BySean Erickson, writer at
Exploring the area between movie geek and film nerd.
Sean Erickson

A Walk Through the Jurassic Past

[Jurassic World](movie:32752)'s origins go all the way back to 2002 when screenwriter William Moynahan (yes, he of The Departed and the recent The Gambler update) was tasked with writing the next installment. Things still seemed on track in 2004 with Stan Winston's crew beginning production design and filming set to begin in Hawaii.

But then something happened. John Sayles (yes, he of The Big Chill and Eight Men Out - but also classic b-movie fare like Alligator and Pirahna) was tapped for a re-write and suddenly everything was in question. Jurassic Park 3's Joe Johnston was no longer attached to direct and lead actors were no longer the likes of Jeff Goldblum but rather Jeremy Piven or David Boreanaz? What was going on?

Old Jurassic Park 4 concept art.
Old Jurassic Park 4 concept art.

That question was answered in the form of a leaked script of John Sayles' 2004 draft which featured a man hired to train human/dinosaur hybrids to perform rescue missions. As bonkers as that may sound the second draft, also subsequently leaked, still had gun-toting dinosaurs being trained by humans for mercenary jobs.

The fan response on the internet varied from unkind to vehemently opposed and so the re-writes continued through 2005 until Sayles' take on the material was officially scrapped.

Lost Jurassic 4 ideas could give kids nightmares!
Lost Jurassic 4 ideas could give kids nightmares!

Around 2006 Joe Johnston was back on board as writer and director and reports were indicating that production would begin after Spielberg wrapped up Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It was even stated as being developed as the beginning of a new trilogy. But more years passed and by 2008 the source material's author, Michael Crichton, passed away and the producers seemed less than hopeful.

It wasn't until the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con that signs of life began resurfacing. A new screenwriter, Mark Protosevich (more famous for his un-produced screenplays for Batman and Mass Effect than I Am Legend or The Cell) was brought on board to come up with new ideas but by 2012 the reins were being handed over to the team behind The Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

How To Train Your Dinosaur

Finally, after over ten years of development, the project landed in the lap of the least expected writer/director. Colin Trevorrow released a small romantic comedy with a sci-fi spin called Safety Not Guaranteed in 2012 and by March of 2013 he was anointed as The One to carry the Jurassic torch onward and upward.

Raptor Squad assemble!
Raptor Squad assemble!

Now, after all this, you would think little in the way of plot from the gun-toting-dinosaur-mercenary days would remain. As it turns out, one of Sayles' creations, the Indominous Rex - a dino with a splash of human DNA added, features prominently in the film.

Perhaps they're not being trained to go on rescue missions but from what we've seen from the first trailer it appears some of the dinosaurs have learned a thing or two in the 10+ years that have passed since the last film. And this quote from Trevorrow is further evidence that those initial ideas were considered and didn't completely disappear:

"Chris Pratt’s character is doing behavioral research on the raptors. They aren’t trained, they can’t do tricks. He’s just trying to figure out the limits of the relationship between these highly intelligent creatures and human beings."

While we've yet to get a good look at ol' Indominous from the first trailer, there's hope that in a few weeks, with the premiere of the second trailer during the Super Bowl, we'll have a peak at [Jurassic World](movie:32752)'s main beasty.

In the meantime: LEGOS!


Gun-wielding dinos, a good idea?


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