The Future of the Jurassic Franchise!

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Now that the dust has settled on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, having generated over $1.305 billion at the box office and being released on Blu Ray/DVD and digital, speculation has already begun about the next Jurassic World installment. Jurassic World 3/Jurassic Park 6 which will be hitting cinemas on June 11 2021, directed again by Jurassic World (2015) director Colin Trevorrow.

Speculation doesn’t just stop with Jurassic World 3 though. 2021 really isn’t that far away and with only three years left to go until it hits cinemas, one of the big things that has been on my mind and probably other Jurassic fans minds for a while is what is going to come after? What does the future hold in store for the franchise post 2021?

In this article I speculate about the possible routes Universal Pictures could take the series post Jurassic World 3.

Reboots of Jurassic Park and The Lost World closer to the original novels

As a fan I am cautiously optimistic about the future of the franchise after 2021. I don’t want the series to be tainted in anyway by going off in silly story directions, but I also want to see more from the Jurassic franchise as there is still so much it has to offer.

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When Michael Crichton published Jurassic Park back in 1990 I doubt he ever dreamed it would have become as critically and commercially successful as it has, not just through the film version of Jurassic Park and its eventual sequels, but the countless merchandise, video games, comic books, and novelizations about and around the characters he created. Whilst Michael Crichton is no longer with us, his legacy lives on in such a big way, most notably within the passion of this fandom.

This franchise has a dedicated and passionate fanbase around the world (with Jurassic films making just short of $5 billion in total so far), so Universal will obviously want to continue to capitalise financially on future installments.

After the development hell that was Jurassic Park 4 from 2001 onwards, Universal will most likely be keen to have a plan for franchise once Colin Trevorrow finishes his trilogy with Jurassic World 3.

Reboots are very common these days, some are warranted and many are not. But the Jurassic Park franchise could benefit from a reboot in a really big way if done correctly, that is if it is made with the story as close to the original novels as possible. Given enough planning, getting the right cast and figuring out what direction they would want to take it in. It’s the first obvious film move to make.

Whilst the Jurassic franchise has been what could be considered family oriented for the most part a more mature/darker tone for a reboot would be a good way to differentiate it from what has come before whilst enabling the films to delve into more thrilling and scary dinosaur story telling situations.

Having a darker more mature tone would allow a much more heightened sense of horror and fear to story action scenes and beats, like dinosaur attacks. The Jurassic Park novel has many gory and terrifying scenes most notably the Dennis Nedry encounter with the Dilophosaurus which is a much more brutal and horrifying ordeal compared to the 1993 film version. Dr. Henry Wu’s death by being disemboweled by a Velociraptor in the novel is also a shocking scene and translated to film in the right way would be incredible to see, something more akin to a Xenomorph attack from Aliens: quick, brutal and gory. The novelisation of The Lost World has similar scenes which really heighten the stakes for the story’s characters, leaving you wondering how they will survive.

Being able to display the dinosaurs differently to what was established in the 1993 version (closer to what we know in paleontology today), as well as ones we haven’t seen make an appearance in a Jurassic film before are other possibilities that a future reboot could really capitalise on. A reboot such as this could be incredibly exciting. Dealing with the harsh realities of genetic tampering with nature whilst showing a Jurassic audience something new, not tied down within the world/lore already established from the 1993 film and its sequels.

 

A prequel film series about Jurassic World being constructed

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Another option for Universal to consider for Jurassic is to delve more into the backstory behind the creation of Jurassic World. One of the first posters that came out when Jurassic World was announced was at SDCC 2014. The image was of a wild Velociraptor on the upturned jeep explorer from the first film with the construction of Jurassic World in the background. At the time many fans thought this was what we might see in Jurassic World but this was not the case. In the film the park was running for 10 years before the Indominus Rex incident however like Jurassic Park, running a theme park full of genetically engineered dinosaurs isn’t without hiccups, accidents, tragedy and peril.

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The Evolution of Claire by author Tess Sharpe covered some of these unfortunate events. It is a fantastic novel delving into more of the backstory of how Claire Dearing became involved in the Jurassic World program and shows how she develops into the woman we see her as in Jurassic World. The novel also features really interesting character development and backstory for characters Simon Masrani and Dr. Henry Wu.

If you haven’t read it already I really suggest you pick it up, it expands the lore of Jurassic World in such a great way. You can read Tom Fishenden’s review of The Evolution of Claire here.

A film version similar to The Evolution of Claire covering the very early days of Jurassic World’s development would be really beneficial in helping to expand more upon the characters we have come to know in the Jurassic World franchise, whilst also covering what happened after the events of Jurassic Park 3, (Something of which has been covered briefly by viral websites for the franchise like the Dinosaur Protection Group) but not in great detail.

A NETFLIX TV series focusing on a young John Hammond and the creation of the first dinosaur.

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The other option for Universal (which is my favourite potential option) is to make a Television series focusing on the early days of INGEN, John Hammond, the first created dinosaurs and the eventual creation of Jurassic Park. There are two approaches that could be taken here with a TV series:

 

1.    The first option is Universal could focus this within the Jurassic franchise that we already know and love. With a focus on John Hammonds rise as a billionaire, his desire to take a crack at the impossible, getting Henry Wu onboard and creating the first dinosaur. Have a young John Hammond and young Benjamin Lockwood starting out on their genetic research together. Show how they fell out and went their different ways. Hammond focusing on creating dinosaurs and Lockwood focusing on getting the technology right to recreate his dead daughter Maisie. This series would eventually finish with Jurassic Park being built to what we see in the 1993 film. Or the series could focus on the early days of Jurassic World 10 years before it opened, either way a TV series set within the franchise we already have filling in unanswered plot details would be welcomed by fans with open arms.

2.    Option two is similar to option one except that the series is its own thing pulling manly from the original novels. This would enable a much darker tone, focusing more on John Hammond’s relentless nature of getting what he wants. Overlooking issues, not thinking about the consequences of his actions. As well as a much bigger focus on Lewis Dodgson who again would be much more sinister.

It would also be an opportunity to explore more of the back stories of characters that we haven’t seen in film yet but only know from the novels like Dr. Roberta Carter, Dr. Guitierrez, Ed Regis, Richard Levine, Jack "Doc" Thorne etc.

Dinosaur shows in the past have been hit and miss. Dinotopia 2002-2003 and Primeval 2007-2011 for example were hits with audiences and some programs like Terra Nova showed promise but were cancelled after the first season. If Universal invested in a big budget Netflix style TV series set within the film universe it would generate a lot of buzz and would add so much more lore to the Jurassic stories we already have.

Regardless of what happens after 2021, this year has been an incredible year for the franchise - celebrating the 25th anniversary of Jurassic Park, the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Jurassic Park Live in Concert, the release of toys and merchandise from Mattel and FUNKO, the novelization of The Evolution of Claire, the video game release of Jurassic World Evolution, the release of collectables from Prime 1 Studios, Chronicle Collectables and much more.

The Jurassic franchise hasn’t been more alive and we have lots more Jurassic content to look forward to in the near future, whatever medium that maybe!

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Written by:
James Ronan