For those who don’t know, “The Jungle Movie” was supposed to be the 2nd HA! Movie, where Arnold would go to San Lorenzo to find his parents and eventually “get together” with Helga.  It still hasn’t been made, so it’s complete plotline remains a mystery.  However, through online chats and interviews with Craig Bartlett, we have been able to fish some information out about “The Jungle Movie” (TJM). 

The following is a series of Q&A between the fans and Bartlett, organized in several categories.  Some questions are repeated as they fit in more than one category.  I have left the Q&A’s in their original wording to avoid misinterpretating Bartlett’s responses.  They have only been slighty edited in terms of typos, mechanics, ect.  If you see any additional Q&A’s that should be added, please let me know.  🙂

So I hope you enjoy learning or refreshing your memory about TJM! 

 Eugene's bike

 

GENERAL PLOTLINE AND QUESTIONS

Question

Can you tell us something about The Jungle Movie? You know, is there any plot yet?

Craig Bartlett

Yes, I’ve written several drafts, actually, so I can tell you this much: Arnold goes to Central America to find his parents, and he gets to go by winning an essay contest, so the whole class gets to go, hence Helga as well, Mr. Simmons, Principal Wartz.

Question

The series had somewhat of an abrupt end. It’s been rumored that the second Arnold film was to add much to the story. Can you share any details about how you intended the story to end?

Bartlett

Well, basically The Jungle Movie takes Arnold on a quest to find the answers to his parents’ disappearance. Arnold and all the kids in his class get to go to Central America, and Arnold has that secret agenda, since he learned in The Journal that they went there when they disappeared. And I wanted to take Arnold’s relationship with Helga to its next step.  In the first movie, she confesses her love to him, but Arnold kinda dodges out of telling her how he feels in return. I wanted to complete the conversation.

Question

Was it [TJM] gonna be like a conclusion for everything? Like were Arnold and Helga gonna be together, and Arnold finds his parents, etc?

Craig Bartlett

Well, right, I was trying to wrap it all up, yes. Just like in the first movie, the Neighborhood, I was trying to wrap up what the series meant to us. Actually, now when I see the Neighborhood I realize that it was about the end of the series, and all of us losing it.  Losing the place, I mean.

Question

[Can you give us more details about TJM?]

Craig Bartlett

Okay, it’s hard to sum up the movie’s story in chat format. Suffice to say that it’s after “the Neighborhood,” so Arnold knows how Helga feels and she hasn’t heard back fromhim how HE feels.  And so, she acts like she hates him again, and the whole class goes to Central America, because Arnold won them an essay contest.  He has his own agenda to look for his parents with the map that he found in “The Journal.”  They all go to Central America, and [so does] Simmons and Wartz.  I don’t want to give away the ending, since who knows? I will tell you that Arnold and Helga “get together” in the movie and realize that they are meant for each other.  As I mentioned last time, Gerald interrupts. It’s very funny.  And Brainy has a wonderful role in helping Helga get her act together.  They all save each other, lots of high adventure, crossing raging rivers, rope bridges, poison darts, etc.

 Parents day

ARNOLD (GENERAL)

Question

Is Arnold ever graduating from the 4th grade?

Craig Bartlett

Yeah, I think that he’s about ready for 5th. In the second movie he turns 10.

Question

Alex would’ve been in the Jungle Movie, right?

Craig Bartlett

Right.

 Chocolate turtles

ARNOLD’S LAST NAME

Question

Will there ever be an episode where Arnold’s last name is announced?

Craig Bartlett

Among the crew at “Hey Arnold!” the question of his last name has become kind of a joke… I didn’t give him a last name because I thought calling him “Hey Arnold!” was more powerful, but there have been so many requests we thought we would just casually mention his name in the movie and then just move on.

Question

Will you ever reveal Arnold’s last name?

Craig Bartlett

We are ready to reveal it. But I want to put it in the second movie, and not make too big a deal out of it. It’ll be over so fast, you know?

