Dwayne Johnson has finally confirmed that there will not be a follow-up to Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, and that the intended plot would have been based on another Jules Verne inspired story. The Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle star directly responded to a fan of the franchise on social media, and he categorically stated that he was no longer involved with any plans for future installments. This would seem to indicate that the surprisingly successful Journey 2 will be the last entry and that the previously announced Journey 3 is now officially canned.
Journey to the Center of the Earth was a modern reinterpretation of the Verne classic novel that debuted in theaters in 2008. It starred Brendan Fraser (The Mummy) and was the directorial debut for visual effects maestro Eric Brevig (The Maze Runner). Despite some mixed reviews, the family adventure made a worldwide gross of $241m from a $60m budget. Due to scheduling conflicts, Fraser was unable to return for a sequel, and so Johnson took the lead role for Journey 2. Released in 2012, the sequel maintained the Verne connection by being loosely based on his novel The Mysterious Island, and also referencing the books as part of the plot. A surprising box office hit, the film garnered a global gross of $335m from a budget of $79m. It confirmed Johnson’s stature as a leading actor and grew his reputation as a ‘franchise-saver’. Not unexpectedly, there was soon talk of another sequel.
However six years later and with no definitive news on Journey 3, one fan of the franchise asked Johnson on Twitter if we would ever see the film. Ever approachable and responsive to his fans, the ex-wrestler responded with the following reply;
Hey big man, good to see you asked dad’s permission to use his account. Unfortunately, I have no plans to make another Journey movie. My goal to make Jules Verne’s “From the Earth to the Moon” became a real challenge to crack creatively. Thx for being such a cool fan. https://twitter.com/anthony11580705/status/948416525878382592 …
4:58 AM – Jan 3, 2018
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The response isn’t entirely unexpected. Due to the success of Journey 2, Johnson was soon tapped to be in talks for a third film and his second as the lead. It was then announced in 2014 that there would in fact be two follow-ups, with Journey 3 and Journey 4 being filmed back-to-back. The director would be Brad Peyton, who shot Journey 2, with The Rock returning for both stories. However, following that report the franchise never strayed from the development stages and no further news was released. Peyton and Johnson have since built up a good working partnership with such films as San Andreas, and the upcoming Rampage. But it certainly looks like Journey films are no longer on the table.
Of course it doesn’t mean that a version of the film would not appear in the future with a different lead and direction, but that seems highly unlikely. Johnson’s reference to From the Earth to the Moon certainly fits in with the final scene of Journey 2, and maybe that just couldn’t be satisfactorily worked into a new film. It would have been interesting to see what Verne reference a fourth film may have held. In the meantime, fans of The Rock have plenty of upcoming projects to look forward to, even if Journey 3 isn’t one of them.