When you think of people who helped craft and influence the Jurassic Park franchise, one of the names that springs to mind is the late Stan Winston. While those who he worked with at his company Stan Winston Studios, formed Legacy Effects after his unfortunate passing, the team remained active within the industry and went on to creative special effects and animatronics for films such as 2012, Avatar, The Hunger Games, Iron Man 2&3, and many more.
The company also continued its relationship with the Jurassic franchise with 2015’s Jurassic World, where the team created a full size Apatosaurus neck animatronic that was seen in a key scene in the film.
Unfortunately only the one animatronic made it into the film, but writer/producer Colin Trevorrow stated to numerous outlets that the sequel, directed by J.A. Bayona, will feature more animatronics in the same way the original three films did. Naturally, fans assumed that Legacy Effects would return in full force and would bring back fan favourites in animatronic form.
However, in December of last year, we began to hear that Legacy Effects were not involved with the sequel, and that Neal Scanlan and his team had put a bid in for the film – and won. Neal’s last project was Star Wars: The Force Awakens which also filmed at Pinewood Studios in London, where all of Fallen Kingdom’s studio work would be filmed.
— JA Bayona (@FilmBayona) March 17, 2017
The prospect of Stan Winston’s original team not being involved with the franchise anymore obviously shocked fans, and while business is business, the exclusion of this company to some perhaps seems illogical, when you consider how prominent and ground breaking the animatronics were in the original trilogy.
In March, a glimmer of hope shone in Legacy’s direction, when a filming permit for Ancient Futures (Fallen Kingdom’s working title) was acquired for Pacoima, Los Angeles. Legacy Effects are very close to that same area, which led some to speculate that they will be involved with the sequel in some capacity.
However, after speaking with Stan Winston School of Character Arts’ co-founder and son of Stan Winston, Matt Winston, he clarified to us that Legacy Effects are not involved with the sequel.
“Unfortunately, I have zero knowledge of JW2 since Legacy was not involved. My fingers are crossed that Neal and his time did a great job.”
With Fallen Kingdom’s production office based in London and with most of the key studio scenes being filmed there, it does make sense for the production to opt for a local animatronic/special effects company, who also have a working relationship with Pinewood Studios. Using a local company also helps to keep costs down, especially when you consider how expensive and time consuming it would be to ship huge and heavy animatronics across the pond.
It is unfortunate to hear that Legacy’s team will not be involved, but we can have faith that Neal Scanlan’s team will do the film justice! The team is working on Star Wars: Episode VIII and previously worked on the last two Star Wars films, Prometheus, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and many more. What do you make of their work?