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Robin Williams' character plays key role in Jumanji sequel

‘He’s there helping us without actually being there,’ star Jack Black said

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While his character won’t physically appear in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, the roar of the late Robin Williams’ presence will still echo throughout the 1995 film‘s upcoming sequel, according to one of its stars.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter at a photo call for the film in Barcelona over the weekend, Welcome to the Jungle star Jack Black revealed how the legacy left by Williams’ character will play a key role in advancing the second film’s plot.

“We’re exploring this jungle and trying to conquer the game; it’s life or death,” he told the publication, referencing the journey he is set to traverse alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, and Nick Jonas. “But while we’re there, we find clues left behind by [Williams’ character Alan Parrish]. He built up a full-blown jungle house, similar to a Swiss Family Robinson situation. It’s like he’s there helping us without actually being there.”

The original movie, directed by Joe Johnston, featured Williams as the aforementioned character who, as a teen, became trapped inside the magical, titular board game until a pair of curious children (Kirsten Dunst, Bradley Pierce) roll the dice and unwittingly set him (and the game’s beastly kingdom of dangerous animals) free some 26 years later.

While Johnston’s Jumanji largely took place outside the game’s self-contained universe, its continuation will reportedly do the opposite.

“[In the original] you never got to see the inside world,” Black continued. “But this one takes place primarily inside the jungle of Jumanji. That’s the coolest part of the film — we’re able to transport the audience to that secret and wondrous land, with the danger and the beauty.”

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle is expected to open Dec. 20 in theaters nationwide.