Official Images of the Mattel Jurassic World Legacy Collection Brachiosaurus Have Stomped Online!

This has been an exciting week to be a Jurassic Park fan, with news roaring online in abundance, Camp Cretaceous (an upcoming Jurassic World animated series) as the star attraction. While the week is coming to an end, that doesn’t mean the fun is quite over – at least not for fans of the Mattel toy line!

Straight from the official Mattel website, we have our first real look at the Legacy Collection Brachiosaurus!

Measuring upwards of 36 inches tall, and roughly 28 – 42+ inches long, this toy is a behemoth! With articulation on each leg, tail, and neck, it has a wide range of motion allowing for lots of fun play opportunities. In the US it is releasing under the Jurassic World Legacy Collection label later this Fall for $49.99, exclusively at Target. International market availability will vary, but mainline releases in some markets will exist to help get this item to as many fans as possible!

At this time, its exact release date is unknown, as is its release pattern. With any luck, it will not follow the lead of Targets bizarre strategy for the Legacy Collection Spinosaurus (releasing the bulk at around 3am EST without warning, and selling out by morning). While the Spinosaurus was an online exclusive in the US, we’re hoping the Legacy Collection Brachiosaurus will be carried in stores for better availability options.

For those who want all the information possible, the Mattel item number for the Brachiosaurus is GFH12.

Will you be picking up the Legacy Collection Brachiosaurus, and do you think Target will do a better job with distribution this time around? Sound off in the comments below, and as always, stay tuned to Jurassic Outpost!


‘Jurassic World: The Evolution of Claire’ Review – the Universe Expands with This Exciting Prequel Novel!

Releasing in stores and online today, the Jurassic World Universe officially expands with ‘The Evolution of Claire’ – a prequel novel following Claire Dearing during her first months on Isla Nublar.

The Evolution of Claire is a Young Adult novel set within the Jurassic universe by author Tess Sharpe (Barbed Wire Heart, Far From You), and is her first foray into licensed fiction. The story is a personal journey for Claire, written in the first person perspective, overflowing with adventure, spunk, and mystery – the content is wholly Jurassic, while the tone and style embraces its young adult audience.

The story opens with Claire Dearing in 2004 at age 19 returning back home after her first year at college. We’re rapidly introduced to a very different Claire from the films, though she is equally motivated with a clear sense of confidence and decisiveness. She’s not eager to spend much time at home, and is driven to strike out her own life, however she is clearly close with her parents, her sister Karen, and nephew Zach.

Her personal motivations contrast to that of her business focused mind in World: her interests are political, with the goal of championing animal rights. She’s not just interested in their rights from afar, but is an animal lover with a pet lizard and dog, and has a history of becoming involved with the welfare of animals around her. She’s an optimist, believing there is always a morally better option, and it should be the one taken.

It’s soon revealed Claire’s animal interests go deeper than just typical extant animals, and she like many others is deeply enamored by dinosaurs. This is only furthered by the infamous San Diego incident, which revealed to her and the world that the prehistoric creatures existed once again. So when she’s offered an internship by the renowned Masrani Global corporation to spend her summer working at the not yet open Jurassic World – a place shrouded in so much mystery furthered by Simon Masrani’s eccentric marketing that Willy Wonka would be jealous – she of course jumps at the chance.

Claire is galvanized. An internship with one of the most influential individuals and corporations in the world is perhaps the window of opportunity to fortify a position of power in a cutthroat world. She knows how important money is in politics, and is eager to make her dreams a reality for the betterment of animals.

As Claire journeys to Isla Nublar alongside numerous interns of similar ages, she is thrust into a personal journey of growth, camaraderie, and independence. Her challenges involve impressing her hosts at the park, making new friends with her peers, dealing with romantic inclinations, and dealing with the occasional condescending bigot who tries to devalue her and her female peers simply due to their sex. Not to mentions dealing with dinosaurs – from distressed young Triceratops, overly playful Brachiosaurs, and of course, it wouldn’t be Jurassic Park without a Velociraptor.

Tess Sharpe introduces Claire and readers to the nuanced inner workings of Jurassic World, made more complex by the fact the park remains under construction. Claire’s intern duties range from shoveling dino-dung, enthusiastically going hands on with the wild dinos, to working in the Hammond Creation Lab itself alongside the one and only Dr. Henry Wu. Dr. Wu is one of the highlights of the novel, a supporting character who is as intriguing as he can be stern. Dr. Wu is not a villain by a long-shot, but rather a complex and intelligent character who helps shape and inspire Claire during her stay on the island. This surprisingly fleshed out development of Wu makes his seemingly one dimensional villain like portrayal in the World films all the more curious – could his motivations in the films be less sinister than we’re led to believe? This book fully cements that there is more to his story, as while his large hubris remains in tact, he also seems to have a strong moral compass.

