On June 12, the Jurassic Park franchise returns to theaters for a fourth time with Jurassic World, a new feature film starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, and Irrfan Khan.
Jurassic World is not a reboot of the franchise and the film’s director, Colin Trevorrow, considers it to be a direct sequel to the original movie. Twenty two years have passed since the events of Jurassic Park, and the latest film in the franchise will follow all-new characters, alongside new dinosaurs and perhaps a familiar face or two.
There’s Only One Actor Returning From Jurassic Park
If you’re holding out for cameo appearances by Sam Neill, Laura Dern and/or Jeff Goldblum, then you’re going to be disappointed. Trevorrow has publicly said that he didn’t want to shoehorn their characters into the movie and that their return would have been contrived if it was simply forced to happen within the script.
But there is at least one human character coming back: Dr. Henry Wu, as played by B.D. Wong (pictured above). Dr. Wu appeared in the first Jurassic Park movie as the head of the scientific team that brought the dinosaurs back to life. Presumably Dr. Wu is now employed by Masrani Global Corporation, the new owners of Jurassic World.
The Legacy of John Hammond Survives
The late Richard Attenborough expressed his desire to return for the fourth Jurassic Park movie, but he passed away during the film’s long development. Attenborough’s character from the first two films, John Hammond, will also be deceased in Jurassic World, but his vision lives on thanks to the fully-functioning dinosaur theme park that exists in the movie.
As a tribute to Attenborough, a statue of John Hammond (see photo) will be seen in Jurassic World and he will be identified as the founder of both Jurassic Park and InGen, the company that brought the dinosaurs back from extinction.
Jurassic World Spent Over a Decade in Development Hell
A fourth Jurassic Park film was mentioned as far back as 2001, during the buildup for Jurassic Park III. Executive producer (and the director of the first two Jurassic Park films) Steven Spielberg confirmed that a fourth movie was in the works during a 2002 interview.
But in the intervening years, Spielberg wasn’t satisfied by any of the scripts that were created for the sequel. The death of Jurassic Park novelist Michael Crichton in 2008 was also a setback for the project, according to producer Kathleen Kennedy.
Spielberg announced that the Jurassic Park sequel was back on in 2011 at Comic-Con International, and Trevorrow was signed to direct it in 2013. Jurassic World was pushed back once more from its original June 2014 release date, but it will finally hit theaters in a few weeks.
Steven Spielberg Wouldn’t Let Jurassic World be Rushed Out
Spielberg was personally responsible for the final delay of Jurassic World, because he wanted the final film to be good. A script was written in three weeks and Universal Pictures was reportedly pushing for a fast turnaround on the film with production to start in June 2013. Fortunately, Spielberg had the clout to shut down production until the script met his approval. Jurassic World finally began filming in April 2014.
Casting a Wide Net
Several actors were considered to play Owen Grady, the new lead character of Jurassic World. Garrett Hedlund, Jason Statham, John Krasinski, Jason Sudeikis, Josh Brolin, Henry Cavill, Armie Hammer, and Glenn Howerton were reportedly among the top contenders before Chris Pratt was cast in the role.
Keira Knightley and Kristen Stewart were also rumored to be up for the role of Claire Dearing, but Bryce Dallas Howard was ultimately chosen for the part.
The Law & Order and Comic Book Movie Connection
Through the first four films of the Jurassic Park franchise, several Law & Order veterans have been featured, including Jeff Goldblum in the first two films, and Trevor Morgan in Jurassic Park III. Vincent D’Onofrio and B.D. Wong also have a history with that TV franchise, with D’Onofrio headlining Law & Order: Criminal Intent for several seasons.
Oddly enough, Jurassic World also boasts several actors who have appeared in Marvel Comics-inspired films, including Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy), Bryce Dallas Howard (Spider-Man 3), Ty Simpkins (Iron Man 3), Irrfan Khan (The Amazing Spider Man), and Omar Sy (X-Men: Days of Future Past).
D’Onofrio also has a Marvel credit as Wilson Fisk in the Daredevil series on Netflix.
Trevorrow Lost a Battle for Screenplay Credit
By all accounts, Trevorrow and his writing partner, Derek Connolly, did a very significant amount of rewriting on the Jurassic World script. Universal Pictures put forth Trevorrow and Connolly for the sole screenplay credit when the script was submitted to the Writers Guild of America for arbitration.
However, the WGA decided that an earlier draft of the script by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver meant that the husband-and-wife writing duo also deserved a credit on the Jurassic World screenplay. A second arbitration hearing led to Jaffa and Silver also getting the coveted “story by” credit.
After the story broke, Trevorrow told Deadline that “I have spoken with Rick and Amanda several times over the past few days. Though we may not agree on the specifics of this ruling, we share a disdain for the arbitration process and the ugliness it often breeds. Our conversations ended in a spirit I’d like to think the Guild would support — that credit could be equally shared. Jurassic World is a special film, and I’d rather acknowledge these writers as co-designers of this adventure than bitter enemies who must be avoided at parties.”
Jurassic World claws its way into theaters on Friday, June 12.