t exist and if the situation plays out the same way, the brothers will remain trapped like he is. Working together, the brothers complete the game and stop history from repeating itself.
2016 – While in detention, high school students Spencer Gilpin, Anthony ‘Fridge’ Johnson, Bethany Walker and Martha Kaply discover an old video-game system in the basement of their school. The console contains a Jumanji game cartridge.
The four students decide to play the game, but quickly discover this to be a mistake, as they are transported from their high school basement into the jungle world of Jumanji.
As the game has taken the form of a video game (rather than a board game), each player is transformed into a video game avatar. Spencer becomes Dr. Smoulder Bravestone, Fridge becomes Franklin ‘Mouse’ Finbar, Martha becomes Ruby Roundhouse, and Bethany becomes Professor Shelly Oberon.
During the course of the game, the four players meet up with Jefferson ‘Seaplane’ McDonough who is revealed to be the game’s fifth player. Seaplane is an avatar for Alex Vreeke, who has been trapped in Jumanji since 1996 (and living in a jungle home built by Alan Parrish).
Working together, all five players manage to complete the game and are sent home. Spencer, Fridge, Bethany and Martha are returned to 2016, while Alex is sent back to 1996.
1996 – Alex is returned to 1996, where he makes the decision not to play the Jumanji video game. Alex moves on with his life, gets married and has children.
Somewhere between 1996 and 2016 the Jumanji video game makes its way to Brantford High School.
2016 – Spencer, Fridge, Bethany and Martha are returned to their high school, moments after they were transported into the game. They remember everything about their adventure, and keen not to let Jumanji entice anyone else to play, Fridge destroys the game cartridge.
2019 – Three years after leaving the game, Spencer Gilpin repairs the Jumanji game cartridge and is transported back into Jumanji, where he takes on a new avatar, Ming Fleetfoot.
A short while later, Spencer’s friends Fridge, Martha and Bethany discover the repaired game and realise they need to re-enter Jumanji in order to rescue Spencer. However, the game malfunctions and transports Fridge and Martha into the game, along with Spencer’s grandfather, Eddie Gilpin, and Eddie’s estranged friend, Milo Walker.
The four new players find themselves back in Jumanji, where they are assigned avatars. Meanwhile, Bethany – who was not transported into the game – enlists the help of Alex Vreeke, to mount a second rescue.
Bethany and Alex enter Jumanji, and along with the other five players they complete the game. Everyone is returned to the real world, except Milo Walker who opts to remain in Jumanji.
In a post-game meet-up at Nora’s – a restaurant owned by Nora Shepherd – the gang are surprised to discover a flock of Ostriches rushing down the street. The Jumanji game has been reactivated at Spencer’s house, and has brought animals into the real world.
And now a quick recap, with the key points:
- Jumanji – In Jumanji, the game that Alan and Sarah play begins in 1969 and ends in 1995. When the game ends, time is re-written.
- Zathura – In Zathura, the game that Danny and Walter play begins in 2005, where it traps Walter until 2020. When Walter travels back in time to 2005 he is able to help his younger self and his brother complete the game, so time is re-written.
- Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle – In Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the game that Alex plays begins in 1996. With the help of Spencer, Fridge, Martha and Bethany, the game is concluded in 2016, and time is re-written.
- Jumanji: The Next Level – In Jumanji: The Next Level, the game that Spencer plays begins and ends in 2019. However, a new game is also activated.
I hope you found this post informative. Should you wish to know more about the Jumanji movies, including whether or not Jumanji is a real game, or who the cast of Jumanji are, then click on the highlighted links.
You can also find more Jumanji movie related posts on It’s A Stampede! Just take a look at one of the recommended reads below.
- What is the best order to watch the Jumanji movies?
- 12 facts about the Jumanji cartoon
- Thoughts on Jumanji: The Next Level