Further, Simon Masrani himself features in the novel, and takes a personal interest in Claire’s education and career path. While he is his entirely eccentric and optimistic self, we’re also given a closer look at his capitalistic side, and are given glimpses into how far he is willing to go to bring his dinosaur park and John Hammond’s dream to life. With Claire’s noble steerings, she internally finds herself at odds with many of the choices the park management makes on a day to day basis – the very types of choices we see her making in the 2015 film.

Her internship at Jurassic World goes beyond its intended strains, as she becomes fully engrossed in a rumor of conspiracy and cover up which unravels around her the further she digs. In true Jurassic fashion, hardship is bred from greed, moral boundaries are crossed for a multitude of reasons, eventually leading to the inevitable end: chaos.

As the novel often says: Jurassic World is a place of contradictions, and it is perhaps that very concept which makes the more endearing Dr. Wu, colder Simon Masrani, and adventurous Claire Dearing all the more fascinating. These characters are as complex and unpredictable as the quickly evolving world around them. Control vs chaos, nature vs technology, human idealism vs realism all play out in a sandbox of science and occasional teen drama.

While the young adult leanings of the novel may be more prevalent than some older fans would like, the book naturally finds its place in the Jurassic world. Claire is a strong female character and role model for fans of all ages, and this novel is a much needed reminder: dinosaurs aren’t just for boys. It’s rare to find a large licensed property such as Jurassic so ready and willing to embrace a prevalent female perspective, and Tess Sharpe fully utilize this opportunity to create something unique, relevant, and needed.

The book is engrossing, valid and believable – my largest (small) critique being the interns were allowed to video call their families unmonitored – considering no real footage had leaked from the park, and secrecy was an important and required ingredient prior to the parks opening, this stood out to me. Coupled with the fact that the interns were so young, it’s amazing that no footage hit the world during the events of the novel.

The story itself is a complete arc, neatly revolving around a mystery that furthers Claire’s growth. By the end of the novel, which takes place over a few short months, Claire is changed – however she is not yet the Claire from Jurassic World. There are 10 years of stories and growth that lead her there, and this novel fully leaves room for future installments – and leaves some threads open, pointing to another book on the horizon.

For the canon connoisseurs, this novel is an absolute delight. (Mild spoilers ahead:) It digs into the science of Jurassic World, explaining its enhanced flora growth, prehistoric plants, and dinosaurs nutritional science. We learn that much of the technology of the park is proprietary and groundbreaking, and Masrani Global is working closely without outside sources to enable their use in medical and military applications (such as the Gyrospheres unique and nearly indestructible composition, or organically synthesized fusion bandages).

Though Claire never ventures to Site B, Isla Sorna is alive and kicking in the novel, as dinosaurs are occasionally transported from the island to the park on Isla Nublar. During the events of this novel, all dinosaurs in the park are survivors from Hammond’s time, born or created on Nublar or Sorna during the Jurassic Park era. The entirety of Sorna’s fate is left open, and Claire even comments that Masrani Global is more secretive about that island than Nublar (perhaps a hint there is more to Sorna’s story even now). While the lab is hard at work to create new animals, it seems they’re taking their time, in no hurry to introduce animals unfit for the soon to open resort.

This is perhaps influenced by a medical mystery that has begun to effect some of the dinosaurs on Isla Nublar, forcing the lab to take precautions to prevent the mystery ailment from spreading. This approach involves injecting medication directly into developing eggs, including strong doses of steroids, and I can’t help but muse if that’s why Jurassic World’s dinosaurs seem stumpier and angrier than their Park and real world counterparts.

There is one inconsistency with the lore: all the dinosaurs in the book are referred to as female, however as we know, life found a way. The Park era dinosaurs were both sexes despite the attempted population control, and were breeding on both islands. Perhaps the female terminology was a liberty taken by World staff, referring to them all as female, or an misnomer cultivated by a simple misunderstanding by the some employees that they were in fact female, despite being both sexes. Colin Trevorrow recently took to Twitter recently to further clarify that the dinosaurs of Jurassic World are both male and female, and other forms of population control were enforced.

