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Jurassic World 2 Will Up The Ante, Juan Antonio Bayona Cites Empire Strikes Back As Inspiration

As the second entry into a bona fide franchise, director Juan Antonio Bayona has likened Jurassic World 2 to Empire Strikes Back.

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Colin Trevorrow may have vacated the director’s chair for Jurassic World 2 soon after the Star Wars universe came calling (he’ll direct Episode IX in 2019), but the writer-director remains an active part in the franchise’s development, even penning the sequel’s script alongside old cohort Derek Connolly.

In his steed, it is Juan Antonio Bayona (A Monster Calls) that will be taking the reins on a “more suspenseful and scary” blockbuster, one that has now been likened to Empire Strikes Back and The Wrath of Khan. Crafting a follow-up that is darker in tone is often par of the course for Hollywood sequels, but during an interview with Spanish publication Noticiasrcn (Scified), Bayona teased the ways in which Jurassic World 2 ups the ante all the while respecting the core franchise.

“It will be darker and scarier than the previous film. Obviously when you have Chris Pratt it will also be very funny. But it will be darker. It is a second step in a trilogy, and the second step is always dark as in The Empire Strikes Back or The Wrath of Khan which are the examples you always get. The film takes the story where it has never been before. To me, it surprised me. We are going to places where the saga has never been before, and at the same time we are paying tribute to the franchise. We will take it a step further. There are things that will happen that people are not expecting and they really are shocking.”

While the original Jurassic World did come packing nerve-shredding moments of its own – the T-Rex moment in the finale is a particular highlight – it’s fascinating to hear that Bayona’s follow-up will be doubling down on this darker and scarier approach, perhaps even channeling the director’s horror heritage in the process. Production on Universal’s 2018 tentpole is expected to set up shop in Hawaii soon after the turn of the year.

Aligned as the second entry into a bona fide trilogy at Universal, Jurassic World 2 will stomp into theaters on June 22, 2018.

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Michael Briers