Fanfic: In My Next Iteration, You Might Say

Summary: Three reasons Ian Malcolm might’ve come to speak on behalf of the dinosaurs of Jurassic World.

I.

The sun sets gently over Ian’s home in Santa Fe. The sky is a deep orange and the grass is long, and the little feet of his children leave trampled footprints in the grass as they run and tumble, grasping at each other’s shirts and belt loops in something that resembles a game of tag, snatching at mosquitoes and falling on their backs with breathless laugher. Ian sits on his porch and ignores the mathematics journal in his lap, watching his daughter and two sons enjoy the summer evening. These children didn’t choose to be placed on this earth; they were deliberately brought here through an act of creation, and though this world may not be the best place for them, they deserve to have a place in it. They could clone more dinosaurs just like he could always have more kids, but he’d never be able to have an exact copy of Anna or Xavier or Thomas. Ian watches the two boys chasing each other in circles and Anna lying in wait to pounce one of them to the ground, and he thinks of baby velociraptor siblings playfully nipping at each other as the same sun above him sets above an island off of Costa Rica. He imagines the mother rex watching her hatchling learn to hunt. Families making their way in the world they’ve been given, just like his.

A few days later, Ian remembers that evening as he testifies to the ethics committee. He doesn’t talk about the cooing of baby Pteranodons in their nest, or how his daughter leaned her head on his shoulder as he carried her to bed. Instead he mentions how life like that on Isla Nublar, resilient and persistent as it is, can be as delicate as the shell of an egg.

II.

Ian is alone again. The cycle of ex-Mrs.-Malcolms continues, but the gaps between women grow longer and longer. He’s still respected, of course—he’s more than earned that. People come to his classes and dutifully sit and listen, and his colleagues at the University of Texas invite him to all of their cocktail parties and laugh at all of his jokes. He flies out to Utah at his leisure to visit Kelly at her dig sites, and whenever Elizabeth and her husband invite him to stay the weekend. Afterwards he always goes back to his apartment, and nobody’s there to say hello when he does. No more red ponytails swishing around the kitchen, no more little hands and feet practicing backflips off the coffee table, no more voices asking Dad to read them a bedtime story. Occasionally he’s greeted by a cat’s meow, during the particularly lonely times when he feels like adopting one.

At night he glances over at the shelves full of his books and publications, thinking about how little they’ll mean after he’s gone. Paper is so easily destroyed and thoughts are so easily rejected; a treatise about nonlinear systems won’t leave scars on the earth or make it any greener. He thinks about how evolution has no direction and how life is a crystal with fractals smaller than anyone was ever meant to comprehend. He thinks about the Malcolm effect, a dangerously curved red line within a looping strange attractor. Once things have been hurtled past the point of no return, they’re bound to happen once we decide we’ll let them or not. He couldn’t stop the dinosaurs from reclaiming their planet back then, and he can’t now, so he may as well let them be his legacy. They’ll change the world for the better or the worse, but whatever they do will make sure that his name and his words are repeated as long as dinosaurs walk the planet.

“These creatures were here before us,” he says later, to a room of people listening with silent respect. “If we’re not careful, they’re gonna be here after.”

III.

Things have quieted down. Reporters haven’t darkened Ian’s doorstep for eleven years, ever since he adopted the policy of answering questions about Jurassic World by raising a certain finger. Talk shows and book deals about the San Diego Incident made him enough money to get a nice two-bedroom house in Santa Monica near the boardwalk, and somehow he managed to convince Sarah to live in it with him. His students know by now that asking him about dinosaurs won’t get them anything more informative than a sigh, and a few years ago they stopped asking. He buys Alan Grant a couple of drinks every few months, and they banter about theories until the bartender very respectfully asks them to go yell about the Great Dying somewhere else. Kelly, about to finish grad school on his dime, is making a nice place for herself in the world as well. Ian has talked and thought through a lot of things over the years, and he doesn’t flinch anymore when he sees dinosaur documentaries while flipping through channels.

Someone from the Board of Ethics Regarding Genetically Engineered Organisms sends him a carefully-worded email one day, and for the hell of it, Ian takes them up on their request. He’s seen the videos of the tyrannosaur on Nublar, and when he saw its bared teeth and the aged white scars that line its face, he found that his fear was replaced with respect. The circumstances that brought dinosaurs back onto this earth were still wholly unethical, but the little bastards have been surviving on the island on their own for three years now, and they deserve some credit for that. Will they even manage to outlast human civilization, adapting to this new era and fighting their way forward like they did through the whole Mesozoic? Hell, if Ian has learned anything from the past 25 years of his life, it’s that anything is possible.

So he puts on a suit and he heads to their little board meeting, and he sits in front of his microphone and he tells these bunch of straight-faced guys in monkey suits about how much he’s seen during his time on both islands, about how these animals overcame the limits of what should’ve been possible and bred when their entire population was female. About how everything living on Sorna should’ve croaked when they stopped getting their lysine, but instead they formed a food chain that kept all of the different types of dinosaurs alive despite the inherent limits written into their DNA. About how, no matter how many regulations people have placed on dinosaurs, they’ve always managed to live exactly how they want to. People can write as many laws and send as many animal-rights groups to Nublar as they want, but in the end, dinosaurs will keep on living exactly as long as they intend to.

“Life,” he concludes, “finds a way.”

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Finally, The Trailer

After more than two years of waiting and six months of radio silence from the production team, we’ve just seen the trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom!

The trailer opens with Claire and Owen, pretty clearly not in a romantic relationship anymore (that might be subject to change, considering “Anyone Who Knows What Love Is” is playing) in a bar, talking about dinosaurs. Since this is the same scene as a teaser released earlier today, I’m extrapolating from that:

Claire is convincing Owen to go back to the island and reminds him of his dino-daughter, and then we see the famous Baby Blue sequence, confirming that it was in fact a flashback and it’s actually a younger version of Blue that we’re seeing here, as opposed to her baby or a clone. I’m not quite sure why Owen is wearing the same clothes in this shot that he wears throughout the rest of Fallen Kingdom, but he seems to favor the blue shirt and brown vest combo, so it’s not too big a deal. Apparently I was right about this being the first time Blue has ever gotten so comfortable around Owen– in fact, this was the first time he’d ever seen a dinosaur. By the way things are going with the rest of the film, this will probably be the only truly Spielbergian moment of pure dino wonder that we get, besides one particular moment later on in this trailer. Although I’m always a sucker for majestic dinosaur moments, the previous JW covered that element pretty well, so one sequence in this one should do it. And far be it from me, of course, to complain about anything involving babies. My love for domesticated, dog-like dinosaurs (if Blue was like this as a hatchling, she and the others were definitely trained, or learned to, be as vicious and dangerous as they were in Jurassic World. I wonder if Hoskins had anything to do with that) is finally being expressed on the big screen. My heart bursts.

That and the shot of Owen in the plane afterwards are really reminiscent of JP3. I never thought I’d see the day that a JP movie made a callback to JP3, but I guess it is part of the beloved original trilogy. Owen also reeks of JP3 Grant in the beginning of this, having to be convinced to go back to the island; he doesn’t seem to care much about dinosaurs anymore, which makes sense considering that he saw so many people and the raptors that were basically his children being killed before his eyes. Also, he knows that Isla Nublar is about to get blown up, and he doesn’t care. In fact, I get the impression that he hadn’t even considered the idea of Blue still being alive, or he’d deliberately tried to forget her. “Hero of previous movies loses his enthusiasm for dinosaurs and is dragged back to the island” is basically a JP trope now, so I can’t exactly call it a distinct TLW or JP3 callback, but it’s certainly continuing the traditions of the old trilogy.

Next, after these beautiful shots–

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Does it count as product placement if you’re advertising for your own toys?

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— we see the circumstances under which Ian Malcolm is testifying: he’s talking to an ethics counsel about the rights of dinosaurs and whether they should be protected. Just to get it out of the way: I totally called that. I also totally called that he’s gained an amount of respect for dinosaurs, enough that he’s advocating for them to be treated fairly and for it to be respected that “these creatures were here before us”. Considerably less impassioned than his previous dinosaur-related rants, but still very clearly Ian Malcolm.