Question

lol, seriously, you might as well just give us his full name. Hint, hint ;D

Craig Bartlett

Yeah, but what if Nick decides to bring HA! back just to tell everybody his last name? I can’t tell you now, I’d blow it! I had an idea for the Jungle Movie.  In the opening scene, a man comes to the door of the boarding house [with a] package for Arnold and Arnold signs his name.  Right, that’s how you find out.

Question

You said it [Arnold’s last name] was always said throughout the show – which character said his “last name” the most?

Craig Bartlett

Grandpa, of course.

 The journal

“PARENT’S DAY”, “THE JOURNAL”, ARNOLD’S PARENTS, AND EDUARDO

Question

What happened to Arnold’s parents?

Craig Bartlett

“Parent’s Day” introduces Arnold’s parents to the audience, who they were and how they disappeared. The [jungle] movie will continue the story.

Question

What ever did happen to Arnold’s parents?

Craig Bartlett

Good question! We deal with that question in our special “The Journal,” which is about how Arnold finds his dad’s old journal, and they sit down and read it. It’s full of his parents’ adventures. And it all sets up the SECOND ARNOLD MOVIE

Question

It was asked why the Journal episode would air without a chance of seeing TJM, and Craig had this to say about it

Craig Bartlett

Nick paid for the Journal, and we made it, so they’ll air it. They don’t care if it sets up another story that may or may not get made. I’m glad that the Journal ends with Arnold wanting to go to Central America, because what the heck, maybe it will cause enough people to demand The Jungle Movie. If you check out Nick Online, I’m instructing the kids to write and ask for it. I don’t know, but Rugrats came back on air because they got sacks of mail. Don’t write emails, of course.

Question

How do you think the show would differ if Arnold actually lived with his parents?

Craig Bartlett  [in 2002]

That’s a good question, I’ve been thinking about that. I think Arnold would probably move away and travel around the world because that’s what you see his parents do in “Parent’s Day.”

Question

So if Arnold finds his parents in San Lorenzo is he going to stay with them?

Craig Bartlett

Yep

Question

Does Arnold go back to his old life after the Jungle Movie or does he stay with his parents?

Craig Bartlett

We never decided! If we had made the Jungle movie and then more episodes, it would have been the first thing to figure out.

Question

1) What happened to Arnold ‘s parents and why haven’t they been in contact with him? Have they tried to? Were they physically unable?

2) Is Eduardo on the bad guys’ side?

Craig Bartlett

A couple things about the Jungle movie…

First, we worked on it from around 1998 to 2001. Then “Hey Arnold, the movie” (our first movie, created to be a TV movie) came out in theaters in 2002. In fall 2001, the last of my crew was laid off. In the months last months before HATM came out, I was finishing “The Journal,” which Nickelodeon ordered as a “prequel” to the Jungle movie. But HATM didn’t do enough business, so that was the end of any hopes of bringing back the crew to do the Jungle movie, and it was also the end of any further Arnold development. I was already moved out of Nick studios by then, and they never called me back.

So the movie only exists in various drafts, written versions that are now 6 or 7 years old. And of course it would have gone through many more changes if Nick/Paramount had actually greenlit it. I have a pretty vague memory of where the story stood in 2001. I really had to move on, start new projects, make new connections in the animation world.

And yet, if I answer some of the questions below, they would be serious spoilers. I still may have the chance to do the Jungle movie as a book, or graphic novel. (A pretty slim chance, but…) And I hope that I might have a working relationship with Nick again sometime. So I really can’t answer question 1 or 2.

Question

After the Jungle Movie, how does Arnold feel about moving away from Hillwood? Does he regret it and miss everyone, or is he content with the decision? Basically, is the experience a positive or negative thing for him overall? [If Hey Arnold!] ever went back into production (say, the Jungle Movie …), to which address should I send my resume and showreel? 8D

Craig Bartlett

It would be at Nickelodeon if it happened.  And first, I didn’t really get to that part of Arnold’s life.  If we had done the Patakis, I would have.  And in writing those, I would have had to come up with the backstory.

 The journal

THE GREEN EYES

Question

What makes Arnold so “special” to the Green eyes?

