Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is now in theaters, and if you saw it this weekend, you probably have some questions. io9 recently spoke to director J.A. Bayona as well as co-writer and producer Colin Trevorrow, and they addressed a few of film’s lingering mysteries.
Arguably the biggest reveal in Fallen Kingdom is that Benjamin Lockwood, John Hammond’s original partner (more on him in a second), cloned his dead daughter and is pretending she’s his granddaughter. If you can de-extinct and clone dinosaurs, why not humans? Well, the reveal opens up a whole new set of issues and problems for the world of Jurassic—and that was exactly what co-writer and producer Colin Trevorrow was hoping for.
“We wanted to talk about the larger impact of genetic power and the potential human impact and the emotional impact of it,” Trevorrow said of the movie’s focus. “And we knew that we didn’t want to continue to make movies about the dangers of messing with science. We want to tell a story about where we are now, which is that we have we have messed with science, we have fundamentally altered our world and now we’re dealing with the consequences.”
Everyone knows that John Hammond is the father of Jurassic Park. He and his team were the ones who took DNA from mosquitos in amber to recreate dinosaurs. There were, of course, other people who worked to make that a reality, but in Fallen Kingdom, we meet someone whom we’re told was Hammond’s equal: Sir Benjamin Lockwood, played by James Cromwell. According to the film, Lockwood and Hammond worked together to extract the first DNA from a fossilized bug, but when Lockwood lost his daughter, he turned his attention to humans instead of dinosaurs. That choice drove a wedge between them, which is why we hadn’t heard of him before.
That’s a pretty adequate explanation for Lockwood’s absence, except for the fact everyone in this world knows him. He’s very rich and even more famous. So we asked Trevorrow where the character came from.
“It came from the book,” Trevorrow said. “That character isn’t in the book, but we went back and they do talk a lot about the early days when they first de-extincted a baby elephant. And we thought about, ‘Well, at that time, of course, there would be a silent partner. Of course, it would have been a lot of people involved.’ [Lockwood] would have been one of them. And it felt like opposed to doing a whole prequel, delving that deep into it, it seemed logical to both of us that there would be that kind of a history. You know so many things started in a basement or in a garage, even rich guys.”
Fallen Kingdom ends with a pretty solid idea of where the third film, coming out in 2021, will go: Dinosaurs are now out among the public... so what does that mean for the world? Trevorrow is co-writing the film with Emily Carmichael and directing as well, so we asked him what to expect.
“I think what’s very important and what could fall apart, if just dinosaurs [are] everywhere all the time,” he said. “I think any kind of global acceptance that they are just around doesn’t feel real to me because, even now when you think of animals, when was the last time you saw a tiger walking down the street? We know there are tigers. We know they’re out there. But to me, it’s very important that we keep this grounded in the context of our relationship with wild animals today.”
Trevorrow feels there’s “tremendous amount of opportunity” in the idea. “My goal with this trilogy is to, when you reach the very end, to have the very first line that Claire ever says, ‘No one is impressed by a dinosaur anymore,’ to be proven completely false. That’s my goal.”
Yes. In several commercials and trailers for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, there are shots of the Mosasaurus, which escapes in the film’s first scene, among a bunch of swimmers, and of the T-rex roaring at a lion. Both shots are from the very end of the movie and reveal that the dinosaurs are now out in the world. Trevorrow is not happy about it.
“It was very frustrating for me,” he said. “That’s a relationship that we have with marketing [and] there are a lot of different needs. I try to be very lucid and rational about it, [but] to speak frankly, there is a very, very small percentage of people who watch all the trailers. The rest of the world might only see one.”
Trevorrow thinks marketing chose to use those images because the Jurassic franchise is “constantly asked to prove the validity of its own existence with every movie that we make,” thus he feels the commercials need to “entice people to come back” more than some other franchises.
“Which, actually, is great,” he added. “It stops us from resting on our laurels or just assuming the audience is going to show up. The downside is it feels like marketing is constantly feeling the need to make the case. I would definitely have preferred those images not be seen, but, if you haven’t watched the trailers, just go see the film.”
On to a slightly geekier topic: Fans of the series might have noticed that the only time Fallen Kingdom uses the full-on, John Williams Jurassic Park theme is in the end credits. So we asked director J.A. Bayona how and why he, along with composer Michael Giachinno, chose to forgo the iconic music in the film.
“We talked a lot about when was the right moment to use the John Williams melody,” Bayona said. “It had to feel earnest. It had to feel honest and it had to be integrated into the Fallen Kingdom story. You can easily fall into this nostalgia thing [but] that seems like an empty thing. You need substance when you play a melody so popular and so emotional for the audience.”
The theme is used in the movie twice, both in very understated ways, which was very purposeful. “There’s a speech where Claire talks about the first time she saw a dinosaur and, in that moment, you hear the music that we heard the first time we saw a dinosaur, so it makes sense,” he said. “The same way when we put on screen the final moments of the island, it’s like the ending of a dream, [so] it makes sense to feel John Williams’ music played in a very different mood, in a very sad mood. But we were very careful not to pull into the nostalgia thing.”
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is in theaters now.