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I’ve been waiting some time to see him in a suit. This is a big moment for me.

I’ve also previously said that if Ian (and Grant and Ellie with their respective famous lines, if they’ve cashed in on their Jurassic Park fame as much as Ian has) ever brings out his “life finds a way” speech again, as he frequently does in fanfics and does later on in the trailer, it would be in front of a crowd. I would think that Ian’s appearance here is a minor celebrity event, and he’s bringing out his old lines to sway the crowd and hopefully the board of ethics as well. He’s probably getting paid pretty well to show up here, smile slyly and whip out a few of his best quotes. He’s got a nice living going, he hasn’t been involved with dinosaurs for a long while and isn’t visibly traumatized anymore, and he’s taken control of his public image and popularity and gone back to his old, suave self. That’s all I wanted out of his appearance in this movie, honestly.

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Assuming this big warehouse of captured dinosaurs belongs to the Dinosaur Protection Group, and not the military or whoever else is on Nublar shipping out dinos, the Protection Group must be an even bigger operation than I’d thought, and Claire, Owen and the rest of the ragtag group must just be the surveyors or something. In any case, dinosaur rescue is a surprisingly big issue here, considering the incident that they’d caused recently and how common and unexciting they are now, as stated by Claire at the beginning of Jurassic World. I would think that people would be totally okay with leaving the dinosaurs alone and not letting anyone else get hurt by them. When I say that, I’m assuming that Wu’s plan succeeded and dinosaurs are already being genetically engineered and used on the mainland, and the dinos on Nublar aren’t the only ones in the world anymore; it’s entirely possible that the dinosaurs brought from the island will be the first ones to donate their DNA to corporations, the military, et cetera, and that the animal rights issues that the movie deals with won’t really arise until the various teams’ mission has succeeded and the denizens of Nublar have been brought to the mainland.

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As we saw in yesterday’s behind-the-scenes video, Owen meets Blue again, in what must be the area near the old T. rex paddock judging by the upside-down Explorer in the background. Bayona is literally burning everything we know and love about the first Jurassic Park, but at least he’s squeezing in as many references as he can before we never see Isla Nublar again. “You know me,” Owen whispers to her, and she almost goes in to be petted, but then screeches “I HATE YOU, DAD” at him in raptor language.

Here’s one of the few times that I’m happy to be wrong. Yesterday, I said that it was very unlikely that we’d get a good, suspenseful, TLW novel-inspired scene with an angry mother carnotaurus. Well:

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“Wait, I thought Disney made up that dinosaur for the Dinosaur ride/ movie?” –every single non-fan you’ll watch this scene with

Not only is this a dinosaur we’ve waited since 1995 to see in a Jurassic Park movie, the CGI on her is fantastic. Bayona is using a ton of animatronics for this movie, and it really beautifully shows.

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I cried when I saw this. I know you cried when you saw this. You’re probably crying right now.

Every recurring character in these movies has a catch phrase or an action or a motif that defines them. Ian Malcolm has “life finds a way”. Owen has his raptor-taming pose. Claire has that “I can’t believe I’m sitting here putting up with this right now” look. And Rexy has snapping the neck of smaller dinosaurs and roaring over them like the world’s biggest badass. Just like the shot of Owen riding his motorcycle with the Raptor Squad in the first trailer so long ago, this is without a doubt the moment of pure concentrated awesome that everyone will be talking about until (and after) the movie comes out. There’s nothing else I can say about it. I’m breathing heavily as I type this. I seriously hope Rexy doesn’t die or suffer a fate worse than death on the mainland, but if that’s what has to happen, this is a hell of a last hurrah.

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As Claire and Justice Smith ride away in a gyrosphere, leaving Owen to run behind them and be swallowed up by a cloud of ash, we get a closer look at the mystery dinosaur from the first teaser. I’ll update this if any official word comes out as to its identity, but for now we’re left to guess for ourselves. Its snout looks way too short to be Baryonyx or Suchomimus (although, as many have pointed out on Twitter, the snout on the movie’s confirmed Baryonyx is way too short anyway) so if I had to make a definite claim, I’d say it’s an Allosaurus that we never saw on the website (or a serious variation on the Metriacanthosaurus that we did) but we’ll have to see.

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It’s not like we’ll be seeing it for too long anyway.

The last shot in the trailer is Claire and Justice Smith’s Gyrosphere careening over a cliff and into the ocean, and when I first saw it, I got unbelievably excited because I thought I saw Mosasaurus swimming around in the water, right before where the Gyrosphere falls in.

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However, looking at it again, it’s more than likely a triceratops or one of the many other dinosaurs that jump/fall off the cliff as well. That shot, with the chunks of volcanic rock falling into the water like volcanoes from the sky, as well as this one–

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–are satisfyingly reminiscent of the classic image of the dinosaurs’ extinction, with herds of dinosaurs frantically fleeing as clouds of ash envelop everything. As incredibly sad as it is to see all of those dinosaurs die, this is a pretty artsy and pleasingly choreographed way to do it, with the Cretaceous extinction practically being replicated. As for the ocean scene, it’ll obviously be a suspenseful sequence with the two heroes trying to escape and swim to the surface (and Owen diving in to rescue them; the end of that scene will likely take place on the East Dock, and that’s probably where we got these photos from) but there’s still a distinct possibility that Mosasaur will show up in the water with them. We just gotta believe.

After all that waiting, I can officially say that the trailer was completely worth it. The director really likes his drab color scheme, but the plot and special effects more than make up for it. Some of the CGI still needs to be worked on, but the practical effects like Blue and the carnotaur are unbelievably well-done. We’re reaching almost a critical point with the Fallen Kingdom hype with all the new footage and details coming out, but we’ve waited so long and everything looks so good that we’ll be revelling in this for quite a while. Let me know what you thought of the trailer in the comments, join the party on Twitter, and go watch the trailer again!

New Dinosaurs, New Characters and a Beard

On top of the dizzying amount of news we’ve just gotten for Fallen Kingdom before tomorrow’s trailer release, we just got a first look/ behind the scenes video that shows a lot.

I usually deeply analyze things like this, but I have a lot on my plate today (my final exam for my paleontology class is tomorrow morning) and there’ll be a lot to unpack in the full trailer tomorrow, so I’m here just going to write about the parts of the video that I have something insightful to say about. Jurassic Outpost has an article and a video breaking all of it down if you’re interested in deeper analysis.

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This is out of order of the rest of the video, but you probably knew I’d mention this first. I saw these screenshots, among the other ones in this post, a few hours ago. My wonderful boyfriend Dylan and I had just finished going on a fossil-hunting expedition, and we were eating at a Mexican restaurant; he went to the bathroom and I pulled out my phone to check Twitter, and was greeted immediately by the sly grin and unexpected beard of the returning Ian Malcolm. By the time Dylan got back, he immediately looked concerned and asked me if I was okay. There were tears in my eyes. My hands shook as I ate my fried ice cream. It sounds like I’m making that up for the purpose of this article, but I’m not. It was an emotional experience. Needless to say I’m very happy to see this.

“Here I am, talking about dinosaurs again,” Ian says here, with a look on his face and a tone in his voice that indicates that he probably hasn’t had to deal with dinosaurs in a while. I’ve said previously that I’m okay with Ian having a small role, as long as the movie shows him being happy and well-adjusted and doesn’t kill him off. I can’t speak for the third part, but this Ian looks monumentally happier and calmer than when we last saw him. I mean, 20 years will do that to a person, but he’s been through a lot during his life, and the Jurassic World disaster probably wasn’t too easy on him. People are saying that he’s probably in a courtroom to testify against Jurassic World, possibly in one of the many trials that I’m sure Claire, Henry Wu, and the other bigwigs would’ve had to attend after their carelessness got so many people killed. However, something tells me that that’s not the case. It’s something about his tone of voice, and the fact that the courtroom he’s in isn’t set up like a typical trial. It looks like he’s speaking before some kind of board, particularly a board of ethics. I feel in my gut that Ian is making a case for dinosaurs’ rights. That sentence would’ve made no sense two years ago, but with the setup of the room and the bittersweet tone in Ian’s voice, it really looks to me like some kind of government committee is making decisions about the rights of genetically-modified organisms like dinosaurs, since the military and other corporations are planning to use them for all kinds of purposes, and that Ian is telling them that dinosaurs should be protected. That would make sense from the perspective of his previous ideas– he probably thinks dinosaurs shouldn’t be on the mainland at all, but if they are, they should be “quarantined and contained” as much as possible and treated ethically. It would also be a nice piece of character development, taking him full circle from being awed by dinosaurs to hating them to respecting them again. I kind of doubt he’ll even see a dinosaur at all in this, assuming this isn’t part of the courtroom scene:

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Yeah, guy in the toupee, I feel like that right now too.

