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 right now.
Universal is bringing 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 World. Very few original players from the initial franchise are coming back, as far as we know. (We see you, B.D. Wong!) The pieces have fallen into place on the fourth movie, so we figured we would dig into Jurassic World and fill you in on all of the latest details.
For now, let’s extract DNA from the frozen specimens of Jurassic World news and tell you what we know so far.
The Numerous False StartsAs far back as 2009, we were running stories about a fourth Jurassic movie, even as the sequel toiled away in development hell. Original Jurassic Park helmer Steven Spielberg had the sequel on his calendar. Jurassic 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 Universal Studio said the wheels were turning toward a release. We initially entertained a 2014 date, but Universal officially circled June 12, which means we are weeks away from the opening of a new park!
The DirectorSpielberg 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 PrattJurassic 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, Star-Lord himself: Chris Pratt. The charismatic young actor is coming off turns in the massively successful The LEGO Movie, where he voiced the main character, Emmet. Oh yeah, then Pratt was the star (and Star-Lord) of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which happened to be one of the highest-grossing films of 2014. Pratt will play Owen, a trainer in the new, Disney World-esque Jurassic World who’s abilities to communicate with dinos is tested by a hybrid genetic concoction that goes rogue and begins killing for sport. Now, who could have predicted such shenanigans at a dinosaur park?