The long-awaited return to the land of the dinosaurs is finally coming on June 12th with the release of Jurassic World. Fourteen years have elapsed since the release of the last film in the series, Jurassic Park III, and frankly, we’re ready for a return to the titular theme park. Starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, Jurassic World is poised to be one of the biggest hits of the summer. Like us, you probably want to know a few things about this new blockbuster; in particular, why did we have to wait so long for it? We’ve gathered 10 such factoids about Jurassic World that you might not have been aware of.
10. It Originally Wasn’t Set On An Island
In the very early stages of Jurassic World‘s development, the vision of what the film would be looked a lot different from the finished work. After Jurassic Park III was released in 2001, the film’s director Joe Johnston expressed his belief that the next entry in the franchise — referred to as Jurassic Park IV at the time — wouldn’t be set on an island, seeing the next film as a departure from the previous three. Fourteen years of development hell sure changed that idea, as Jurassic World is not only set on an island, it takes place in the very same setting as Jurassic Park!
9. The Early Draft Had Multiple Dinosaur Hybrids
Jurassic World is set to turn up the franchise’s scare factor with the introduction of the Indominus Rex, a hybrid killing machine designed by the park’s engineers to jump-start waning ticket sales. Director Colin Trevorrow revealed in an interview that an earlier version of the film’s script featured multiple hybrid dinosaurs, but the decision was made to only include one. Interestingly, this idea came from Trevorrow’s five year old son, who observed that in the original Star Wars films, the Jedi are significant and unique because Luke is the only one. Trevorrow applied this reasoning to Jurassic World‘s script, resulting in the inclusion of just one unique, deadly predator.
8. Production Was Delayed To Build Sets
Jurassic Park was a groundbreaking film for its time due to its special effects, which combined animatronic props and CGI to bring dinosaurs to life on the big screen. CGI has advanced considerably since 1993, so it seems fairly certain that Jurassic World‘s effects will look much better than the original film’s. As most big budget blockbusters tend to favor CGI over real props and sets nowadays, it could be assumed that Jurassic World would follow suit. Surprisingly though, many of the film’s sets were actually built by hand, to the point where production was delayed so that the sets could be assembled. Unfortunately, real dinosaurs weren’t available for use, so we’ll have to make do with a mix of animatronics and CGI yet again.
7. Unusual Aspect Ratio
A film’s aspect ratio refers to the proportional relationship between the picture’s width and height, a technical detail that most people would never give a second thought, but one that was actively considered when filming Jurassic World. A 2:00:1 ratio, which is close to that used with IMAX screens, was chosen so that humans and dinosaurs could both fit into a frame together while still maintaining the feel of an epic blockbuster movie. For reference, most films are presented in either 1:85:1 or 2:35:1, which should make Jurassic World a rather unique viewing experience from a technical standpoint.
6. Scientific Inaccuracies Controversy
Jurassic World generally received praise from the scientific community for portraying dinosaurs in a way thought accurate based on data available at the time. Quite a bit has changed in the world of paleontology in the intervening years, as it is now widely believed that many dinosaur species had bird-like feathers. As promotional material for the film has shown, the dinosaurs of Jurassic World do not have feathers, an oversight that has led scientists to criticize the film for failing to take new discoveries into account. Colin Trevorrow defended the decision, claiming that Jurassic World is a science-fiction film and not a documentary. It will be interesting to see if pressure from the scientific community will force the series to change its dinosaur designs going forward.
5. It Honors Sir Richard Attenborough
There were multiple suggestions in the intervening years between Jurassic Park III and Jurassic World that Sir Richard Attenborough, who played park creator John Hammond in Jurassic Park and its sequel The Lost World, would reprise his role for the new film. Once the film was put into production though, it became evident that Attenborough wasn’t healthy enough to join the project; sadly, he passed away in 2014. To its credit, Jurassic World pays service to the late actor by featuring a statue in the film dedicated to Hammond, who also passed away in the film’s canon. It’s a small, but significant tribute to a revered actor whose absence will be sorely missed.
4. Jurassic Park Is Open
Although each of the previous films in the franchise featured the word “park” in their titles, the actual Jurassic Park was only seen in the first film and has never actually been open to the public. Jurassic World, which ironically doesn’t contain “park” in its title, will be first film in the franchise to feature the titular park open for business. Having an amusement park filled with dinosaurs available to the public was the goal of creator John Hammond in the original film, but Jurassic World will be the first time we get to see this dream come to fruition…and how quickly it becomes a nightmare.
3. It’s Considered A Direct Sequel To Jurassic Park
It’s no coincidence that Jurassic World looks similar to Jurassic Park in many ways, as the film is actually framed as a direct sequel to that film. The film is set 22 years after the events of the original film and presents a Jurassic Park that has already been open to the public for many years. While The Lost World and Jurassic Park III are still part of the series’ canon, Colin Trevorrow has made no secret of the fact that he sees his film as a sequel to the original and that the other films are “placed to the side.” To be fair, if you’re going to try and emulate a film in the franchise, Steven Spielberg’s original is the way to go.
2. The Film Was Supposed to be Released A Decade Ago
For a franchise as successful as Jurassic Park, it’s incredible to think that it’s been fourteen years since the last film’s release. For a variety of reasons, Jurassic Park IV — the film that would eventually become Jurassic World — suffered through a long development hell with a revolving door of directors, writers, and actors attached at one time or another (there was even a point where Jeremy Piven and Emmy Rossum were in talks to play the film’s leads). There had been plans to release the film in 2005, but the script was ultimately scrapped because Steven Spielberg would not sign off on it. While the 2015 version of Jurassic World bears little resemblance to its early vision, Spielberg had been planning to include a scene featuring velociraptors and motorcycles — a scene that has been featured heavily in the film’s marketing.
1. B.D. Wong Is The Only Returning Cast Member
There was never a repeat cast across the original trilogy of Jurassic Park films, but actors like Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum are all quite synonymous with the series. Perplexingly, the only actor from any of the original films who is reprising their role in Jurassic World is B.D. Wong, who played Dr. Henry Wu in the first film. Considering that Wong only had a small part in that film, it seems odd that World’s producers would only bring back his character. However, Wong’s character happens to be a geneticist, which will surely make him important to the gene-splicing plot of Jurassic World. Still, we can’t help but feel like the film would be much better off if it had a Jeff Goldblum cameo hiding somewhere.