Jurassic World: What We Know So Far About Jurassic Park 4

Get ready to feel old. Twenty-four years have passed since Michael Crichton published his bestselling novel, Jurassic Park. Steven Spielberg’s 1993 adaptation of Crichton’s book recently celebrated its 20th anniversary with a 3D re-release. And the last time you were able to see a Jurassic Park movie in theaters before that was 2001.

That all changes next year, though, when Universal brings the mighty dinosaurs of the Jurassic franchise back to life for a new installment in the ongoing series. Expect a lot of changes on screen, however, for Jurassic Park 4. Very few original players from the initial franchise are coming back, as far as we know. The pieces are starting to fall into place on the fourth movie, titled Jurassic World, so we figured we would dig into the sequel and fill you in on all of the latest details. We’ve done this in the past for wildly anticipated movies like Batman vs. Superman, Star Wars: Episode VII and, most recently, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

For now, let’s extract DNA from the frozen specimens of Jurassic World news and tell you what we know so far.

Release Date
As far back as 2009, we were running stories about a fourth Jurassic movie, even as the sequel toiled away in development hell. Steven Spielberg had the sequel on his calendar. Park III director Joe Johnston had real ideas about where he wanted the series to go. The sequel, as we know it, finally got fast-tracked – for real – in January 2013, when the studio said the wheels were turning toward a release. We entertained a 2014 date, but Universally officially circled June 12, 2015, and that date – so far – has stuck.

The Director
Spielberg never planned to come back. When Johnston passed on the opportunity to once again helm a dinosaur thriller, Universal started fishing for worthy replacements. They landed on Colin Trevorrow, a relative newcomer who made a name for himself (to a certain extent) with the shaggy-dog time travel romance Safety Not Guaranteed, with Aubrey Plaza, Jake Johnson and Mark Duplass. I say "to a certain extent" because while Safety charmed the film-festival circuit, it didn’t necessarily turn Trevorrow into a household name. Jurassic World still needed star power.

Chris Pratt
Jurassic Park had Sam Neill (who returned for part three). The Lost World had Jeff Goldblum. Trevorrow needed a rugged leading man for Jurassic World. He finally settled on the busiest man in show business at the moment, Parks and Rec co-star Chris Pratt. The charismatic young actor is coming off turns in Zero Dark Thirty and The Delivery Man opposite Vince Vaughn. But audiences also know him, now, as the voice of Emmet in the massively successful The LEGO Movie, and he’s poised to blow up as the star (and Star-Lord) of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Pratt’s basically on fire right now, and his role in Jurassic World can only heat his white-hot career even further.

Bryce Dallas-Howard
The Jurassic series was never a sausage fest. Laura Dern, Julianne Moore and Tea Leoni made sure young women in the theater had someone to look up to (as audience members also likely hid their eyes in terror from the sight of a stampeding T-Rex). Following in their footsteps for Jurassic World will be Bryce Dallas-Howard… we think. Nothing has been confirmed by the studio (strangely), but we know that she was offered the part back in September, and her famous father, Ron, let the cat out of the bag earlier this year with a Tweet linking Pratt and Howard as World co-stars. The have been rumors that World would follow a family who encounters new dinosaurs, which would explain the next bit of casting.

Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson
As casting ramped up on Jurassic World, the rumor of a "family" being the central human characters in the film were solidified when news broke that Iron Man 3 co-star Ty Simpkins snagged a lead role. The very next day, word broke that the production also added young (but older) actor Nick Robinson of The Kings of Summer for a part. Variety reported that the actors would play "siblings" in the sequel. And both names remain on the film’s IMDB page. But so is Jake Johnson’s, and I’m not certain he’s still a part of the ensemble, as was once rumored.

Vincent D’Onofrio
Every movie needs a villain. And when producers cast a stock bad guy, they often turn to Vincent D’Onofrio, star of Full Metal Jacket, Men In Black and, more recently, Law & Order: Criminal Intent. We recently reported that the Method actor has joined Trevorrow’s Jurassic sequel in an unnamed – but definitely sinister – role. In addition, he’ll be joined by Irrfan Khan… though we don’t know who he will be playing yet, either. Do you sense a pattern here? Details are being kept under wraps. Which is why we’ve had to deal with all of these casting rumors.

The Casting Rumors
Because Universal and Trevorrow are keeping details close to the vest, Jurassic World has had to contend with more casting rumors than a massive sequel usually gets. There are no returning characters from existing films (as far as we know), which means the possibilities for new directions with fresh characters can be endless. To date, we have covered the possible additions of Josh Brolin, Idris Elba and Jason Schwartzman to the cast. They haven’t panned out yet, but Dallas-Howard and Pratt were deemed "rumors" at one point, so we’re leaving the door open. Brolin’s part likely went to Pratt. Irrfan Khan may still be having conversations for a role. Then again, Trevorrow went on the to record to tell fans to stop believing most World rumors. Maybe we should listen to him.

The Story
This remains the biggest mystery tied to Jurassic World, and the one that – once solved – will go a long way toward proving whether this was a franchise that deserved to be resurrected. What will be the story cooked up by Trevorrow and his co-writer, Derek Connolly. It’s believed they may take elements from a script submitted years ago by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, the pair that rebooted the Planet of the Apes series. But there have been so many rumors about possible storylines for a new Jurassic movie that we hardly know which ones to consider reliable at this point. Are we going back to the original island of Isla Nublar? Will there be aquatic dinosaurs which are showcased in a successful dino theme park? All Pratt recently shared is that the sequel will answer the primary question regarding, "Why is this story being revived?" Trevorrow, meanwhile, broke character to reveal that his story will take place "22 years after the horrific events of Jurassic Park." But he bristled at the idea that this is a reboot, because according to the director, it certainly is not.

The Locations
Knowing that he has to hit a 2015 release date, Trevorrow will begin filming Jurassic World in March and April. We recently reported that the production had scouted out Hawaiian locations in Oahu and Kauai, following in the footsteps of the three previous Park movies. They also would camp out in Louisiana for several weeks, likely to film interiors. And we found out that a cardboard cut out of a shirtless Jeff Goldblum graces the production offices, which means Trevorrow is keeping this sequel on the right track.
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