Considering the novel never unequivocally states all the dinosaurs are female with evidence, this contradiction can be easily explained away in a multitude of ways, and it never undermines the story at play. The only real hiccup that is objectively wrong is the Velociraptor on the cover, a red eyed male of the second subspecies found on Sorna. The novel definitively states the raptor is a female, and has yellow eyes: this would be the female subspecies introduced in Jurassic Park 3, as the classic female variant has green eyes, its male counterpart yellow. This is not a fault of the novel, but rather a small canonical stumble on the part of the otherwise phenomenal jacket art adorning the book.

At nearly 1500 words I’ve barely scratched the surface of what ‘The Evolution of Claire’ has to offer in its 32 chapters spread over 390 pages. Tess Sharpe has smartly crafted an adventure within the Jurassic universe, brought a new life to Claire Dearing, and reawakened the possibilities held within a page, something we haven’t had since Michael Crichton wrote the original novels from which the first two Park films were created. Stories told in novel form is ingrained into the DNA of Jurassic, and this new chapter brings the story to life in excellent form.

No matter your age or interest, I can happily recommend the book, which is a fun and unique romp within a whole new Jurassic World. I hope to read more from Tess in the future, and fully believe this proves the potential for other stories within the growing expanded universe.

The Evolution of Claire is available in stores now at retailers such as Amazon and Target – be sure to pick up your copy today, and sound off in the comments below with your thoughts! As always, stay tuned for everything Jurassic – including our upcoming deep dive interview with the author herself!

Jurassic World Prequel Novel ‘The Evolution of Claire’ Cover & Synopsis Revealed – Now Available to Pre-Order!

Jurassic Park fans are in for a huge treat this year, with the release of the wide range of toys, LEGO, comics, books, and of course, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

Perhaps one of the most exciting and unique outings is the upcoming young adult novel by Tess Sharpe, titled ‘The Evolution of Claire‘, which focuses on the character played by Bryce Dallas Howard in her early years at Jurassic World. At 400 pages, this marks the first true canonical expansion to the Jurassic expanded universe, and is sure to excite fans of all ages.

Check out the cover and read the synopsis below!

Don’t miss this pulse-pounding prequel to the Jurassic World movies that reveals the never-before-seen backstory of beloved film character Claire Dearing.

Freshman year in college is full of obstacles–there are messy roommates, cranky professors, and disgusting dining halls. But for Claire Dearing, add “How to properly avoid being eaten by a dinosaur” to that list.

The year is 2004, and Claire has been given the chance of a lifetime: the opportunity to intern at the Jurassic World theme park less than a year before it opens to the public. She is laser-focused, with her sights set on bettering the lives of all animals worldwide. But life at the park isn’t all test-driving gyrospheres and falling head over heels for a fellow student named Justin . . . though she does that too. Rumors and suspicions flood the island, and Claire is determined to unravel the truth.

As Claire searches for answers, she and Justin find themselves thrust into a sinister plot that will leave Claire forever changed, forcing her to question everything she thought she knew and bringing her one step closer to the Claire viewers met in Jurassic World and who they’ll return to in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

It sounds like even before the Indominus Rex, InGen was up to some nefarious schemes under the charismatic yet aloof leadership of Simon Masrani. Whatever story elements this book introduces is sure to spawn some intriguing discussion and debate on how it ties into the events of Jurassic World, Fallen Kingdom, and future films.

Perhaps most intriguingly is the inclusion of the male subspecies of Velociraptor only seen on Isla Sorna – as the Dinosaur Protection Group website says the dinosaurs were taken from there to Nublar, it seems safe to bet both islands will make an appearance in this book!

‘The Evolution of Claire’ releases Junes 26th, 2018 and is available for pre-order on Amazon now!

Are you excited for the books release, and what do you hope the story focuses on? Sound off in the comments below, and as always, stay tuned for everything Jurassic!

Source: Amazon


OPINION: The Jurassic Myth

To make an unpopular observation is to dispel a beloved myth.

Initially, I felt reluctant to write this piece. Not so much because I’m concerned about its reception. Had I been a few years younger I possibly would have worried and questioned my very own loyalty to the Jurassic Park franchise and its creators.

No, I doubted my desire to pen all of this down because I’ve written several articles on Jurassic Park and Jurassic World through the years. Could this one add any new insights? Would it not be a useless exercise, partly revisiting already existing material?

Jurassic Park has been part of over half my life. I grew up with it, watched it countless times – I would not dare venture a guess as to the number of combined viewings through the years. I’ve played with the toys endlessly, read the books over and over again. My love for these films, flaws included, is deeply rooted; not a day goes by I do not, in some capacity, think of it, or look at material from these films or their merchandise. I can only assume I am preaching to the choir, my experience being hardly unique.