Craig Bartlett

They have a design motif that’s like a football head in all their architecture, etc. and when they see baby Arnold’s head, they think he’s divine. They semi-worship him.

Question

They and Helga would get along then

Craig Bartlett

Yeah, they semi-worship Helga too.

Question

Anything to do with their eye color though?

Craig Bartlett

I like their green eyes but they don’t have any particular significance.  Just that they are bright green and cool.  Kind of like the people in the Emerald Forest.  That’s where I got some of the inspiration.

Question

1) Can you elaborate on why the Green Eyes revered Arnold so much? The football-shaped artifacts in their architecture that you mentioned in the chat, how exactly are they connected to the ethnicity/heritage and life of the Green Eyes?

2) I might be mistaken, but didn’t you say the Green Eyes thought Helga was like a “Goddess” (and Arnold like a “God”) to them? Arnold has a football-shaped head – this is the reason you mentioned for why the GE’s “worship” him, but what distinct characteristic does Helga have for why they also “worship” her? Goat ears? Pigtails that stick out at 90-degree angles from her head?

Craig Bartlett

The Green-eyes think that Arnold is devine, because (in “The Journal”) when he was born, he silenced all of nature. Also the whole architecture, design motif/football head coincidence. The Green-eyes also think very highly of Miles and Stella, because they’ve all saved each other’s lives before, many times. When the Green-eyes meet Helga, they are so impressed with her ferocity, they think very highly of her, too. Not of the demi-god status that Arnold has, but up there.

 The journal

LA SOMBRA AND LA CORAZON

Question

Are there any new characters that are going to be introduced in the future eps or the Jungle movie?

Craig Bartlett

When you all see the Journal you’ll meet (very briefly) a villain named La Sombra. He’s a big character in TJM; Mom and Dads’ nemesis. He’s a guy, a mercenary treasure hunter and river pirate. [He] goes in disguise. In the Journal, we spend a lot more time with Eduardo. Here’s the deal: Nick wanted us to do a prequel for the movie because at that time, we were in preproduction for TJM. So we said, “Crap! A prequel?” but had to do it, so I said: let’s set up some stuff. Like, who exactly is Eduardo, and why did Mom and Dad have to leave Arnold? So much of the hour is spent showing what good people all three of them are, their friendship, and their personal debt to “the green eyed people.” Grandpa: “Yes, the mysterious green eyed people. Almost as mysterious as this sandwich! What’s in this, pookie?” Pookie: “Peanut butter and scrod! It’s an old family recipe!” Scrod is like cod. So now that we’ve done it, I’m glad. You get to spend a lot of time with Mom and Dad, and they’re cool.

Question

Is [there] a real villian in TJM?

Craig Bartlett

Yeah, there is is a villian in TJM, called LaSombra.

Question

What exactly IS La Corazon?

Craig Bartlett

It was a fabulous jewel. A sacred relic. Mysterious powers. Not to be seen in the light of day. Yep, we mined all our fave stuff from various jungle movies. The thing I liked about the longer shows was that we could quote all our fave movies

 New teacher

SECONDARY CHARACTERS (SIDE STORIES)

Question

Aside from Brainy, what sort of roles did Arnold’s classmates have in the Jungle Movie?

Craig Bartlett

The thing I wanted to do that we didn’t do in the first movie, was give the other characters their own scenes. So Rhonda and Nadine have a subplot, and Harold, Stinky, and Sid…and Eugene is jinxing it up like crazy getting allergic attacks. Harold does his usual bullying stuff with Stinky and Sid. “I’m the boss and I say we’re doin’ it!” Rhonda totally freaks out in the jungle, but Nadine is in heaven. “There are 20,000 species of spider in San Lorenzo” Yeah, Eugene nearly is eaten by piranhas, etc. His legs puff up like balloons…. “I’m okay…” Helga throws Brainy overboard a couple of times. Act Two they’re on a boat. I pitched it as Heart of Darkness to Paramount, and they were all, “Heh….” Heart of Darkness is my fave 20th century myth, like Captain Willard, goin’ up to kill the colonel. Hot stuff!

