The Jurassic Park story comes to a major conclusion with the upcoming film, Jurassic World Dominion, which inspires some thought about where the franchise may be headed next. Historically, the brand has positioned itself as the classiest of human / dinosaur drama, but the subgenre from which it was born is a realm of shamelessly entertaining B-movies. From the motion pictures of the 1940s and 1950s like One Million BC and Two Lost Worlds, where forced perspective photography using puppets and reptiles (outfitted with dinosaur costumes) were used to convey the mammoth beasts, to the 1960s and 1970s with films like Gorgo and When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth that used stop-motion animation and rubber suits to bring the prehistoric predators to life, audiences never took dinosaur movies too seriously.
The Academy Award-winning Jurassic Park changed all that, but the film’s two follow-ups reveled in the gimmick factor far more blatantly, reminding audiences of the pulpy schlock that clearly inspired the franchise. While the monster hit Jurassic World may have lifted the franchise above B-movie status again, its sequel Fallen Kingdom certainly did not. That is not to say this is a detriment to the brand. The human dinosaur pairing on-screen has always been a blast to experience for movie lovers. While the Jurassic Park films may have outfitted the historically corny sub-genre with an occasional tuxedo, that does not mean people will not show up when it lets its hair down and revels in the cinematic corniness that preceded it.
Jurassic World Dominion will bring together the main cast or Park and World for an entry that is billing itself as the final installment. However, this is unlikely for an intellectual property with an immense value comparable to Star WarsMarvel, and Harry Potter. There will likely be more TV shows, cartoons, and movies, which may pave the way for further genre experimentation. Considering its source material as a Michael Crichton theme park of horrors, perhaps there is more to come in regard to unethical gene splicing, technological atrocities, dino-bots, and even aliens.
Let us speculate on a future for the Jurassic Park brand inspired by its cinematic lineage and canceled Saturday Morning cartoons.
Sentient Human Dinosaur Hybrids?
While the previous films have certainly played with themes of intelligence within certain species of dinosaurs, Jurassic Park has yet to introduce full-on sentient dinosaurs. This concept immediately pushes the formula into drastically different science fiction territory than we have previously seen with the brand. While the move would undoubtedly be divisive, it could inject something fresh into the franchise that has always leaned more survival thriller than Planet of The Apes territory.
However, considering the science fiction plot devices that Jurassic Park has always relied on, it does not seem too far a stretch to take the gene-splicing concept one step further and allow for a new kind of reptilian species that poses a more existential crisis akin to Crichton’s other sci-fi theme park concept, Westworld. While there is no evidence to support the brand is headed in this direction, it may not be the most unreasonable speculation should series development be next.
Canceled ’90s Cartoons
Not one but two 1990s Jurassic Park cartoons were canceled that would have further developed the brand into weird territory. While there is not a ton known about either series, leaked concept art reveals the shows would have delved further into dinosaur hybrids and battle tech. Some kind of two-headed T-rex would have been unleashed as well as humans battling said hybrids in what appear to be mech suits. It’s possible these shows and their subesquent cancellations demonstrate the careful balancing act that franchise owners were snesitive of, working to fend off the creative instincts toward genre cliches and comic book-inspired zaniness.
However, upholding the Academy Award-winning optics of the franchise may be holding it back. While Dominion will surely provide a stellar movie-going experience with a broad worldwide audience appeal, perhaps it is time to allow the natural progression of the property into its pulp magazine potential and take some cues from the Godzilla franchise. The Japanese had no shame in trying new things with their lizard king of the monsters facing off against three-headed dragons from space, extraterrestrials, and mechanical monstrosities. If given license to go beyond the boundaries of subtle sci-fi inpirations, the Jurassic brand may find it houses far more world-building potential than it has been allowed to explore thus far.
As we venture further into our future, reality is getting weirder and weirder with AI technology paving the way for our future and the government confirming UFOs are real. It is not outside the realm of possibility that Jurassic Park’s proposed cloning technology is not one day achieved for real. However, if the film series has not managed to scare humankind away from this reality, we may be a pretty hopeless bunch.
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