However, love and loyalty for this franchise (or any product, artist or franchise, for that matter) do not constitute unwavering devotion, no matter how dreadful the material is or has become. Rather, I believe being a fan is daring to be critical; to scrutinize, reconsider and demand (or perhaps more accurate, to hope for) respectful treatment of a property we so dearly love, not blindly accepting everything presented to us.

Having mulled it over in my mind continuously for weeks on end, I was close to considering it a pointless endeavour. Yet, I could not entirely let go, feeling the desire to explore the origins of the park, the foundations lain out in the two novels and original three films once more – and possibly for the last time.

But where to begin when you want to write about film canon and storytelling?

Canon remains a hotly debated issue. Not just within Jurassic Park’s fan communities. Every film franchise and TV-series sooner or later has to deal with the implications of its own storytelling and, possibly unfitting, additions finding their way in through sequels. In some cases, Terminator for example, it includes the consideration of excising events from previously made films to make way for new interpretations. The ALIEN franchise has a loyal fan base that considers the third and fourth films non-existent. Furthermore, ALIEN’s prequels have brought significant changes to the origins of the infamous titular creature(s), not necessarily for the better.

Perhaps the Jurassic Park saga is not so badly off in comparison. Yet, I can’t help be intrigued by the phenomenon of canon and how easily it can be messed up. It’s the one issue I keep returning to most in my mind. After all, the entire franchise stands or falls with its respective storytelling.

My continuing fascination for the subject stems from a dissatisfaction with the lack of attention for the finer details of the franchise as it progresses; the sequels were, and are, created based on previous success, contemporary popularity and demand, not necessarily the established story. This in itself isn’t entirely odd. The original wasn’t made with a sequel strongly in mind, and the original’s sequel was not created in that spirit either. Jurassic Park is a “make it up as you go along”-franchise. It’s not alone in that department; most film sequels are conceived that way.

For Jurassic Park, a film that deals with specific, limited locations, it can cause trouble when future authors are not absolutely informed about every nail and rivet, each miniscule, seemingly insignificant detail. After all, contrary to popular belief, the Jurassic Park universe isn’t one of endless possibilities; because of the chosen locations (remote islands) and the subject at its very core (recreated dinosaurs), stories run the risk of becoming either repetitive or, trying to introduce new and exciting elements, bordering on the ridiculous.

Anyone taking on the task of writing a sequel in this series must have more than just a basic understanding of the park’s history and its very conception to make new entries into the franchise work.

“Only slightly dead.” From paper to celluloid: adaptation

Looking at the Jurassic Park films, what should we consider canon? And, for that matter, what is canon, exactly?

Meriam Webster offers the following definition: “a body of principles, rules, standards or norms.”

That’s quite clear. The story mandates an adherence to previously established details. Deviate, and the illusion crumbles, exposing inconsistencies and errors.

To keep it simple: canon to the films is everything that happens within the films. Anything outside of it (novels, cut scenes, novelizations of the films’ stories, board- and videogames, merchandise, apps and viral websites) is not to be included.

Yet, deviate is exactly what Michael Crichton himself did when he wrote The Lost World; mathematician Ian Malcolm had died by the end of the novel Jurassic Park, but lived in the film version. Working on the book’s sequel, Crichton resurrected Malcolm, given how popular the character had become. About this magic return from death, Crichton said:

“Malcolm came back because I needed him. I could do without the others, but not him because he is the ‘ironic commentator’ on the action. He keeps telling us why it will go bad. And I had to have him back again.”

You can see the irony in my quest of untangling Jurassic Park’s initial canon. Crichton himself, the founding father of the Jurassic Park universe, unashamedly had a previously deceased character return alive and well to propel the story forward. Malcolm’s return was a surprise to readers of the original book but presented in the novel without much pomp and circumstance, it was largely accepted.

With Dr. Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) surviving the events that took place in the first film, The Lost World’s film adaptation had no such hurdle to overcome. It did utilize the new location Michael Crichton invented for the sequel, the abandoned research facility located on Isla Sorna.

Let us briefly examine three key scenes from The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III. While there is no real need for a lengthy deconstruction of either scene, it proves worthwhile to take a look at those moments from the original trilogy that became the groundwork of Isla Nublar’s fate.