Question

Many fans have complimented you on the diverse cast the show had, but note their lack of screen-time in Hey Arnold The Movie. Was the film meant to spotlight Arnold and Helga’s relationship more?

Craig Bartlett

Exactly. Nick and Paramount were constantly asking me, “What’s the big story?” with the movie development. “What’s going to get kids to come out to the theater and see an Arnold movie?” To me, the biggest thing for kids would be seeing Helga confess her love to Arnold. So we built the story around that. A lot of other relationships had to take a back seat. Our next movie story, The Jungle Movie, spent more time with the other kids, but we, uh, didn’t quite get to that one.

Question

Does Abner play any particular role in TJM?

Craig Bartlett

No, Abner did not go along.

Question

Will Olga have any part in this movie?

Craig Bartlett

Yes, Olga goes to Central America too, and drives Helga crazy.

Question

Why does Wartz tag along with Arnold and come? I can understand Simmons because he is the teacher, but why Wartz?

Craig Bartlett

Wartz just kind of tags along. I guess he always wanted to go to Central America.

Question

It was mentioned that “The Journal” episode was Oct 5th. This means that TJM took place after that…if so, does this mean Simmons continues to teach the class after 4th grade?

Craig Bartlett

Yeah, I guess. Maybe he teaches 5th grade now. These are the kind of reality notes that we writers mostly ignore.

Question

I’ve heard that Rhonda and Nadine are suppose to have a separate storyline in TJM, any details you can give us on that or can you at least tell us what it had to do with?

Craig Bartlett

The Rhonda/Nadine storyline is that Nadine is in heaven, since there are so many species of bugs there. And Rhonda is in hell. All her technology won’t work, and she hates everything about the trip.

 Intro

BRAINY

Question

What drew Brainy to Helga, exactly?

Craig Bartlett

Brainy is the quiet one, that watches from the back of the class. He sees Helga for who she really is. He knows pretty much all her secrets, and he will keep them for her. What can I say? I’d like her, too. Sure, he knows all about the Arnold thing. It’s a measure of how cool Brainy is that he won’t stand in their way. He even helps in The Jungle Movie. The Jungle Movie has the greatest Brainy scene ever. He doesn’t say much, but he helps the story along in a really cool way. Well, in the middle of the story, Helga is fed up. She gives up completely, and Brainy kind of helps her back to life. It’s a really cool moment, and I’d rather animate it than explain it.

Question

Craig, could you tell us more about what happened between Helga and Brainy in The Jungle Movie?

Craig Bartlett

Helga and Brainy had a great scene.  He did his usual annoying thing, but then he helps her in a huge way in act three.  He kind of brings her back to life symbolically.

Question

OOOH! I sense a kiss coming…

Craig Bartlett

Nah, Brainy never gets it from Helga

Question

[Can you give us more details about TJM?]

Craig Bartlett

Okay, it’s hard to sum up the movie’s story in chat format. Suffice to say that it’s after “the Neighborhood,” so Arnold knows how Helga feels and she hasn’t heard back fromhim how HE feels.  And so, she acts like she hates him again, and the whole class goes to Central America, because Arnold won them an essay contest.  He has his own agenda to look for his parents with the map that he found in “The Journal.”  They all go to Central America, and [so does] Simmons and Wartz.  I don’t want to give away the ending, since who knows? I will tell you that Arnold and Helga “get together” in the movie and realize that they are meant for each other.  As I mentioned last time, Gerald interrupts. It’s very funny.  And Brainy has a wonderful role in helping Helga get her act together.  They all save each other, lots of high adventure, crossing raging rivers, rope bridges, poison darts, etc.

 Summer love

ARNOLD X HELGA

Question

Will Arnold EVER find out Helga’s “secret”? (and if so…will that be the end of the series or be part of the movie?)

Craig Bartlett [During production of “Hey Arnold The Movie”]

Back to Helga’s secret… I really don’t want Arnold to ever figure it out, for two reasons. One: the series would probably have to end. Two: it’s my theory that at age nine, boys don’t really have a clue about love stuff. Girls are miles ahead of them, really into romance, relationships, intrigue, while boys are still running in packs, playing with legos. So I try to keep Arnold innocent. Believe me, it’s challenging. (Hey Arnold! That’s Helga disguised as Cecile, you dolt!!!) Yes, we’re trying to decide to make Helga’s telling her secret a part of the movie.

