Jurassic World 2 (or, I guess, Jurassic Park 5) is out of the paddock and in front of cameras. Earlier this month, producer Frank Fields marked the beginning of production with a Tweet that read: “so it begins.” Following that up, today Bryce Dallas Howard, who stars as Park Operations Manager Claire Dearing (menaced as much by her high heels as the dino attractions) marked the commencement of filming with the following social media post:
"We have an asset out of containment. Put ACU on alert. This not a drill."
— Bryce Dallas Howard (@BryceDHoward) February 24, 2017
Dallas Howard’s Tweet quotes her character in Jurassic World, the dialogue marking the moment where the glossy family friendly amusement park begins changing into a buffet for gigantic prehistoric monstrosities. Given the nature of the Jurassic franchise, we can probably expect to see further examples of man’s hubris break free of its containment and run amuck in the sequel, the beasts chomping their way through all manner of screaming members of the public.
Actual details are thin on the ground, though what we do have is tantalizing stuff. Colin Trevorrow is handing directorial duties to J.A. Bayona (The Impossible) but remains as script co-writer (with Derek Connolly). So far, we’ve heard that the sequel will be “darker” and that it would “go places where the saga has never been before.” We also have the tantalizing quote from Bayona that “Dinosaurs are a parable of the treatment of today’s animals: abuse, experiments in medicine, pets, [you] have wild animals in zoos like prisons, military use has been made of them, animals and weapons.”
The promise of weaponized dinosaurs recalls William Monahan and John Sayles’ famously bizarre un-produced script for Jurassic Park 4, in which the loose end from Jurassic Park – that shaving can full of dinosaur DNA – was finally resolved. What happens revolves around, and I swear I’m not making this up, a squad of super-intelligent, drug addict velociraptors in combat gear (named Achilles, Hector, Perseus, Orestes, and Spartacus) who battle drug dealers and rescue kidnapped children.
It’s weird, high concept stuff, but then Jurassic World dabbled a toe in these waters, running with this script’s idea of genetically created ‘new’ dinosaurs via its Indominus Rex. On top of that, the primary villain of the previous film was Vincent D’Onofrio’s military fetishist, who was eager to put dinosaurs on the battlefield. So what can we expect? A T-Rex with rocket launchers mounted on top of it? Pterodon drone bombers? A Triceratops with lazer horns? Does anyone remember 80s cartoon/toy commercial Dino-Riders?
It’s easy to think of this as a conceptual step too far for the franchise, but then again, the idea of dinosaur theme parks collapsing into chaos is getting a little bit played out. We’ll have to wait until July 22nd, 2018 to find out, but given the incredible box office haul of Jurassic World ($1.67 billion on a budget of $150 million) I think we at least guarantee that Universal will pull out all the stops.