What both films clearly radiate is the notion that Isla Nublar is no longer of interest to anyone. The public, through the course of these two films, has become aware of the island and its unfortunate history, the dinosaurs having either been killed or died off; in The Lost World: Jurassic Park this becomes clear throughout the dialogue between John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) and Ian Malcolm. Hammond simply confesses to Malcolm there is another island where dinosaurs roam freely (“thank God for Site B,”) and Malcolm finds himself unpleasantly surprised by this notion. Neither man worries about Isla Nublar, it’s hardly brought up.

At the end of The Lost World: Jurassic Park Hammond snatches his “likeable showman”-opportunity and argues in favour of the protection of Isla Sorna and the surviving dinosaurs that inhabit the island.

Jurassic Park III reintroduces us to Alan Grant (Sam Neill), who is beleaguered with questions about his experience on Isla Nublar as he attempts to lecture about paleontology. Two persisting students question if he truly has no interest in traveling to Isla Sorna the moment different governing bodies have decided how to properly approach the island, enabling scientists to conduct research on location. Grant denies interest, professing to the desire of staying as far away from the island as possible.

These three scenes hold the keys to that fine detail; Isla Nublar is not considered a mythical location, spoken of in revered, hushed tones. No, it’s a monumental financial headache for InGen, and unceremoniously cast aside by John Hammond.

Isla Nublar is completely written out of the films for the next fifteen years.

“Something unexpected has evolved”: complications

After The Lost World: Jurassic Park, different screenwriters wrote each new entry in the franchise, causing a parade of annoying irregularities. Some are relatively minor, for example Isla Sorna looking different in Jurassic Park III: while mainly covered with temperate forests in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III sees dinosaurs and humans placed in tropical jungles.

Other errors are slightly more troubling. These vary from design variations in the same species of animals throughout the films; the once free roaming Pteranodons being magically locked up in a gigantic aviary in the third film; to Kauai’s Na’Pali coastal mountain range first seen in The Lost World: Jurassic Park as part of Isla Sorna accidentally being reused in Jurassic World as Isla Nublar’s coastline.

There are, of course, counterarguments for these discrepancies. First of all, not all errors, such as the location mix-up, can be blamed on the writers. The change in appearance in both animals and surroundings isn’t unheard of through the course of the films. The animals looking different, sometimes radically, can be chalked up to creative decisions in design and renewed insights; the island looking different could simply mean the two films each took place on different parts of it.

The same coastline used for both Isla Sorna and Isla Nublar might have been an oversight, considering the time that passed between the two respective films. Admittedly, it’s a location-scouting mistake most viewers probably won’t even notice.

These errors can be overcome, turning a blind eye. However, two elements both introduced in Jurassic World are inexcusable, and cause the film to run into deep trouble. The first is the surprise reintroduction of the original Tyrannosaurus from Jurassic Park in Jurassic World. The previous sequels taught us dinosaurs no longer inhabited Isla Nublar. Without even a modicum of explaining, the original Tyrannosaurus returns, as the deus ex machina she was in the original film’s finale.

Given what we know about Isla Nublar’s history, the Tyrannosaurus should not be there – yet she is still alive, albeit looking very different. This is not just due to old age; the shape of her head, especially the lower jaw, has entirely changed. Rumor has it the film originally would present us with a random Tyrannosaurus rex. Was this redesign a last-minute decision, a rush of nostalgia to please fans? We may never know.

Most unforgivable, though, and certainly to be blamed on the writing; the revelation John Hammond apparently supported Jurassic World’s construction before his death, completely undoing the emotional and spiritual journey the character made over the course of the original two films. This sudden change of heart is not entirely impossible, but without properly addressing it, the film falls flat and does Hammond’s character the greatest of disservices; making it appear he had a nefarious motive, the creation of a park on Isla Nublar at any and all cost, selfishly seeing his dream come true in the end.

All these moments display what could either be remarkable carelessness, a lack of knowledge or performance under pressure. We know the latter certainly applied to Jurassic Park III’s production process. But the others? Colin Trevorrow has professed to being a fan of the original work multiple times, and clearly voiced his devotion to create the best work possible. Yet, these errors and inconsistencies did not require a microscope to be found. And these inconsistencies are not just discussed by fans who spend much time going over the material, dissecting every frame; the discrepancies are out there, front and center, questioned by film audiences in general. If they can pick up on those, why not the director of the film himself? Were these elements truly errors? Did the filmmakers simply not pay enough attention, or did they possibly not care enough to gain a better understanding of this fictional world they were adding to? It makes Jurassic World operate in the same cinematic universe as Jurassic Park, but without properly addressing some of these issues it does so on its fringes.