If you ask me, Ian’s presence will mostly be a cameo that’s short enough to show us that he’s okay and he’s come a long way in his dinosaur issues.

Oh yeah, and this is a Jurassic Park movie, so we got dinosaurs:

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My personal favorite, obviously, is the baby carnotaurus, whose color scheme is a lot like the Demon Carnotaur toy with its black and red parts reversed. Where there’s a baby there’s a very angry mommy, and it’s probably too much to hope for that this movie will include some version of the fantastic carnotaur scene from the Lost World novel, but they could probably fit it in somewhere if they tried. If that’s a Baryonyx animatronic’s head in the background in the third picture, I’m very disappointed that the team is rejecting the dinosaur’s design from the JW website, but it’s always possible that it’s a Suchomimus or something else. And, unless it’s the famed Indoraptor that’s a redundancy in itself, I think the Indominus is one that was cloned for military or other purposes, and it’s broken out, as Indomini are wont to do.

Honestly, though, I have another gut feeling, and it’s that all the Indominus stuff we’ve seen so far is a fake-out. It would be deliciously ironic if Trevorrow remembers us leaking the Indominus’ design and details about her back in 2014-2015, and is now using that exact concept against us to make us think Indy is playing a big part in the movie when she isn’t. I have nothing to back this up, I just think it would be clever.

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And of course, everyone’s favorite dinosaur (besides Rexy, who we’ve already seen in previous teasers) Blue is here for the party. She appears to be running around the island (and possibly Lockwood’s mansion? Don’t ask me what that’s about, unless she somehow takes part in the suspenseful sequence that’ll go down in the mansion at some point) and feeling just fine at first, but eventually ends up strapped down to a table and doesn’t seem too thrilled about it. Of course I hope Blue doesn’t die, but it’s starting to look like that’s an option that’s on the table here. Heh.

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I and some others noticed earlier that Claire’s ponytail here is reminiscent of Sarah Harding’s hair in The Lost World (she ties her shirt just like Ellie does in the first movie, and now she’s got Sarah hair. Claire, I beg you, don’t emulate Amanda Kirby next time) but this shot really, really gave me Sarah vibes, particularly with Claire’s green shirt and the presumably sick dinosaur strapped down in front of her. A lot of the cinematography in this movie, especially this shot–

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— seems like it’s going for a Lost World effect. The colors are more muted than the film before it, there’s a lot more guns and a lot less wonder, it’s much darker, and there’s a lot of shots with rain in them. Since the first Jurassic World was so much of a tribute to Jurassic Park, it makes sense that the second movie in this trilogy will pay tribute to the second movie in the old trilogy. I know a lot of people think TLW was nowhere near as good as the first JP, but I’m of the opinion that it’s just as good and I love its dark aesthetic, so I’m thrilled to see even more of that.

We also get looks at new characters:

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Unfortunately, I can tell exactly who in this group will die first. You know which trope I mean.

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Hammond’s former business partner Benjamin Lockwood is living the absolute dream here– his mansion looks like a full-on museum. He’s notably holding Hammond’s cane here, which means that he was close enough to Hammond when he died that he got one of Hammond’s most prized non-dinosaur possessions, so I guess they must not be as estranged as I’d previously thought. Judging by the dinosaur-chase sequence that takes place in the mansion, I would guess Lockwood isn’t long for this world, and that he’ll be ironically consumed by a dinosaur while surrounded by statues and skeletons of the dinosaurs he loves so much.

I’d expected Daniela Pineda’s character, Zia Rodriguez, to be more of a serious scientist character for some reason. That’s not to say she isn’t, but she looks like more of a Jurassic fangirl who stuck along for the ride in this picture. Someone on Twitter suggested that she’s part of the military, which doesn’t necessarily contradict her being a nerd; maybe she’s one of the only people in the military who doesn’t agree with the use of dinosaurs in combat. I’m interested to find out more about who she is. And speaking of women in the series, here’s Lucy (or Maisie, according to Jurassic Outpost):

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If she’s hanging out in Lockwood’s mansion and thus probably his granddaughter, Lucy/Maisie’s playset of Isla Nublar is probably another thing Lockwood keeps around to stare at wistfully during emotional parts of the movie. Or she’s expressing regret that she never got to visit the island, or just plain sad that all the dinosaurs are dead. We see her in a couple of the action sequences in this video, so she’s probably taking the stereotypical role of “the kid” in the movie instead of Justice Smith’s character. Speaking of kids, Grey has been confirmed to be returning for Fallen Kingdom, but I didn’t spot him anywhere in this video. Maybe he’ll turn up in the much-awaited trailer tomorrow.

I’ll get more in-depth with the trailer that’s set to debut early tomorrow, but I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this teaser, and needless to say, this is going to be one great movie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fallen Kingdom Trailer Teasers

The official Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom trailer won’t be coming out until Thursday, but we just got two glimpses at it!

Both teasers feature Claire, Owen and Justice Smith’s character on Isla Nublar and show the volcanic eruptions that we’ve heard so much about. When I first saw the word “RUN” in the name of the first teaser, I was instantly reminded of Claire’s chilling scream of “Run!” during the final battle of Jurassic World, and thus I expected to get a similar feeling from this trailer. I… didn’t quite get that feeling.

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Maybe it’s the way Owen runs with his arms flailing, or maybe it’s his somewhat high-pitched cry of “RuuuUUUUUn“, or maybe it’s the fact that he looks like he’s being chased and that the first dinosaur we see running after him is the hilariously harmless Gallimimus, but I didn’t quite get the sense of foreboding that this was probably meant to convey. In fact, I really didn’t like the vibe of this teaser in general. I felt that the mood of it was kinda silly because of Owen’s unintentionally hilarious running, and because throwing in a scene where “ALL the dinosaurs are in it at once!” felt like a cop-out. It makes sense that all the dinosaurs would be fleeing at once from an eruption, but it just didn’t strike me the right way. I have no doubt it’ll look better in context during the movie.

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Notice the way Claire is clinging to Owen. I guess they did stick together for survival.

This is a nice callback to the Gallimimus Valley scene in the first movie– they’re even hiding behind a log– which is another thing that bothered me, because it almost feels like they’re redoing that scene with more dinosaurs in an attempt to make it more awesome. But then again, there were scenes set in valleys with a bunch of running dinosaurs in both TLW and JP3, so this isn’t so much of a reach.

In this scene we see Gallimumus, Triceratops, Apatosaurus, Ankylosaurus and Pteranodons. The fact that the full variety of herbivores that previously lived in the Gyrosphere Valley (minus the parasaurs, which I have no doubt are among the crowd) gives a hint towards some of my earlier questions about the environment of the island and where the dinosaurs settled themselves after there were no more fences. There appears to be the same amount of, or slightly fewer, dinosaurs here than there were in Jurassic World, so not many of the Gyrosphere Valley dinosaurs wandered off or got killed by the newly freed predators– or the predators that had very few constraints on them in the first place, like Baryonyx and Suchomimus from the Cretaceous Cruise.

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Reminder that Baryonyx and Suchomimus were totally free to walk around in the water with kayaking humans on this totally safe attraction.

