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:
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:
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:
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:
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)!