Question

Why is Helga always mean to Arnold when she likes him? And the first time she tried to be nice, HE was mean to HER!!!

Craig Bartlett

Well, I have to defend Arnold because she had been mean to him hundreds of times by the time she was nice to him. But more importantly, the reason that Helga always acts mean to Arnold is that she feels she would die of embarassment if the other kids knew her secret. I think it would be funny to do an episode where all the kids learn Helga’s secret and they just say “Duh!”

Question

Will Arnold and Helga be together in the Parents Day Movie [i.e. TJM]?

Craig Bartlett

Yes.  Helga has a huge role in the tv movie and theatrical movie.

Question

I was wondering what Arnold thinks about Helga, after she confesses her love to him?

Craig Bartlett

Well… it’s such a big deal for Arnold to realize this, that we wrote a whole second movie to be partly about how Arnold will react!

Question

Okay, so if The Jungle Movie can’t be in theaters or on TV, is there any possibility of it being made into a book?

Craig Bartlett

What an interesting idea. Since I know the whole story, why not? What will have to happen is, I have to wait on Nick to decide Arnold’s fate. If they want to do more stuff, they will call me. If they don’t, after a while I could propose new stuff that I did on my own, I guess. I know you want to know what happens, and I would like to do it too. Yeah, and of course the most important part is Arnold’s response to what Helga said in the first movie. I have to finish that, it’s like a shoe that must drop!

Question

The series had somewhat of an abrupt end. It’s been rumored that the second Arnold film was to add much to the story. Can you share any details about how you intended the story to end?

Bartlett

Well, basically The Jungle Movie takes Arnold on a quest to find the answers to his parents’ disappearance. Arnold and all the kids in his class get to go to Central America, and Arnold has that secret agenda, since he learned in The Journal that they went there when they disappeared. And I wanted to take Arnold’s relationship with Helga to its next step.  In the first movie, she confesses her love to him, but Arnold kinda dodges out of telling her how he feels in return. I wanted to complete the conversation.

Question

In the first movie , why [does] Arnold make Helga retract? And why does Helga retract?

Craig Bartlett

We talked a long time about that.  We wanted to end the first movie with Arnold and Helga at least pretending that things were still the same.  Like, “Let’s agree that this never happened.”  Arnold is still a kid, and he’s not ready for such intense information. He’s kind of, “Whoa, I need to lie down.”  The truth is, I was saving his reaction for the second movie.  Ha!  It all happened so fast… Arnold is like me in that he has to think things over a long time, before coming to a decision. That I believe is a Libra characteristic.  Go Libras.

Question

If you guys really did make the Jungle Movie, would Arnold and Helga seriously get together?

Craig Bartlett

They at least acknowlege their feelings for each other. But that’s at the end of the movie.

Question

Arnold finds out?

Craig Bartlett

Oh yeah. He finally faces it.

Question

But does he like her or even love her?

Craig Bartlett

You know they are meant for each other.

Question

But will Arnold accept it?

Craig Bartlett

Yeah, it was just the beginning of that.

Question

Does Arnold kiss Helga back in TJM?

Craig Bartlett

Okay, yes, he kisses her back.  But Gerald interrupts.  They make a lame excuse to Gerald and he says, “Whatever you say.”

Question

In the Jungle Movie, are Helga and Arnold really awkward around each other until he tells her how he feels about her in the end? Or do they act the way they usually do in the series all throughout the movie?

Craig Bartlett

They act the way they always do — she’s putting up her front again.

Question

Is it only Gerald who finds out about Arnold and Helga, or do the rest of the people find out as well?

Craig Bartlett

By that point, most people would have to notice. The kids would start teasing them about it, I guess.