This is the myth; we have been told the new trilogy (the Jurassic Park films are the first trilogy, the Jurassic World films the second) has been planned out beforehand. This does not seem entirely true.

I do believe a beginning (Jurassic World), middle (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) and an end (Jurassic World III) were planned in broad strokes, but the writers of the script didn’t bother with the finer details established by the original films, instead introducing what was deemed necessary or even just cool.

With every new entry into the franchise the stories run the risk of becoming more complicated and asking for a greater suspension of disbelief. I believe it’s not impossible to write stories that fit the overarching canon and still be surprising and uncontrived, but this ordains a deep understanding of the source material; perhaps it presents authors with a creative challenge, but what else are professional writers for?

If we have to suspend disbelief and accept the dinosaurs as a reality, the details of the entire world they occupy have to be absolutely correct.

Both Jurassic Park III and Jurassic World, at one point or another, failed in this regard.

That’s not to say I am not appreciative of the work by both Joe Johnston and Colin Trevorrow on the Jurassic Park franchise. Though their films are not perfect, they offer entertainment and even bring new elements into the saga that will inspire, and be discussed by fans, for years to come. Both men and their crews did outstanding work in their own ways, and they both come across as men with sympathetic personalities and a genuine love for the original film.

Colin Trevorrow especially engages actively with fans, mainly through Twitter. This is commendable. He made himself available to the Jurassic Park community and teased or even outright shared material from Jurassic World’s set when he could during the production process.

Whenever Colin Trevorrow tweets something related to Jurassic World, fans are excited. After all, after a draught of nearly fifteen years, the franchise was brought back full-force, with Trevorrow at its helm this time.

Yet, his pleasant online persona and accessibility certainly do not make him exempt from fair criticism; a tweet proclaiming he considers several Jurassic World games being created “soft canon” was received with much enthusiasm by fans. But what is soft canon? What does it mean in regards to the franchise’s narrative?

The truth is, it has no definitive meaning, if any at all. It was Trevorrow’s personal opinion, having been asked a question about the games. Which of course is fine, as we all have an opinion. But his words weigh heavier in the fan community than someone else’s (mine, for example) because he once occupied the director’s chair and still serves as a writer for, and producer on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Colin Trevorrow, despite these impressive credentials, maybe should not be seen by us as the Messiah and his words not taken as absolute gospel.

I feel his choice of words on this specific matter diffuses the understanding of the material. Canon should be that; it either is or is not. Anything else should be relegated to an alternative universe where it’s free for all and anything goes.

Am I advocating against sequels, or directors expressing their own thoughts on the material? I’m certainly not opposed to films that follow up on an original work, expanding stories and fictional universes: I would never want to discourage anyone from expressing their opinions, insights and experiences. Above all else I would not dare argue in favor of discouraging Colin Trevorrow to share his personal opinion. His input and thoughts are highly valuable, and I truly appreciate his work on JurassicWorld and his activity and engagement with fans on Twitter and in the real world.

Though not a steward of the franchise, I do maintain the position not enough care and attention went, and possibly goes, into the understanding of these important details, the focus instead shifted towards pleasing audiences with films that entertain from start to finish, offering a fast-paced ride – but giving the public less to think about in the end.

 Jurassic Park did something remarkable. It presented its complicated science with a wonderful simplicity, making us believe this world we were introduced to was utterly real.

It’s a trick that from the outset could essentially only be performed once, considering the film hinged on the revelation of futuristic technology being successfully able in aiding resurrecting extinct animals.

Once this technology was introduced and the original film ended, that novelty, the excitement, the wonder and magic faded away more with every sequel, little by little falling apart and replaced with more spectacle and grander effects. But with a little less heart put into each new entry, slowly trading in genuine, inquisitive scientists for dull, anonymous military bravado.

Packed to the rafters with shots eerily reminiscent of the original film, Jurassic World became a lesser version of a grander work, at times feeling more as if truly a reboot rather than a sequel, a film that seems to have sidelined its two predecessors; and, more importantly, their content and lessons. As with the Tyrannosaurus, Jurassic World never directly addresses the issue of the state of the island(s). The individual islands are simply “shoved aside” from film to film, as if one or the other doesn’t matter anymore, then dragged back in to fulfill a filmmaker’s needs. Rather than Jurassic, it becomes Convenient Park, with the authors introducing elements they need to create a string of “cool looking” scenes and shots, instead of creatively building and expanding on the original material that came before.

In the end, it’s the film studio that approves the finished film scripts. If those in charge feel a script is good enough and sign off on it, the authors and directors might not even be aware of the irregularities. Who, then, should we consider responsible?

