In Jumanji (1995) Robin Williams' character is sucked into a board game as a kid in 1969, while his friend Sarah escapes. He lives in the game-world jungle for 26 years until two different kids bring him back in the overworld by rolling the die and continuing the first turn. They unleash all sorts of jungle monstrosities and the only way to send them all back is to finish the game. In the end Robin Williams wins the game and he and his girlfriend are sent back to 1969 and are able to live a normal life. 26 years later, they reunite with the two kids at a Christmas party, who are now the same age as they were during the game. They recognize them, but the kids don't recognize them back because from their point of view they have never met.

How did that situation feel like from the point of view of the kids? Not the ones at the Christmas party but the ones that were there when the game ended. Did they cease to exist, Thanos-style? Did they get sent back in time to before they even existed? They'd eventually be born again, but it wouldn't be them, it would be different kids with identical genes. Did they get left behind in a different timeline? In which case, there is a timeline in which Robin Williams' character and Sarah would remain dead/non-existent.

  • I was thinking the same, but do we know whether kids did not recognize Alan & Sarah. I always assumed kids did recognize them, and I was confused about the process, did they always have the memories and knowledge of that alternate timeline from their inception?
    – buræquete
    May 20, 2023 at 16:09

2 Answers 2


This seems like a plot hole in Jumanji.

Because in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, everybody returns to their original timeline and remembers all the events.

Spencer, Anthony, Bethany and Martha were teenagers when they got sucked into the game. Alex got sucked into game 20 years before them.

But at the end of game everybody returns to their timeline and are reunited in current time i.e 2017 where Spencer, Anthony, Bethany and Martha are still teenagers but Alex has grown up into his 40's.

If this was to be true about Jumanji (1995), Peter and Judy should be able to recognize Alan and Sarah in Alan and Sarah's current timeline.

  • 1
    That memory part is answered by the director, refer to my answer on sister site scifi.stackexchange.com/a/241113/6006
    – Ankit Sharma
    Dec 29, 2020 at 7:34
  • Thank you for pointing to this answer. I see your point. So the question remains as to what Alex did differently that game still landed in Spencer's hands.
    – Rahul
    Dec 29, 2020 at 8:23
  • The plot hole you point at isn't quite there. The party at the end of Jumanji takes place in the timeline before Peter and Judy's parents go on a skiing trip. But Peter and Judy only joined the game after their parents' deaths on said skiing trip. Therefore, the post-game Peter and Judy's conciousness jumps back into time, but lands "after" the party that Alan/Sarah invite them to. The plot hole would only be proven if Judy and Peter never remember. But the movie leaves it open that they (in the near future) will suddenly remember at the time post-game Peter and Judy jump back to.
    – Flater
    Dec 31, 2020 at 12:17
  • My point is Alan/Sarah avoided Ski trip and altered the future. But it's unclear how Alex might have altered or even if he did so game still landed in school's basement for Spencer to find it.
    – Rahul
    Dec 31, 2020 at 14:26
  • @Rahul Maybe Alex just never impacted the others' lives in the time between his return and meeting the others. This could be because he was afraid of a time paradox (as a precaution) or because he just didn't do anything relevant.
    – Flater
    Oct 30, 2021 at 20:11

The concept of time travel in most Sci-Fi works as such: at any given point in time decisions can be made that send the current timeline into distinct directions. Think of it like a tree branch, with each decision being an offshoot.

In the Peter and Judy's timeline, they probably parted ways, went on to live awesome lives and maybe even kept in touch with Alan and Sarah.

In Alan and Sarah's timeline, they had experienced the event that brought them back to 1969, and lived their lives forward, knowing Peter and Judy's parents would be killed in a skiing accident. Almost like a premonition, because Peter and Judy were a long ways away from even being born. They were able to divert that timeline allowing the parents to live, and recognized the kids at the party.

In that timeline, Alan and Sarah were complete strangers to Peter and Judy. They had never met them before, because they were born long after 1969.

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