JURASSIC WORLD 3 now has a director, and it’s not exactly a huge surprise. While a JURASSIC PARK reboot/sequel (requel? seboot?) was in the works for years, it finally came to fruition with 2015’s JURASSIC WORLD to box office record-smashing results. Steven Spielberg had a strong hand in the crafting of that film, especially when it came to choosing a director. Indeed, Colin Trevorrow was handpicked to breathe new life into the franchise based on the strength of his Sundance indie SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED, and while critics were a bit muted to the final product, audiences flocked to JURASSIC WORLD in droves.
Universal quickly greenlit a sequel, but Trevorrow was busy elsewhere so J.A. Bayona (A MONSTER CALLS, THE IMPOSSIBLE) signed on to direct this summer’s JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM. But now Trevorrow is back, as Spielebrg confirmed to EW that Trevorrow is writing and directing JURASSIC WORLD 3.
This both is and is not a surprise. The reason Trevorrow didn’t direct FALLEN KINGDOM was because after JURASSIC WORLD, Lucasfilm signed him to close out the new STAR WARS trilogy by directing STAR WARS EPISODE IX. But last fall, in the wake of Trevorrow’s box office bomb THE BOOK OF HENRY—which also received some of the most scathing reviews in recent memory—Lucasfilm parted ways with Trevorrow. To be fair the decision likely wasn’t only based on THE BOOK OF HENRY as it was reported that Trevorrow had been having creative disagreements with Lucasfilm over the STAR WARS script for some time, but THE BOOK OF HENRY was a very disappointing follow-up to a film as huge as JURASSIC WORLD, so folks were curious to see what Trevorrow would do next.
The filmmaker was intimately involved in JURASSIC WORLD 2 even if he didn’t direct, returning to co-write the script with Derek Connolly and serving as hands-on producer while Bayona brought his own visual flair to the sequel. It was announced last month that JURASSIC WORLD 3 was on track to hit theaters on June 11, 2021, with Trevorrow co-writing the script alongside Emily Carmichael (PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING), and now the film is very much in line hit that release date with Trevorrow back in the director’s chair.
It’s actually a bit ironic, as THE FORCE AWAKENS director J.J. Abrams took over Trevorrow’s duties on EPISODE IX to close out that trilogy after handing the reigns to Rian Johnson for THE LAST JEDI, and now Trevorrow is returning to his own rebooted franchise to bookend that series. If it wasn’t clear before, Spielberg has very much passed the JURASSIC PARK baton to Trevorrow, who now seems to be the main architect of this new franchise. For what it’s worth, Trevorrow mapped out a three-movie arc way back when he was making Jurassic World:
“Yes, absolutely … I knew where I wanted it to go. I remember telling Steven [Spielberg] even while we were still making the first movie, “This is the beginning. Here is the middle. And here’s the end of the end. This is where we want to go. I feel like that kind of design is crucial to a franchise like this if you really want to bring people along with you and make sure they stay interested. It needs to be thought through on that level. It can’t be arbitrary, especially if we want to turn this into a character-based franchise with people who you lean in to follow what they’re going to do.
“At the end of this movie, it’s not a cliffhanger, but it’s designed for people who want to know what’s going to happen next, whereas the earlier Jurassic Park movies had pretty clear definitive endings. They were pretty much episodic. In working with Derek Connolly, my co-writer, we were also thinking about where it was going to go in the future.”
So while THE BOOK OF HENRY was certainly a disappointment, and losing STAR WARS was probably not fun, Trevorrow’s doing fine. It’ll be interesting to see how audiences respond to FALLEN KINGDOM this summer, how closely the film will come to matching the $1.6 billion gross of the 2015 rebootquel, but clearly Universal and Spielberg have a lot of faith in Trevorrow’s vision for this series.