Pteranodons probably live all over the island, but the herbivores don’t seem to have gone far from their original habitat, opting to stay in and around the woods. That makes sense, given that it’d be much easier to hide in the woods than to stay exposed in an open field. All of the different herbivores also seem to have stayed together in relatively the same area, showing that at least they can tolerate each other, and at most that they’ve learned to all stick together to protect one another from roving predators, or the different species have become dependent on one another, having learned that from living together in the valley for so long and carrying it over once they weren’t guaranteed safety in the valley anymore. We also see some Compsognathuses:

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In the original Jurassic Park novel, compies lived all over the park and served as the scavengers/decomposers for its ecosystem, so it makes total sense that that would be the case once nature started to take over Isla Nublar. The island hasn’t had too long to become a “natural” ecosystem, and its predator-prey ratio is too out of whack for that to even be a possibility for a long time, but it’s obviously making some steps. I’m interested in seeing more of what the island has become, and how much it parallels the problems of the ecosystem of Isla Sorna in the Lost World novel.

The second teaser shows us a lot more:

First we see Owen, presumably having just arrived on Nublar, and indeed wearing the same outfit and in about the same state of cleanliness that we see him in in the Baby Blue video.

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Next, we get a look at everyone’s favorite not-Spinosaurus, Baryonyx!

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She’s emerging from a tunnel of some kind, and we see Claire and Justice Smith looking afraid of her with some kind of industrial building in the background, so I’m thinking that this scene is set in a behind-the-scenes building (possibly underground) that the Cretaceous Cruise dinosaurs retired to when the park closed at the end of the day. I’m guessing that unless the rescue team lured her down there to capture her, she’s only still hanging out down there out of habit, which makes sense considering she’s lived her entire life within Jurassic World and, like the other animals, is still getting used to having freedom. In fact, since she eats mostly fish, she might not have ever had a reason to leave her restricted area at all, and she might’ve just been living a peaceful life fishing and swimming all day and going down into her tunnel to sleep at night this entire time. I’d been wondering how much the animals in the park would stray from the areas that they’d lived in for their entire lives; this and the location of the herbivores in the previous teaser is telling us that the dinosaurs’ old habits die hard.

I’m guessing that the team went into this building either to search for Blue, lure out the Baryonyx, or get away from the volcano eruption. This looks like a really cool sequence that’ll show us the inner workings of the park itself, so whatever the reason they’re in there, I’m glad they are.

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Finally, here’s the queen herself, although she’s not in quite the same majestic state as we saw her in at the end of Jurassic World. This was probably intended to be a much bigger surprise than it actually was, since a photo of the Rexy animatronic from this exact scene was leaked months ago. Owen and Claire, both clean and wearing the shirts (but not the vests) that they wear to Nublar, open the truck to reveal her, and Owen says, “This is gonna be awesome”. For those reasons, I’m thinking this scene takes place before the Nublar mission, so Rexy had to have been brought back by someone other than them. So maybe they see that Rexy is okay, which tells them that the dinosaurs on Nublar are still alive and well, which makes Owen want to go back and get Blue? Or someone else is going to the island and capturing dinosaurs, and Owen and Claire decide to go and get as many dinos as they can before the other people (Biosyn or the military) can?

Overall, the first teaser didn’t quite rub me the right way, but I really enjoyed the second one, and both of them provide some interesting insights into the way that the Isla Nublar ecosystem is developing now that it’s not under human control anymore. They also showed that Justice Smith’s character, who I still have a hunch is Ian Malcolm’s son, will be an integral part of at least the island-related part of the movie, and will possibly serve as “the kid” of the cast, at least until Lucy shows up. Finally, we now know that the color scheme of this part of the movie will be very dark and bleak. I’m not a huge fan of that either, although I can see why Bayona made that choice, this being a “very dark” movie and all, and to contrast with the bright colors of the preceding movie. I’m hoping that’s not the case in the final product, since flat gray and brown colors can get really boring to look at really fast. As we saw in Jurassic World, the CGI and overall look of the teasers and trailers can drastically vary from the final film, so there’s enough time to color things up a little.

What did you think of the teasers? What are you excited to see in the trailer on Thursday? Let me know in the comments!

Huge thanks to Jurassic Outpost for the screenshots from the first teaser, and to Chris Pugh for being the first to show the second teaser on Twitter. 

Update: Thank you to @tomasseligmann on Twitter for showing me an alternate teaser!

This one is almost exactly like the first, except it has one added shot, where some kind of theropod is running with the herbivores and gets knocked into by a gallimimus:

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I can’t seem to figure out which carnivore it is; if I had to guess, I would say it’s an allosaur or the Suchomimus from the JW website, but the footage is blurry and it’s hard to tell, and search me for why a Cretaceous Cruise dinosaur who primarily eats fish would be running around in herbivore territory, unless she’d drastically adjusted her diet in a couple of years.

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I’d welcome any guesses. Also, this trailer is considerably more colorful than the last one, which is kind of a relief.

Update: It just keeps coming! We have two new images and some details about Fallen Kingdom’s plot!

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This scene, where Claire and Justice Smith get stared down by a Baryonyx, appears to take place in some kind of maintenance room or geothermal station (which would explain the lava pouring down) instead of in an underground dinosaur habitat like I’d previously thought. They don’t appear to have any kind of capture gear in place, so they probably didn’t lure Baryonyx down there on purpose; I’m guessing they’re grabbing important documents from Jurassic World before the island goes kablooey, and I’d venture to guess that there’s something filed away in the park that could incriminate Henry Wu for collaborating with Vic Hoskins. There’s a chance that this is the maintenance shed from the first movie, too, although I’m not sure what they’d be doing down there.

Now that we have a better look at the overall Baryonyx design, I have to say I’m a little disappointed, at least for now. The lighting isn’t too great in this shot, so I can’t judge entirely, but what we’re seeing here doesn’t look like the official design from the JW website, which I liked a lot.

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I think I can see a little glimmer of blue near her eye, but I don’t see a crest on her head, feathers on her arms, or any of those intricate spots on her body. This Baryonyx isn’t necessarily the same one that we saw on the website, and this could even be a female Bary when the one from the site was a male (or vice versa), but I really hope this is changed in the final product. We’ve been waiting to see Baryonyx on the big screen for a long time, and they should really do it justice.

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The second shot is another picture of baby Blue! This looks a lot more like it’s set in a nursery, and I think the pieces are coming together a little better as to the identity of this adorable little thing. Judging by the chew toys in the background, the grate on the floor, and the concrete wall, this probably isn’t the old Visitor Center and the mural on the wall is just a tribute to the mural there. Unless Blue ended up having a baby in the most convenient place on the entire island, this is most likely a flashback scene– I’m hesitant to say anything for sure because of Owen’s clothes.

Alternatively, this could be something unrelated to the rescue mission. I have an idea brewing that has to do with my previous statement that someone probably brought Rexy back from the island before Owen and Claire. I think it’s not out of the realm of possibility that someone extracted Blue’s DNA or otherwise got it from a vault or something (hopefully while she’s still alive) and that what we’re seeing here is actually Blue’s clone. I think it’s also possible that Blue’s DNA is being used as the template for raptors that are cloned specifically for use in the military, and maybe the military were even the ones who grabbed Rexy and Blue’s DNA; Claire and Owen might have broken into some kind of military storehouse in this scene, as well as the scene with Rexy in the truck. If humans, either Claire and Owen’s team or the military or someone else, cloned this little raptor and raised her from birth, it would certainly explain why she’s so fast to cozy up to Owen. Speaking of the Rexy scene, by the way, here’s an extended teaser showing the beautiful animatronic used in that scene:

I’m not such a fan of the CGI on baby Blue’s tail (I know it’ll be fixed, just like the Jurassic World CGI was fixed between its trailer and the final film) but I love the effects used in this teaser. Measuring up to the effects used for Rexy in the first movie is a lofty goal but this is certainly on its way there. We’ve seen other dinosaurs in trucks from leaked set photos, including a triceratops (captured by the same people who got Rexy, I would assume) so there are at least two confirmed animatronics being used in the movie. Let’s hope that’s a trend that continues.

Finally, from Entertainment Weekly, we have a glimpse at Fallen Kingdom’s plot!

“Claire’s founded an organization, Dinosaur Protection Group, and they’re finding a way to get these dinosaurs off the island. She reaches out to Owen Grady to let him know this is happening. When you see them at the beginning of this story, you get caught up as to what’s going on, but it’s not what you would necessarily expect.”