Question

How does Arnold confront Helga about his feelings for her? Is it going to be dramatic like the way she confessed to him in the first movie? Or will it be after the movie’s climax, where everything’s sort of okay already? Does he go about it just as passionately as Helga did?

Craig Bartlett

It was definitely a big scene. But he’s not as “passionate” as Helga.

Question

Does Arnold give Helga a long kiss? Or is it short and sweet?

Craig Bartlett

It was short and sweet — they were in a hurry, as usual.

Question

Did Arnold’s crush on Lila really end in the episode Timberly loves Arnold?

Craig Bartlett

That was it, as far as I was concerned. I wanted to finish his infatuation with Lila in time for the movies.

Question

Does Grandpa know about Helga’s love for Arnold?

Craig Bartlett

Oh yeah.  He’s seen enough to know what she’s up to.

Question

[Can you give us more details about TJM?]

Craig Bartlett

Okay, it’s hard to sum up the movie’s story in chat format. Suffice to say that it’s after “the Neighborhood,” so Arnold knows how Helga feels and she hasn’t heard back fromhim how HE feels.  And so, she acts like she hates him again, and the whole class goes to Central America, because Arnold won them an essay contest.  He has his own agenda to look for his parents with the map that he found in “The Journal.”  They all go to Central America, and [so does] Simmons and Wartz.  I don’t want to give away the ending, since who knows? I will tell you that Arnold and Helga “get together” in the movie and realize that they are meant for each other.  As I mentioned last time, Gerald interrupts. It’s very funny.  And Brainy has a wonderful role in helping Helga get her act together.  They all save each other, lots of high adventure, crossing raging rivers, rope bridges, poison darts, etc.

 Parents day

SAVING TJM

Question

Okay, so if The Jungle Movie can’t be in theaters or on TV, is there any possibility of it being made into a book?

Craig Bartlett

What an interesting idea. Since I know the whole story, why not? What will have to happen is, I have to wait on Nick to decide Arnold’s fate. If they want to do more stuff, they will call me. If they don’t, after a while I could propose new stuff that I did on my own, I guess. I know you want to know what happens, and I would like to do it too. Yeah, and of course the most important part is Arnold’s response to what Helga said in the first movie. I have to finish that, it’s like a shoe that must drop!

Question

It was asked why the Journal episode would air without a chance of seeing TJM, and Craig had this to say about it

Craig Bartlett

Nick paid for the Journal, and we made it, so they’ll air it. They don’t care if it sets up another story that may or may not get made. I’m glad that the Journal ends with Arnold wanting to go to Central America, because what the heck, maybe it will cause enough people to demand The Jungle Movie. If you check out Nick Online, I’m instructing the kids to write and ask for it. I don’t know, but Rugrats came back on air because they got sacks of mail. Don’t write emails, of course.

Question

Are you going to write a book about TJM?

Craig Bartlett

Ah, the Jungle Movie.  No plans yet.  It would be the Jungle Book.  And Disney already took that name!  Those bastards. Ha

Question

What do you mean with no plans YET?

Craig Bartlett

Well, I know I should finish the Arnold saga and I guess I keep waiting for Nick to get interested again.

Question

Is there really no hope for the Jungle Movie?  I mean, it doesn’t have to be a movie, but will we ever know what really happens?

Craig Bartlett

I don’t know. Nick owns the scripts and the rights to the characters, so I’d have to do any further version of it with them, and they are not interested in HA! very much right now.

Question

Did Nick really lock the TJM script up in a lock box? Or was that a rumor?

Craig Bartlett

Nickelodeon and Paramount own the rights to the film and the story. It wasn’t literally locked up — forgotten is a better word for it.

Question

After the Jungle Movie, how does Arnold feel about moving away from Hillwood? Does he regret it and miss everyone, or is he content with the decision? Basically, is the experience a positive or negative thing for him overall? [If Hey Arnold!] ever went back into production (say, the Jungle Movie …), to which address should I send my resume and showreel? 8D

Craig Bartlett

It would be at Nickelodeon if it happened.  And first, I didn’t really get to that part of Arnold’s life.  If we had done the Patakis, I would have.  And in writing those, I would have had to come up with the backstory.

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