HOLLYWOOD—The star-studded cast for the next Jumanji film has just got even bigger with the news that Sony Pictures has secured an agreement for Danny DeVito to be part of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle 2. Its predecessor scooped an eye-watering $962 million at the box office worldwide, becoming Sony Pictures’ biggest-ever movie title in the United States. There is plenty of fanfare and expectation surrounding the sequel. Dwayne Johnson, one of the leading cast members in the previous movie, spoke of his delight about the idea of DeVito joining the ranks.

Johnson said that the “idea of Danny DeVito joining [the] cast was too irresistible.” DeVito’s character and role in the plot has been kept well under wraps, and there have been no leaks regarding the sequel’s plot whatsoever to date. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle took a contemporary twist on the 1995 original, with four teenagers transported into a video game world rather than the board game in the book and first film, starring Robin Williams. Returning cast members, Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black and Kevin Hart will be joined by DeVito, who also has two roles in upcoming Disney movies later this year.

The pint-sized 74-year-old is the ring-master, Max Medici in Tim Burton’s Dumbo, before following that up in Disney’s The One and Only Ivan. DeVito has been in the movie business for almost half-a-century, making his on-screen debut in 1970. However, it wasn’t until 1978 when he would gain notoriety after playing Louie De Palma in the hit television series, Taxi. He has since worked alongside some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Bette Midler, Michael Douglas, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jack Nicholson and Gene Hackman. DeVito is also continuing with his 13th season in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which has become one of his longest-running appearances in showbiz.

Sony Pictures has also announced that DeVito will be joined by Awkwafina, the American rapper that appeared in Ocean’s 8 and, more recently, the box office-hit Crazy Rich Asians. The 29-year-old New Yorker is certainly flavour of the month at present, as she dazzled while presenting at the recent Critics’ Choice Awards. Awkwafina has also been touted as a potential host of the 2019 Oscars. When asked whether she would be interested in taking part in the Oscars, she said “if they give me the call, I would do it”. Awkwafina’s Crazy Rich Asians movie was nominated for Best Picture – Comedy or Musical at the recent Golden Globes. Conjecture surrounding the likely host of the 2019 Oscars has been ramped up since the news of Kevin Hart bowing out due to the surfacing of some controversial tweets on his Twitter account.

The Jumanji franchise is still very much alive and kicking. It is now a staple brand in the world of iGaming, where NetEnt’s video slot is included in a range of no deposit bonuses. The original Jumanji board game also remains a family favourite and is still well-stocked by the leading toy stores. The interest in these games is almost certain to be ramped up by the release of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle 2. It is currently scheduled for release on 13th December 2019; one week before Star Wars: Episode IX will almost certainly dominate the global box office takings. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was released just days before Star Wars: The Last Jedi in 2017, and both enjoyed unprecedented success, so there is confidence among Sony Pictures that there is room for both releases in December.

At the time of writing, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has not officially given this sequel a film rating, although it is widely expected it will be PG-13. The original 1995 Jumanji was graded a PG, while Welcome to the Jungle also earned a PG-13 rating due to its “adventure action, suggestive content and some language”. Director, Jake Kasdan is back in the fold to help writers, Scott Rosenberg and Jeff Pinkner, to shape the storyline, along with producer, Matt Tolbach. With such an entertaining and hugely engaging cast, it would be hugely surprising to see Welcome to the Jungle 2 flop at the box office. If Dwayne Johnson has his way, he will do his best to keep fans of the franchise informed of the shooting and sets via his Instagram – stay tuned!