I guess Claire and Owen didn’t stick together for survival after all, then, although they’re obviously still in some kind of contact. Maybe they found out that a relationship based primarily on adrenaline-fueled kisses and escaping death wasn’t liable to last long. Also, Claire is now the head of an animal rights guerrilla group, which is hilariously far from her character at the beginning of JW, and yet completely fitting for her as well. Claire’s a natural leader and organizer, and she’s determined in whatever she does, so if she wants to save some dinosaurs, she is gonna save some dinosaurs. I’d previously thought that the Nublar rescue mission was to primarily rescue Blue and maybe Rexy, but apparently it’s for all the dinosaurs they can find. Unless they’re saving dinos just for animal rights reasons, it would make sense that the group would transport them from Nublar to save them from the clutches of the military or whoever else is getting their filthy paws all over the park’s previous attractions. Also, since the Dinosaur Protection Group was founded before this mission, Claire is probably doing advocacy work against abuse of dinosaurs in whatever they’re being used for on the mainland. Maybe she’s even leading protests against the very thing she used to be in charge of. I’m glad to be able to say this again: you go, Claire!

Again, thanks a million to Jurassic Park Outpost for the photos.

First Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Footage

After this long of a wait for Fallen Kingdom news, I thought that Trevorrow and company really owed us. The trailer (still to come) or whatever else they dropped on us after months upon months of radio silence had better be worth the wait. “Cherish the silence, it’s about to get loud,” he said on Twitter. And it just did get loud. From the sound of me screaming.

In what may be a flashback scene, baby Blue (if it is baby Blue; we’ll discuss that in a moment) is cozying up to Owen, possibly for the first time. At first glance, my guess is that Owen has been imprinting on the Raptor Squad since they were born, but this is the first time Blue has ever seriously bonded with him on her own; considering her special bond with Owen in Jurassic World, she’s likely to be the first of the squad to do so. It’s hard to tell exactly how old she is, but she still looks like a fairly young hatchling. The background seems to indicate that they’re in a jungle, but it looks pretty flat to me, almost as if it’s the painted wall of a lab or nursery, which would make sense considering the raptor enclosure probably wasn’t completely constructed when the Squad was so little. Matheus Manacez made an interesting comparison about the background (look at the tree):

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Some people on Twitter, Matheus included, believe that the background here being so close to the one in the visitor’s center means that the baby we’re seeing here is actually Blue’s child, who’s living in the ruins of the old Center; the lighting, which seems to be sunlight, would also make sense if this were true. This is further supported by comparing Owen’s outfit here to his outfit in set photos:

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They look pretty similar, besides the glove on Owen’s arm. Plot-wise, Owen meeting Blue’s baby in the old Visitor’s Center would be a touching tribute to the original trilogy, especially if it comes shortly before the entire island goes kablooey. If Blue is dead– and I seriously hope she doesn’t die, but considering Bayona’s treatment of everything else from previous movies that we hold dear, it’s possible– it would also fit in with the theme of the destruction of the old and a creation of a new generation, as the team is doing with the series as a whole.

The part of this that surprised me the most was that Blue isn’t being timid at all, she’s chattering at Owen in raptor language and actively leaning in to be petted (and snorting happily when he scratches her chin. Guys, I’m trying really hard to be professional about this). If this is indeed a young Blue, she’s clearly already accepted Owen as her mother figure, so this might just be the first time she ever says “hey, you’re my mom and I want attention” to him, which probably feels like a huge breakthrough to him and just a developmental stage to her. If it’s Blue Junior we’re seeing, that behavior makes a bit less sense, considering that she’s never met a human before in her life. She’d probably only approach Owen if her mom encouraged her to, gently bumping her towards him with her snout (I’m really trying here). I guess a baby raised with raptors and not much else (I’m assuming that Blue would raise her in the safety of the Center, away from predators and large herbivores) wouldn’t exactly hate a human, but she probably wouldn’t make the first move towards one either, and I think that the baby’s willingness to get so close to Owen and seem so happy while doing so is probably the only thing that makes me doubt the Blue Jr. theory. Unless Owen is just using his Raptor Whisperer talents on her, in which case it would make a lot more sense.

So in other words, I think it’s most likely that Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s first official footage is showing the hopefully-alive Blue’s baby meeting her… grandpa? Uncle? Godfather?… for the first time, and being surprisingly happy and trusting about it. Needless to say, not only is this an intriguing addition to what we know about the Fallen Kingdom story, it’s also the cutest thing I’ve seen in a long time. We can only hope that this sequence in the movie isn’t a repeat of the petting zoo scene in Jurassic World– i.e. it shows more than 6 seconds of baby dinosaurs, and we see part of it in the movie that we didn’t already see in the trailer– and that this adorable baby, whether it’s the original Blue or a sequel, makes it to the end of the movie unscathed by lava. Also, I would like to point out that the leather bit on Owen’s arm looked to me at first glance like a falconer’s glove, suggesting that Owen encourages baby dinosaurs to sit on his forearm like falcons. This is an important concept and I stress that it should be expressed in fan art as soon as possible.

Claire at the Museum

On our way to a convention in Atlanta the other day, my dad and I took a quick stop at the Fernbank Museum, which I wouldn’t exactly endorse but which I probably shouldn’t trash-talk after I got some very nice pictures there. Luckily I had my Claire outfit on, and what resulted was probably my favorite cosplay photo shoot that I’ve ever done. Take a look:

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I’ve always wanted to do a JP cosplay shoot at a museum, and I’m really happy that I did and that I got to share it with you! I took some more pictures of me as Claire and Kylo Ren at the convention; you can see them on my tumblr.

Familiar Places and Weird New Faces

I gave this warning a few posts ago, but I’ll give it again. This post contains set photos, leaks and possible spoilers for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. You have been warned.

Jurassic Outpost and Reel News Hawaii are a blessing to this fandom; they’re solely responsible for giving us a ton of news about what was happening on the JW2 set before filming recently wrapped. The photos I use in this post can be credited to them; if anyone wants to correct me on my sources, please feel free to do so. And there have been a ton of photos lately. I’ll show the least spoiler-y ones first: Claire and Owen’s costumes!

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Justice Smith’s character Clint is with them in the second photo.

Those are just my favorites; you can see many more here. As you can see, Claire and Owen are on a beach off of Nublar, washing up on the shore (and holding hands! I honestly hope they start the movie in an established relationship, if only for the sake of the movie focusing on its plot instead of a romance). In another photo, Franklin washes up with them:

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According to Reel News Hawaii, the four of them are “washing up on a beach bound for East Dock before it’s destroyed”. If you weren’t aware, there have been a ton of explosions and pyrotechnics effects on the movie’s set in Hawaii, meaning that Isla Nublar or at least a large part of it is going to go kaboom. With this in mind, the context of the “rescue operation” to Nublar changes a lot. Lava seems to be a large part of the island’s destruction, but will the rest of it be caused by humans? If so, is Claire and Owen’s rescue team going there to save as many dinosaurs as possible before they’re torched– and if they are, why would they do that if they knew that any dinosaurs taken to the mainland would be used for things like the military or experimentation? Maybe they’re going back just to rescue Blue? Maybe those on the rescue team are actually the ones responsible for blowing the island up, in an attempt to keep further dinosaur cloning technology away from those who’d use it for sinister purposes? Or someone just knocks over a can of gasoline in the wrong part of the island, and what happens happens? It’s honestly pretty frustrating having all these pieces of the puzzle but not knowing enough about the film’s plot to put them together, but enough new information has been coming together lately that I’m sure we’ll be able to put them in place soon enough.

