A fourth Jurassic Park film was in the works in Hollywood for many, many years before it came to fruition. Usually, when a sequel takes that long to materialize, it can fall short of expectations (see: Independence Day: Resurgence), but Jurassic World was a bona fide box office smash, grossing $1.6 billion worldwide. Unsurprisingly, Universal quickly began putting together a sequel, but the director’s chair suddenly became empty when Colin Trevorrow was tasked with helming Star Wars: Episode IX. The search stretched out for a few months, but shortly after The Orphanage and The Impossible filmmaker J.A. Bayona dropped out of World War Z 2, he signed on to take over the directing reigns on Jurassic World 2, and now the follow-up is barreling towards a production start-date in early 2017.
Trevorrow is still very involved in the sequel, penning the script with his World co-writer Derek Connolly and serving as producer, and he recently appeared on the Jurassic Park fan podcast InGeneral over at Jurassic Outpost. During the lengthy discussion, Trevorrow teased that given Bayona’s horror background, fans can expect something a bit more intense this next time around:
“It will be more suspenseful and scary. It’s just the way it’s designed; it’s the way the story plays out. I knew I wanted Bayona to direct it long before anyone ever heard that was a possibility, so the whole thing was just built around his skillset.”
In enlisting Bayona, Trevorrow said he hopes to harken back to the days when filmmakers collaborated more frequently, seemingly comparing their relationship on Jurassic World 2 to that of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas on the Indiana Jones franchise as Trevorrow concocted the story that Bayona will execute:
“Film has become so cutthroat and competitive; it felt like an opportunity to create a situation where two directors could really collaborate. It’s rare these days, but it’s something that the directors that we admire used to do all the time—one writes and produces and the other directs, and the end result is something that’s unique to both of them. I’m in the office right now, I’ve been here every day since July working closely with J.A., listening to his instincts, and honing the script with Derek to make sure it’s something that all of us believe in.”
In terms of effects, Bayona has considerable experience with both The Impossible and the wildly inventive A Monster Calls that opens in theaters this December, but Trevorrow stressed that they’re also writing in plenty of animatronic practical effects:
“There will be animatronics for sure. We’ll follow the same general rule as all of the films in the franchise which is the animatronic dinosaurs are best used when standing still or moving at the hips or the neck. They can’t run or perform complex physical actions, and anything beyond that you go to animation. The same rules applied in Jurassic Park.”
Trevorrow also addressed criticisms that Jurassic World relied too heavily on CG, noting that the Indominus Rex proved impossible to realize in practical fashion:
“I think the lack of animatronics in Jurassic World had more to do with the physicality of the Indominus, the way the animal moved. It was very fast and fluid, it ran a lot, and needed to move its arms and legs and neck and tail all at once. It wasn’t a lumbering creature. We’ve written some opportunities for animatronics into [Jurassic World 2]—because it has to start at the script level—and I can definitely tell you that Bayona has the same priorities, he is all about going practical whenever possible.”
And when asked if Jurassic World 2 will continue the thread of the militarization of dinosaurs that was introduced in the first movie, Trevorrow actually revealed that that plot point played out very differently before he and Connolly rewrote the script:
“I’m not that interested in militarized dinosaurs, at least not in practice. I liked it in theory as the pipe dream of a lunatic. When that idea was first presented to me as part of an earlier script it was something that the character that ended up being Owen was for, that he supported, something that he was actively doing even at the beginning. Derek and I, one of our first reactions was ‘No if anyone’s gonna militarize raptors that’s what the bad guy does, he’s insane.’”
Pre-production on the film continues in London while Trevorrow is also in early development on Episode IX and Bayona is gearing up for press duties on A Monster Calls, which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month. Having seen it I can attest that A. Bayona can bring the waterworks like no one else and B. The guy is a very imaginative filmmaker.
Listen to the entire podcast below, which also includes a guest appearance by Bayona. Jurassic World 2 opens in theaters on June 22, 2018.