Conclusion: the myth undone

Originally, I started writing out of a deep desire to approach the subject of Isla Nublar’s origins and ultimate fate without much speculation, without the inclusion or consideration of “secondary” material, even going so far as to exclude Crichton’s own work, except for the respectful acknowledgement that his two novels are the very foundations of this franchise.

As my collection of notes on the matter expanded, my focus shifted. I found my original subject interesting, but as I explored further it lead to something more substantial; the complex art of telling a story that follows up on existing material.

With the mountain of hardly legible notes growing over several weeks, I could not help feel weariness, a fatigue – a regular disinterest in my own never-ending thoughts and musings, if you will. To be a fan, I suppose, is to question your own sanity every now and then; I’ve often asked myself why I feel such passion for these films and their fictional world, why I keep returning to them despite knowing them by heart. And sometimes, wanting to just cast it all aside and be done with it.

Yet, I always drift back into that world, returning to what I love and know, undeniably finding a familiar comfort in this fiction that shaped the way we perceive (accurate or not) dinosaurs on film, and the history of the people and companies that occupy its exotic landscapes.

This may sound awfully vague. Or perhaps not. It’s fascinating to examine my own attitude towards these stories and to realize this fictional world has its roots firmly planted in scientific reality. While it’s not possible yet (if ever) to resurrect dinosaurs, de-extinction itself is bringing the return of animals such as mammoths, far younger than the reptilian rulers, within reach. Is this why I love these films so much? Because they operate on the brink of reality, offering us a glimpse of technology to come? The far-off prospect of possibly coming eye to eye with animals brought back from extinction?

I certainly do not entertain the (rather vain) thought my word on the matter is final. But writing did lead me to reach and understand the most important personal question above all others: if the filmmakers and studios don’t care all that much about consistency throughout these films, why should I? Is it not better to let go, to be done with it and simply enjoy the films, no matter what craziness or irregularities they bring to the franchise?

Admittedly, as a fan with a passion bordering on religious, I’m undeniably susceptible to over-thinking these matters. This is possibly the most important lesson I learned as I progressed. I have undone my own myth: the once unshakable belief that these stories can and should be told without nearly unavoidable discrepancies finding a way in, either by accident or on purpose.

Maybe it truly is time to let go of the well-intended but foolish notion of wanting to protect a legacy that can’t possibly be saved by me alone – and, in the end, most likely does not need saving at all.

What are your thoughts on the franchise’s history, its storytelling, canon and being a devoted fan?

Jurassic World to Get Expanded Universe with Upcoming Prequel Novel!

It’s finally happening. The Jurassic Park universe is canonically expanding beyond the films. One of the most requested things from fans has continuously been an expansion of the fiction, whether it be via an animated series, comics, novels, or more. It now seems Universal has listened, and the first expansion will be coming May 2018 in the form of a Young Adult novel by Random House Books.

The novel, seemingly awaiting a more formal title, is currently titled ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Hardcover Young Adult Novel’. While the title isn’t much to go off of, Random House has also provided an exciting synopsis on what readers can expect:

Discover the beginnings of one of Jurassic World‘s most beloved characters–Claire Dearing–in this original action-packed young adult novel.

During the events of Jurassic World, Claire Dearing faced the savage fury of dinosaurs unleashed . . . but it wasn’t the first time. In this entirely new coming-of-age story, Claire lands an elite internship working for Simon Masrani and soon discovers his plans to build an all-new theme park–Jurassic World! Along the way, Claire establishes valuable relationships with both her peers and the prehistoric creatures she studies, but when the situation turns dangerous, she begins to see the dinosaurs in a different light. Fans of Jurassic World will delight in filling in the gaps of Claire’s past, all while gaining insights into the experiences that transformed her into the strong woman we know today.

May 08, 2018 | 304 Pages | Young Adult

The Young Adult fiction genre is typically considered to be written for ages 12-20’s, though the exact age range isn’t particularly defined, nor does it dictate who can enjoy the writings. This isn’t the first time the franchise had side stories via books, as the Jurassic Park Adventures series based on Eric Kirby’s adventures existed, but those targeted younger ages and were widely considered non-canon by fans.

The timeframe for this prequel novel is interesting, as it seems to begin before Jurassic World was event built, and will likely dive deep into the backstory of how Masrani Global handled InGen assets, and became the corporation we saw in the 2015 film. While it follows Claire’s perspective, the novel will quite possibly cross paths with individuals like Dr. Henry Wu, Vic Hoskisn, and other players, like the already confirmed Simon Masrani.