The costumes themselves are pretty unremarkable in my opinion, unless their color-coordinated outfits are somehow the uniform of the rescue team going to Nublar, in which case I love them. (Especially because of the implication that Claire and Owen decided everyone needed to look cool if they were about to go do some badass dinosaur-rescuing, and then they proceeded to sit down and have a meeting about their uniforms and/or code names.) However, Owen is still wearing his iconic vest, and Claire has another set of practical footwear. That’s all they really need, and I’m happy for them. The fact that they’re washing up on shore in the scene that this depicts also really excites me; not only because it’s happening near the East Dock, which we know will be a prominent location in this movie, but because they were out on a boat in the ocean next to Nublar, and they appear to be worn out, possibly from frantically swimming away from something. And what could possibly be in the waters off the island that someone would wear themselves out trying to escape? That’s right, folks…

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*wicked guitar riff*

We have absolutely no confirmation or anything from the set that would possibly suggest the Mosasaur’s return, but she was a fan favorite in JW and didn’t get much screen time in it, so it would make perfect sense if Trevorrow wanted to do more with her. An underwater chase sequence with a giant prehistoric monster would really go with the horror vibe of the whole movie, and again, it would really explain why the rescue team is washed up on shore, looking happy to be alive.

Speaking of familiar locations like the East Dock returning, take a look at what else we’ll be seeing again:

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I said in my last post that I’m hyped to be seeing the ruins of Jurassic World, and I see I won’t be disappointed. The lack of anything around this little part of Main Street suggests that there won’t be a lot of time spent there, but just getting to see it at all will be awesome. It’d be even better if there were little compsongnathuses scurrying around the ruins and dimorphodons building nests in the buildings’ rafters; again, I really want to see how the ecosystem of the island has developed in the years it’s been abandoned. As I’ve mentioned previously, I think the Lost World novel is a good probable basis (Bayona and Trevorrow have said that the basis for this movie is Crichton’s works) for how the dinosaurs have adjusted to being left alone– the overall ecosystem probably isn’t doing too great. In the novel, a large part of what made Sorna’s environment fail was that the predator-prey balance was all out of whack due to way too many carnivorous dinosaurs being born. That’s definitely the case here, too, because of how many of the park’s attractions were natural predators. In the book, an indicator of the ecosystem’s unhealthiness was a large amount of dead sauropods, way more than there should have been, and we’re definitely seeing that on Nublar too:

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In other words, even if the island wasn’t blown to smithereens or fried with lava, its inhabitants probably would’ve died out by themselves before long anyway. Isla Nublar is undoubtedly doomed. As awfully depressing as that is, it’s what Crichton wrote and it’s dark, so it fits perfectly with the way Fallen Kingdom has been described. Are you sad enough yet? No? Well, take a look at this:

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As I said many times on Twitter last night, this is not at all what I expected for the continuation of Rexy’s story, and I would’ve liked it much better if the end of JW was the last time we ever saw her– that way we could always remember her as the triumphant queen of the island once again. It was confirmed a long time ago that we’d see her again in this movie, but I’d hoped that it would just be a quick glimpse of her being as happy as she was at the end of the last movie; maybe Claire and Owen would happen to see her walk by, and they’d share a somber little moment of understanding with her as she went on her way. But, as Sickle_Claw pointed out to me, if that happened in this movie, Rexy’s story would end in lava and/or an explosion, which nobody wants to see happen.

But it’s not like any of that matters now, because we know the next chapter of everyone’s favorite T. rex’s life involves being stuck in a transport truck like the mother rex from TLW, and almost certainly being taken to the mainland. We can only hope that an old dinosaur who tried her best to take down the Indominus will be treated with respect once she gets wherever she’s being taken, but somehow I don’t think that’s what JA “literally burning the first and fourth movies to the ground” Bayona has in mind for her or any other dinosaur. At this point, I’m really just hoping she makes it to the end of this movie alive, or at least meets a dignified end, since it’s not like she’ll have an island to go back to by the end of all of this.

Boy, all of this is really sad. Let’s take a minute to go back to what we loved so much during the lead-up to the first JW movie: wild speculation about what crazy new dinosaurs are about to be recklessly thrown into the franchise.

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Amblin and Mattel recently trademarked the name Indoraptor– this could just be the name of a new hybrid toy, but some fans are speculating that it could show up in the movie. A large, dangerous, extremely intelligent hybrid like an I. rex with a velociraptor (although it makes little sense, because the Indominus is already basically just a huge, extra-smart raptor) would certainly be a lot of use to the military. Personally, I don’t think that it’s anything to get too worked up about. Trevorrow is surely just as aware as the rest of us that an even bigger, even scarier version of the Indominus as Fallen Kingdom’s villain is taking things into Godzilla-movie territory, and the horror of the movie will be based around things like animal exploitation, instead of yet another big scary dinosaur chasing everybody. And there are all kinds of other hybrids in the toy lines that will (hopefully) never show up in the movies, like Carnoraptor and Pteromimus.

After the image above was tweeted, Jurassic Outpost wondered if that animatronic in the cage was in fact the mysterious Indoraptor. It would make sense if that were true, since it looks almost entirely like an Indominus save for its dark skin. Personally, I think that what we’re seeing there is a variation on the Indominus, probably created by a corporation or the military, and its skin has just been modified for their purposes. This could also be some kind of flashback to when the park was still operational, and/or it could be showing Indy or a clone of her camouflaging. It could even be a statue in Lockwood’s mansion, although I have no idea why he’d have something like that on display. Whatever that dinosaur is, I think it’s safe to say that it’s most likely not the Indoraptor, and I’m intrigued to see what it really is.

Stay tuned for more Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom updates!

My Jurassic June Project

Yesterday was the end of the month-long fandom celebration known as Jurassic June. My tribute to the Jurassic Park series was to post some JP toy photography every day for the whole month. Below I’ve gathered the entirety of the project; the photos are numbered by the day, because sometimes I posted sets of photos instead of individual ones. Enjoy!

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“Easy folks, she’s just a hatchling. Stand down, Echo.”

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Everybody’s gotta play sometimes!

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A herd of Ians rests in the shade on a hot day.
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These gentle, skittish creatures are quick to scatter when a predator appears.

11. (Jurassic Park’s 24th anniversary)

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18. (Fathers’ Day)

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Who’s she supposed to listen to?

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Their DNA was hybridized, but their love was pure.

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2 Jurassic 2 Furious: This Time it’s Personal

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They figured out a compromise on the “babies” thing.

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I hope all of you had as much of a fun Jurassic June as I did, and I can’t wait for next year. In the meantime, let’s do #JeffJuly again– we’ve got plenty of Ian Malcolm to look forward to!

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

So it wasn’t Ancient Futures after all! They pulled an Ebb Tide on us! Ladies and gentlemen, our very first JW sequel poster:

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I’m pretty meh on the title– I liked Ancient Futures more, it evokes the theme of dinosaurs being used as modern technology better than this does– but if the movie is as dark and despondent as we’ve been led to believe so far that it is, this title fits that mood. The logo went the same way as The Lost World did, taking a familiar image and just cracking it up a bit; Bayona has said many times that he’ll go in a new direction with the series, but could this mirroring of the original trilogy be a sign of his intent to stay true to the franchise’s roots? That choice also nicely hints at the ruins of what was Jurassic World, which it’s been confirmed that we’ll see, so that’s exciting. I really love the embers flying up, too, like we’re watching Jurassic World burning to the ground so that a new era can begin. I know I’m reading too much into a simple teaser poster, but it’s really effectively done.

And, of course, the tagline and most-quoted line from the first movie (aside from “you were so preoccupied with whether or not you could…”, and although I love those lines and the character who said them, I really hope he doesn’t say them again in this new movie, because we already have enough people reciting them in hopes of sounding smart)– Life Finds A Way. So… is this a Jurassic World teaser, or just a somewhat subtle way of getting us hyped up for Ian Malcolm: The Motion Picture? Did the production team witness the Internet explosion when Goldblum’s return was announced, and did they decide that their best move was to put all the PR on Malcolm? Will we have to wait for Trevorrow and co. to give us only little peeks at Malcolm bit by bit and week by week, like we had to with the Indominus Rex? Or, more accurately, will a picture of Malcolm’s full costume and smug smirk be leaked to the fandom via a seemingly inconsequential piece of merchandise, causing a riot within the fandom that I still find utterly hilarious years afterward? We’ll have to wait for answers to all of that, but for now, we have a very cool poster, a director who obviously had a lot of fun taking a sledgehammer to the JW logo, and a lot of Malcolm to be excited about. Maybe there’ll even be a dinosaur or two in Ian’s new movie.

