WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Jurassic World!
It's only been a week since the release of Jurassic World. The credits have barely stopped scrolling, and the bodies are still warm, but it's hard in today's world not to immediately wonder: what's next? I think I know.
As The Lost World and Jurassic Park III have shown us, making a sequel is no simple matter, especially when that sequel has no choice but to be massively different from the original.
Viewers wanted to watch a theme park get destroyed, see the zoo-keepers get eaten, and marvel at the absolute loss of control in an environment that assured you everything was safe. The sequel has to continue the notion that the theme park was a bad idea, but here's the problem:
The theme park was an awesome idea, and it's exactly what we all wanted to see.
If your movie ends by saying that the very thing we all want is unsustainable, then the follow-up to that story can't adhere to an important rule about sequels: it's the same, but different.
One of the main complaints that people make about sequels is usually that they are too similar to the original to be worth it, not enough is new. Well the Jurassic Park franchise has the opposite problem. Everything is too different, not enough is familiar.
Because the park was closed, and everyone agreed it was a bad idea, the only aspect of Jurassic Park that could be continued in it's sequels was the notion of dinosaurs existing together with man. As a result, they had to contrive reasons for them to come face to face. We couldn't revisit the thrills of dinosaur-themed rides or the optimistic pseudo-science of cloning, because we'd already destroyed all that. At best we could plop Jeff Goldblum on an island, this time an animal preserve, with too much talk about the ethics of creating an attraction out of living things. It was too sour, too bland, and most importantly, it was too different, it didn't hit the same exciting notes, and it marked the beginning of the decline that was continued by Jurassic Park III. The third entry almost completely abandoned that idea of even having much of a story at all! They seemingly realized that it was impossible to touch or even approach the original, so instead they just found an excuse to quickly get to Dinosaur Island, and almost as quickly, run off it.
Only the passage of time and the love of nostalgia allowed us to create a true sequel to Jurassic Park with Jurassic World. This movie so perfectly hit "it's the same, but different" by taking the theme park and finally opening it! Taking the pseudo-science and running wild with it by creating a wholly original dinosaur! It gets to do the impossible: it gets to be Jurassic Park, which is what we really wanted. We just wanted to do that exact thing again, see the colorful nonsense of Disney World get trampled by the attractions. And as a result, I predict we're going to have the same problem with sequels.
Now that Jurassic World is presumably closed, where do we go? Well, the movie sort of tells us. In what was presumably an effort made to set up potential sequels, we have geneticist Dr. Henry Woo frustratedly declare, "it was always me. I've been here from the beginning" (Not a direct quote, obviously)! He's last seen flying off the island in a helicopter, most likely travelling directly to the sequel. Could he eventually be our main human enemy? It was mentioned that he was secretly working with Vic Hoskins, the head of a militaristic security team, to create unknown new versions of dinosaurs, for the purposes of being sold as weapons. Hoskins even briefly gestures to a monitor that seems to display a super-sized version of a Tyrannosaurus Rex! Could we one day see a super-soldier-serum version of the crowd favorite? It seems inevitable.
Does this mean that in the sequel we will see the often-threatened story of dinosaurs being used for military purposes? Are we finally going to get a version of the notorious Dinosaurs-With-Guns story (see: Studio Rejects' podcasts about Jurassic Park 4)? I think it's likely. It's always seemed like a horrible idea, but I think if the same creative team behind Jurassic World is taking their stab at the story, it will be palatable, though certainly less appealing (or interesting) than their first effort, for all the same old reasons. But I think this disappointing movie could be the set up for the greatest finale possible.
By finally taking the dinosaurs out of the cages and off the island, life will, uh, find a way. At the end of Jurassic World 2: Boring War Dinos, obviously the inevitable will happen: the dinosaurs will turn against their "masters," and get loose. I think they will manage to overpower whatever military force Dr. Henry Wu has been helping, and they will begin to take over the planet, setting the stage for the extinction of mankind!
It's been a frequent talking point in the movies that "dinosaurs had their chance" but they were made extinct by mother nature. In the original movies, Dr. Alan Grant even suggests that were it not for this extinction event, perhaps Raptors would be the dominant species on the planet. Well, thanks to the work of Dr. Henry Wu, we've given dinosaurs a second chance. Not only that, but we've actually made them better! By filling in the gaps of their DNA with that of other animals, we've actually imbued them with abilities they wouldn't have naturally. They aren't even dinosaurs, technically, but they're definitely above us on the food chain.
In Jurassic World 3 it's world-wide pandemonium as the dinosaurs migrate across the globe, wiping out human-kind. We don't even have to contrive a reason to get Jeff Goldblum or any other character to come back to the dinosaurs, the dinosaurs will come to them!
I can't think of a bigger, better note to close the franchise on. It may not be as satisfying as travelling to an amazing theme park on a beautiful island (and destroying it), but at least it would pack the screen with as much mayhem as the budget could allow! Imagine raptors rampaging in malls and stadiums! Pteranodons flying over your house! Hearing a T Rex walking up your street! We can never revisit or recreate Jurassic World, but we wouldn't need to! We would be living in it!
If you have any thoughts or comments about this article or idea, feel free to let me know, I'm @WillRogers2000 on twitter!
I host the podcasts Will and Bobby Know Everything, Studio Rejects, and Book Club Shmook Club, and this is legitimately what I think the trajectory is for the franchise, based on a conversation I had with my co-host Bobby. As corny as it may be to take Jurassic World (the park) and turn it into Jurassic World (the planet) it makes sense following from the logic of the franchise, and it would actually be possible with today's special effects. Plus I kind of like the corniness of the word-play. You can hear me freak out more about Jurassic Park on this week's Studio Rejects, where we spend 3 hours (don't worry: there's a Table of Contents of sorts) talking about dinosaurs!
Thanks for reading!