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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom: Watch out for Blue!

It may seem difficult to believe, but when the filmmakers behind 2015’s Jurassic World began its development, they had no idea that their labor of love would become one of the top-five grossing movies of all time.

 For Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow, who also co-wrote the first chapter—and returns as co-writer and now executive producer of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom—the relaunch of the series that has captivated him since he was a boy has long been imagined as a trilogy.

 Alongside co-writer Derek Connolly, he has taken great pride in bringing the cautionary tales of Michael Crichton and world creation of Steven Spielberg to a delightfully dangerous and unexpected new level.

Once the global press tour wrapped and riveted audiences celebrated this landmark achievement, it was time to take a deep breath…and then get back to work.  “About two weeks after Jurassic World came out, I had been living in Los Angeles with my family for the year and had to drive back to our home in Vermont,” recounts Trevorrow.

“I asked Derek if he would ride with me, so we could use that cross-country trip to talk about where the story could go next.  I had a very basic set of ideas I wanted to present to him—in a place that we could think freely and just get weird with what the future could be.”

Buoyed with confidence at the film’s rip-roaring success and Spielberg’s confidence in their narrative arc, the pair hit the road to discuss what was next for former raptor trainer Owen, operations manager Claire and the thousands of displaced dinosaurs roaming the land and flying above Isla Nublar.  “This time around, Steven said, ‘Show me what you think this can be, where you think these characters should go and where we should take them,’” shares Trevorrow.  “So we drove to Vermont and, on the way, came up with the story that is Fallen Kingdom.”  

While Jurassic World took the park that was only a promise and brought it to awe-striking, terrifying life, Trevorrow knew the next chapter could and should tackle much darker themes.  The storyteller who first made a splash with the celebrated Safety Not Guaranteed has long been curious by what it means to exist within paradoxical time.

“These dinosaurs were of this Earth 65 million years ago, and now they’re in a place that is completely foreign to them,” he says.  “I thought there was a way we could tell a story that would identify the human angle.  How would you feel if you were brought into a world that you didn’t belong to…just for the satisfaction of others?  That was a realm we hadn’t gone to before, and it was something we knew these movies would benefit from.”  

As the writing partners designed this second act, they strategized where they could take the audience.  Through the greediness of investors playing God and park guests throwing caution and cash toward reason, Jurassic World had been unceremoniously obliterated.  The writers knew there was fertile ground to explore off island, and they’d been quietly planting the seeds for years.  “What would be the result of that destruction; what would be the step beyond it?” asks Trevorrow.

“Fortunately, there were a lot of clues we planted in the first movie; in the film itself, on maps and on the website—in places people wouldn’t think to look for hints about the next two movies—there’s information embedded in all of them.” 

Few characters are closer to Trevorrow than Claire Dearing and Owen Grady, the fiery former lovers who are seemingly destined to pine—and grouse—after each other from afar.  Discussing how the heroes have evolved, he notes: “We thought a lot about where Claire would be a few years later, and how she’d have a lot of guilt, regret and responsibility—which she would take and put it into action. 

Claire knows there’s a natural disaster that is about to occur on the island—one that has posed a question to the world: ‘Do we let these animals die, or do we save them?’  She’s the person who feels the most responsible for rescuing the dinosaurs.  

“On the other side, we have Owen, who is responsible for proving that raptors can follow orders.  He knows there is a capability for them to serve the same purpose as animals that have been used throughout history for war,” Trevorrow continues.  “That opens its own Pandora’s Box.  We have these two characters who are the mother and father of the new world.  They’re the parents of this slowly building biological disaster begun by John Hammond.  It was important for us to find a way to weave Hammond into the story and to connect them together, as well as tell more about the history of how Jurassic Park began.”

The extraordinary dinosaurs are as much players as Claire and Owen.  Nowhere is this more evident than with Blue, the Velociraptor to which Owen has had a deep connection since she was a hatchling.  After a fierce battle with littermate Echo—one that left Blue with a scarred lip—she established her dominance among her pack.  Once Owen pretended to be injured during her training, Blue showed her capacity for empathy.  A virtual enigma among dinosaurs, she is equal parts vicious and nurturing; sadly, in the post Jurassic World era, she is also last of her kind.

For the writers, it was crucial to bring back this fully fledged creature to which we have all grown quite attached.  That storytelling level was extraordinary in Spielberg’s eyes.  “Blue has become a real character that we have imprinted on,” he reflects.  “In the first movie, John Hammond liked to be around every birth, every hatchling, because he wanted the animal to imprint on him.  In this case, the audience has imprinted on Blue, which allows Blue to become a major character that we really care about in this second film.”

It was crucial to the narrative to open the series up and introduce a new set of dinosaurs from multiple epochs.  From a Baryonyx and a Carnotaurus, to a crazy little bull-in-a-china-shop called a Stygimoloch, the writers brought more colorful creatures to Fallen Kingdom than ever before.  As if it that wasn’t enough, they imagined a genetically designed monstrosity known as the Indoraptor.  Its DNA an unholy mix of Velociraptor, Indominus rex and who knows what else Dr. Wu spliced into its codons, this creature is not deadly because of size—it’s due to his intelligence, speed and ability to follow orders…when he so chooses.

 Indoraptor is, without a doubt, the perfect weapon.

There will never be a Jurassic film without our star T. rex, if the filmmakers have anything to say about it.  “The T. rex is also back,” Trevorrow shares.  “We’ve been following this same character since the beginning; she’s the same T. rex that was in Jurassic Park and in Jurassic World.  She is iconic—not just because she’s a T. rex, but because she’s this T. rex.”

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is now open at your favorite cinemas.

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

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