Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom centers on questions of animal rights, genetic power, war mongering, responsibility, and more. So, if you’re in the universe of Jurassic Park and want to talk about things like that, really there’s only one person you call: Dr. Ian Malcolm, played by Jeff Goldblum. And that’s exactly what co-writer and producer Colin Trevorrow did.
“I didn’t want to bring any character back that didn’t feel like they had an organic place in the story,” Trevorrow told io9. “With this film, we had this moral question and it felt like the person who would have a relative opinion would be the one who warned us all about this potential chaotic extinction event in the first place. So to have Ian Malcolm be a kind of Al Gore—who’s bearded, a little tired, and has been warning people for 30 years that the choices made in the ‘90s were going to come back and bite us some day and lead to an irrevocable change—felt very real and natural to me.”
A sequel to a movie that makes over $650 million domestic and another $1 billion internationally, of course, feels natural too. But coming out 14 years after the disappointing third film in the series, the first Jurassic World was never a sure thing. Still, Trevorrow and his writing partner Derek Connolly planned accordingly, roughly drafting a beginning, middle, and end for a new trilogy. “We knew where we wanted to go,” he said. “But we also didn’t have the presumptuousness or arrogance to assume we’d ever get a chance to do it. We wanted to make something that was complete unto itself and yet, if it felt like audiences would be down with hearing more about this story, we had a plan.”
Obviously, audiences were down and that plan was set into motion. However, a plan isn’t a script. Details, characters, and more all have to be carefully crafted. So as Trevorrow and Connolly set off to write what would eventually become Fallen Kingdom, they began with the big picture.
“We knew we didn’t want to continue to make movies about the dangers of messing with science,” Trevorrow said. “We wanted to tell a story about where we are now, which is that we have messed with science. We have fundamentally altered our world. And now we’re dealing with the consequences. We also wanted to make sure that both of our lead characters had a defined role and a set of responsibilities for the situation that had now developed on the planet.”
To explain how Fallen Kingdom deals with those ideas, among others, would mean getting into spoilers from late in the film. Early on in the film, though, yet another idea was developed, one that came to Trevorrow and Connelly through the writing process.
“Great scifi comes from a fundamental question, sometimes a social question, that could be debated if it ever really happened. The ‘What If,’” Trevorrow said. “Our ‘What if’ was, we created these creatures, do we have a responsibility to protect them or do we let them die? Without getting too heavy handed with the film, we felt there was a way we could have that kind of conversation in the context of something that can also be scary and fun.”
Another thing that’s scary and fun in Fallen Kingdom is something executive producer Steven Spielberg has been wanting to put in a Jurassic movie for a long time.
“[Spielberg] really loves the weaponized dinosaurs,” Trevorrow said. “That’s just his jam. And so in each one of these movies we have a conversation about where that storyline can go. Like, in the first film, I tended to see it as something best used as the pipe dream of a villain as opposed to anything that is active or supported by our heroes.”
That changed on Fallen Kingdom. Spielberg got his wish.
“It is inherently crazy as a concept,” Trevorrow continued. “And yet, as one of the characters in this film explains, animals have always been used in war: rats, elephants, horses. It just takes a certain level of assumption and acceptance that dinosaurs are considered animals, and I don’t think the whole planet in our film has come to that acceptance yet. They’re not every day. They’re still wondrous and rare. But I feel like these villains take them for granted and, to me, when it comes to dinosaurs, anyone who takes them for granted is a villain.”
We’ll see more of those wondrous creatures and evil villains in the as-yet-unsubtitled Jurassic World 3, which is out June 11, 2021. After J.A. Bayona took the directing reins for Fallen Kingdom, Trevorrow will once again direct and co-write, this time with Pacific Rim Uprising’s Emily Carmichael. And while Fallen Kingdom certainly offers strong hints as to what that film may entail, Trevorrow offered a much less spoilery one.
“My goal with this trilogy is to, when you reach the very end, have the very first line that Claire ever says, ‘No one is impressed by a dinosaur anymore,’ be proven completely false,” Trevorrow said. “That’s my goal.”
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom open June 22.