Did I say maybe? Because there will be. There will be new kinds of dinos in Fallen Kingdom as well as familiar ones, and we’ve gotten a look at the latter:

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The incredible people at Reel News Hawaii brought us these photos of practical-effect dinosaurs; the beasts are stationary, not animatronics, but they’re beautifully detailed and probably headed off to a really nasty fate in the movie. My first thought when I saw that trike in the transport truck was that it was going off to be experimented on somewhere. That’s not necessarily true, but it’d go with the animal-rights theme of the movie if it were. The animal might also be getting transported off of Isla Nublar in the wake of the Jurassic World Incident, or it could even just be going down the highway next to someone’s car on the mainland– what an awesome way that would be to establish how ingrained dinosaurs have become into society in this universe. The stego looks a lot freer and happier, so maybe he’s just wandering around Nublar with his herd and has no intention of being brought to San Francisco to work in a factory.

Come to think of it, I’m pretty interested in what happened to the animals in JW after the Incident. Obviously the place didn’t get firebombed like in the first novel, and since the cloning technology for dinosaurs still exists and it’d be pretty hard to round up all of JW’s exhibits and domesticate them, it would make little sense for all of the dinosaurs we saw in the last movie to be in the army and having makeup tested on them in this movie. The logical answer is that the island and all its inhabitants were just left to do their own thing, like Hammond would’ve wanted– but then what need would there be to return to Nublar, as this movie will? And if that truck really is taking that triceratops off the island, then why? I’m also excited to see what the environment of Nublar is like if the dinosaurs there were allowed to live on their own. Specifically, in the second novel, all the dinosaurs were artificially created and kept in enclosures, and when the park holding them was abandoned, the ecosystem became extremely unhealthy and doomed to failure; will the same thing happen on Nublar? It’d be an intelligent but bleak reference to Crichton’s work if the former Jurassic World collapsed just like Isla Sorna did, and “intelligent but bleak” seems like exactly the vibe Fallen Kingdom is going for.

Reel News Hawaii also published set photos, both of a beaten-up Owen (considering the amount of pyrotechnics that are being used during filming, it’s not at all surprising that he seems to be a bit charred)…

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and of our first peek at Claire!

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Wow, she’s a lot more practical in this one, wearing jeans and an army jacket, and boots! Actual running shoes! Good for you, Claire! She also appears to be riding in a fairly undamaged Gyrosphere; I can already see that this will probably be a bittersweet moment in the movie, the park’s former operations manager riding through the ruins of the park she used to work so hard to maintain. Hopefully the slow pace of the Gyrosphere will also give us a chance to get a more scenic and thorough look at the ruins of the park and the state of the island’s ecosystem. Honestly, besides Goldblum and the return of my beloved Rexy, seeing the ruins of Jurassic World is the part of Fallen Kingdom that I’m the most excited for. The plot seems exciting, of course, but I am all about those abandoned theme parks.

And finally, speaking of ruining Jurassic World, take a gander at this:

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Jurassic Outpost assures that this has no relation to the new movie, but dinosaurs in the military in JW2 has been confirmed, so there might be a bit of commonality between the two. Remember after the announcement that trained raptors would be in Jurassic World, when everyone went ballistic about the idea of dinosaurs being used as trained soldiers? Well, take a glimpse into the hellscape of an alternate reality where that actually happened. Yeah, dinosaurs in robot suits are cool in principle, but in a classic adult franchise like JP, seeing things like that badly-photoshopped underwear decal on the big screen would just come off as ridiculous. If this is the merchandise line that we get between now and Mattel’s classic JP line, then eh, I guess it’s a pretty solid way to garner some money to fund good CGI, and kids will probably eat it up. Even I might buy a toy of that raptor with arctic armor if one gets made. It had just better stay away from the movies, and away from that poor triceratops in the truck. The poor thing looks like it’s been through more than enough already.

I’d like to take a moment to sincerely thank you, my readers, for sticking with this blog even through my unannounced, two-month hiatuses. Your support gives me a reason to keep writing, and I truly appreciate every one of you. Also, there’s only about a week left in Jurassic June, so create some art and show your JP appreciation! I have an ongoing photography project that I’ve been posting to my various accounts, but I’ll share all of it on here at the end of the month.

A Football-Field Sized Load of News

 

Important notice: from today onwards, every Jurassic World 2 news-centered post that I write will most likely contain at least one spoiler, or speculation that could be considered spoilers. If avoiding spoilers for this movie is a concern for you, go no further.

Boy, have I been neglecting Jurassic World 2 news. Part of it is that it’s been coming in small bits that wouldn’t warrant entire posts, and part of it is that college is doing its absolute best to kill me with work. In any case, here’s one big update on what we know about JW2 so far.

As you may have seen from last night’s post and/or my participation on Twitter in what I’ve come to call the Blumpocalypse, the casting that I’m most excited for is that Jeff Goldblum will be returning to the movie to reprise his role as Ian Malcolm! I’ll get to that in a little bit. Some others who have been cast in the movie are Daniella Pineda from The Detour, Ted Levine from Silence of the Lambs, Rafe Spall from Prometheus, Toby Jones from the Captain America series and Geraldine Chaplin from Nashville; I sincerely hope Geraldine isn’t there to play Ian’s love interest or wife (especially since she’s a very capable actress and deserves a better role than that) but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Another casting is James Cromwell, who will be playing “Benjamin Lockwood”, who apparently was Hammond’s business partner and helped him develop the dinosaur-cloning technology. That’s pretty intriguing and shows us that, despite the production team’s insistence that this movie will go in a different direction and won’t be like the rest of the movies, not taking place on an island etc. (which isn’t entirely true– despite the overall tone of the movie, filming is taking place in Hawaii and Rexy will definitely make another appearance, so I think it’s safe to say we’ll see Nublar at some point) they’re really looking to connect this movie with the first JP by bringing back an original-trilogy character and someone connected to another original-trilogy character. Whether that’s because the theme of this movie has a lot to do with that of the first movie or if it’s just because of the movie’s goal of “reintroducing the franchise to a new generation” as well as drawing in audiences with nostalgia, it’ll be a delicate thing to pull off. Hopefully it’ll come across as a “ties to the original trilogy without exploiting it” type of thing, like The Force Awakens, instead of just blatant cashing in on nostalgia. Trevorrow and Spielberg pulled that off wonderfully in the first movie, so I definitely trust them to do it with this one.

And speaking of the movie’s theme, here’s a very interesting quote from Trevorrow:

“The dinosaurs will be a parable of the treatment animals receive today: the abuse, medical experimentation, pets, having wild animals in zoos like prisons, the use the military has made of them, animals as weapons. The second part will be a very different, more complex movie that will explore new paths. For that reason, it was clear that it needed to be Bayona who would direct it, in order to have it grow and evolve with his very personal vision.”

So we’ll definitely have a plot centering around dinosaurs on the mainland, at least for the first half of the movie! I have to say, I really wish they would focus more on world-building, showing what a society with dinosaurs in it would look like and how it would be different from the world today– showing its dark sides, of course, but also adding a touch of the magic and excitement that came with the part of Jurassic World where Zach and Grey explored the park and showed what it was generally like there. I’m sure the part of the movie being discussed here won’t just be a PETA (PETD? Ethical treatment of dinosaurs?) montage of dinosaurs suffering, it’ll be much more nuanced than that. And animal abuse and exploitation are most definitely issues that movies should address, and that a huge movie like this has the power to spur some real change with. It’s a noble goal and I have no doubt that Trevorrow, Bayona and his team will create a thoughtful movie that addresses the often-overlooked side effects of the idea of cloning dinosaurs (something particularly relevant now that de-extincting animals is being seriously looked into). I just personally don’t want to see my beloved dinosaurs being hurt and exploited, that’s all. I’m sure they’ll eat some people and get their revenge.

Now let’s take a look at some pictures of the film’s sets! The one we’ve seen the most of has been what I previously thought was a museum, but which Jurassic Outpost refers to as a mansion, most likely Benjamin Lockwood’s. We saw it already in this photo:

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Cromwell refers to it as “a football field sized set with real recreations of dinosaurs”, and obviously a lot of work has gone into it. Lockwood obviously cares a lot about dinosaurs (has he just been sitting there for 24 years, collecting dinosaurs and pondering the philosophy of the various dinosaur-related incidents? Considering most if not all of what happened was Hammond’s fault, I sure hope he isn’t too guilty about helping develop that cloning technology) and it seems likely that he’ll help do something about the rampant dino exploitation and abuse that’s probably happening all over the world. I think the photo above is from a scene where Lucy goes to draw Lockwood out of seclusion and get him to help with whatever dinosaur-rights cause she’s involved in, or whatever new disaster has just unfolded. In any case, we’ll be seeing a lot of this expensive-looking mansion set. Here’s another couple of peeks at it:

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Jurassic Outpost speculates that the dinosaur in the first image is a Metriacanthosaurus. At first glance I thought it was just a life-sized statue that was a part of Lockwood’s collection, but it’s also entirely possible that it’s our first look at the movie’s animatronics! It seems really unlikely to me that they’d painstakingly construct such a beautiful set and then not have at least one big dinosaur rampage through it, so maybe we’ll see Metriacanthosaurus and possibly a friend or two run around the mansion and knock down Lockwood’s precious collectibles. That or he keeps a giant carnivorous dinosaur as a pet, which honestly wouldn’t surprise me– every single person reading this would absolutely do the same thing if they were rich and lived in this universe. The second picture, captioned “Background tease” on Twitter, is also intriguing and could depict either life-sized statues or a couple of dinosaurs throwing hands (claws?) in the mansion. If it’s a storyboard involving a scene with animatronics, this is a major spoiler and likely shows an Indominus vs. Spinosaurus battle which, in my opinion, is kind of a cheesy thing to do unless it’s the climax of the movie and a lot of good context has led up to it. With all the talk of how different this sequel will be from the rest of the movies, I think it deserves a better ending than just “here’s two big dinosaurs, let’s watch them fight”, which Jurassic World pulled off with style but which has the potential to turn very B-movie very fast. Again, I trust the production team not to do anything stupid, and I also sincerely doubt they’d just throw up a huge spoiler like that, especially so early in production. I’m sure we’ll see more and more of the mansion set in the coming months, so we’ll see whether the animals in those pictures are “real” dinos or just oversized collectible figures.

Far away from the mansion, another set is being built in Hawaii, in an area that was shown in both the first movie and Jurassic World:

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It’s too early in its construction to tell for sure what the structure is, but my personal guess is that it’ll be used to hold and/or capture Rexy. That’s just my idea, though, and I’m really excited for the Queen of Nublar’s return, so I’m kinda seeing what I want to see. Another interesting set piece is a transport truck outside London with a dino-sized cage on top of it:

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Again, according to my own wishful thinking, this might be a vehicle that carries Rexy to the mainland, or some other dinosaur around for a company or something. There’s not too much else that can be inferred from a transport truck, but I’m sure it’ll be part of an interesting scene.

Last but certainly not least, we have the first footage from the film’s set! Two clips have emerged, both involving a helicopter ride at night. The first one shows the helicopter taking off:

And the second shows the journey’s abrupt and rather unpleasant end, as it hangs precariously from a branch during a thunderstorm:

The first place everyone’s mind went to when they saw this was that Henry Wu’s helicopter ride from the end of Jurassic World didn’t go as planned. It’s also entirely possible that this isn’t the case, because for companies and the military to get a hold of dinosaur cloning technology and the necessary genomes for it, somebody had to have delivered them the materials for it, and the only people who we saw headed off the island with that material was Henry Wu and his team. Also, the helicopter is seen here taking off from a distinctly non-Nublar location, so it might have nothing to do with Wu at all. Although it could be argued that Wu might deserve to get his helicopter crashed and then be picked off by a dinosaur because of his conspiracy with Hoskins and subsequent role in creating the environment that allowed all of that dinosaur abuse to happen, it doesn’t seem to me like that’s what’ll happen to him.

Those two bits of footage, the set photos, and whatever the production team and cast decide to grace us with on social media are all the concrete details we have so far on the movie. Aside from waiting for details to come from the studio bit by bit, the only other way we have to find out more about the movie is fan investigation by people who happen to be near the many filming locations. Of course, Universal Pictures doesn’t want leaks, and we should respect that by not covertly going near sets and taking whatever photos or videos we can. To be clear, I am absolutely not endorsing that Jurassic Park fans near Langley Business Center in Slough, England, Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales, Kaui in Hawaii, or Pinewood Studios in England should find their way near sets and wait with a cell phone camera for even a tiny detail that would benefit the fandom greatly. Indeed, it would be a terrible tragedy if someone in one of those places answered a casting call for extras and reported what they saw and heard, especially to me as a scoop for my blog. I sure would hate to go against Universal’s wishes by encouraging people to go out and find out whatever they can about this movie we’re anticipating so much, so don’t do it, guys.

Now that I’ve discussed all the other news, a word about the speculation that’s kept me awake and hyperactive for almost 12 hours now: the return of Ian Malcolm. I and many others have wanted this to happen for a long time, but I never thought it would actually happen. The dream came true last night, though, so it’s time to kick off more than a year of anticipation by making some predictions about Ian’s role in the new movie. I think we can take it as a matter of fact that Ian’s probably opposed to this whole “dinosaurs on the mainland” thing; at the very least I think he’ll be there as one of the people who’s seen plenty of disasters or problems like the one that’ll likely unfold in the movie, and who can provide advice and warnings– again, like Han Solo in Force Awakens. (I will be quite upset if he dies, but hopefully he won’t and it’s too early to worry about that anyway.) It’s also possible that he’ll be a dinosaur rights activist, either having done it ever since the animals started being used in industry or spurred into it by other characters. (I’ve wanted to write a story about him being a DRA for a while now, and maybe this will be my encouragement to do it.) I really hope they don’t just have him there as a grumpy old man who delivers dire warnings to the characters before withdrawing back into whatever mental state he’s in after all that the Jurassic World incident and subsequent stuff put him through. Probably nobody could pay him enough to be involved in whatever part of the plot involves going back to Nublar, so most of what he does will likely involve the mainland and the dinos on it, and hopefully he won’t get attacked by any more dinosaurs while he’s there– the poor guy’s been through enough. Personally, I hope we get to see the details of how he’s doing these days, whether he got his tenure back or retired, and whether he used the cash he’s probably swimming in from book sales and public appearances to buy a mansion. More than anything, I really just want this movie to show Ian having a happy life, even if only at the beginning. I genuinely care about him a lot, and after all he’s been through, he deserves some peace. I’m not saying he’ll necessarily get it, but I hope he does.

I sincerely think that at least part of the reason that this movie is bringing Ian back is because he’s related to one of the new characters, most likely as one of their fathers. I’ve said before that Justice Smith looks a lot like a young Ian, and Daniela Pineda looks about the right age to have been a child in 1993. Having an old-trilogy character’s kid be a protagonist in the sequel is a pretty kid-movie thing to do, but it would certainly fit in with the theme of tying this movie to the first one with characters, as well as in reviving Jurassic Park for a new generation. It would also fill the classic Jurassic Park requirement of having some kind of dysfunctional family dynamic in the movie if Ian and one of his estranged kids were on an adventure together (again). The idea is just speculation at this point, but it seems pretty likely to me. A lot of people in the fandom think that Lowery is Ian’s kid because of his echoing of Ian’s philosophy and his similar looks, but since Jake Johnson has been confirmed not to be in this movie, that probably won’t be confirmed aside from a passing mention if it’s true at all. It’s also possible that Lucy is his daughter or granddaughter, but I’m starting to wonder if she has some kind of relation to Hammond or Lockwood. In casting calls for the part, her exact age was very important, so I’m thinking that she was born at a very certain time on the movies’ timeline, possibly meaning she has to do with another important character. I kind of doubt that Ian would let any kid of his have anything to do with Lockwood or dinosaurs, though, so unless she’s as rebellious and curious as Kelly, I think she probably isn’t a Malcolm.

As you may be able to tell, I’m really, really hyped for JW2 and the return of the chaotician I love so dearly. It looks like I’ll be updating more often as news rolls in, so stick around for more news about The Ian Malcolm Movie (And A Couple Dinosaurs Too)!