Will we see the cleanup of Nublar, the construction of Jurassic World, and inception of of ideas like the Indominus Rex in this novel? Time will tell – and hopefully it may even clarify longstanding question like the fate of Isla Nublar, why Hammond endorsed Jurassic World after his character motivation shift in The Lost World, and perhaps dig deep into pieces of the fiction the films have never touched upon.

But most off all, the novel will take us through the character evolution, motivation, and growth of Claire Dearing (played by Bryce Dallas Howard in the films), who Colin Trevorrow has previously stated is main character of the Jurassic World trilogy. It’s especially great to see a leading women take the spotlight and kick off the official Jurassic expanded universe, where as the easy and expected route would be putting someone like Owen Grady in the spotlight.

We’re excited, and hope this is only the first book of an exciting Jurassic World EU – the opportunities are endless, and we can’t wait to read the novel! If this is only the tip of the spear, perhaps in time a Dr. Henry Wu book series will come as well, detailing the timeline between Jurassic Park and Jurassic World, explaining how and why he comes off so cold in World, and dive deep into science of InGen not seen since Michael Crichton created the franchise.

Finally, dinosaur enthusiasts also have a publication to look forward to, which also seems to dive into the expanded fiction of Jurassic World – the ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Dinosaur Survival Guide’:

Relive the excitement of the blockbuster film Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom–which opens to US audiences on June 22, 2018–with this must-have survival guide!

Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom releases in theaters on June 22, 2018, bringing with it all the wonder, adventure, and thrills of one of the most popular and successful franchises in cinema history. This all-new motion picture event sees the return of favorite characters and dinosaurs, including Blue, the Velociraptor; Tyrannosaurus rex; and Mosasaurus–along with new breeds more awe-inspiring and terrifying than ever before!

This indispensable full-color survival guide features all the facts about the Jurassic World dinosaurs that you need to know to survive on the island–as well as the top-secret history of how it all began.

May 08, 2018 | 80 Pages | 6-9 years

Top secret history of how it all began? Say no more. Perhaps this visual guide will finally give a defined canonical explanation of the dinosaur variations seen throughout the franchise!

Let us know if you will be picking up the Claire prequel novel, and what stories you hope the expanded universe digs into! And as always, stay tuned for the latest news.

Source: Random House Books

Primitive War – Read a Chapter From This New Novel by Jurassic Fan Ethan Pettus!

I like to make a habit of posting about fan made projects and highlighting the creative talent that stems from Jurassic fans. It’s funny how, over the years, I’ve befriended many like-minded people who – aside from their love for Jurassic Park – are filmmakers, writers, creatives in their own right.

With that said, I wanted to write about Primitive War – a new novel by Ethan Pettus. Clearly inspired by Jurassic and his love for dinosaurs, Primitive War is the story of a search and rescue team known as Vulture Squad, who are sent into an isolated jungle valley to uncover the fate of a missing platoon. As they hunt through the primordial depths of the valley, they discover horrors that not only threaten to unravel their minds, but to end their lives as well.

The cover art alone is beautiful, and while the old saying states that you should never judge a book by its cover, I certainly did when I saw this one. How very Trespasser!

The artwork and concept art from the novel that Ethan shared with me show what an action packed and terrifying adventure it will be. And for those feathered dinosaur fans, this is right up your alley!

The art is beautiful and the story sounds great – but how about the writing? Check out an exclusive chapter below! Trust me, it’s pretty damn thrilling:

Samplechapterpdf

Primitive War will be released within the next couple of months and will be available to purchase on Amazon. Be sure to check out the Facebook page here so you can follow updates on the novel, and let Ethan know what you thought of the above chapter by commenting below!

UPDATE: Ethan has shared with us a new piece of concept art and another chapter from the novel for you to read!

Check out the chapter below!

Legionsample

UPDATE: Primitive War is now available on paperback and Kindle through Amazon!

A search and rescue team known as Vulture Squad is sent to an isolated jungle valley to uncover the fate of a missing Green Beret platoon. As they hunt through the primordial depths of the valley, they discover ancient horrors that not only threaten to unravel their minds, but to end their lives as well. When the casualties mount, the men of Vulture Squad must abandon their human nature and give in to their savage instincts in order to survive…the Primitive War.

Will you be purchasing this fan-written dinosaur novel? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

New Michael Crichton novel ‘Dragon Teeth’ will be published next May

HarperCollins have acquired the rights to publish Michael Crichton’s third posthumous novel – entitled ‘Dragon Teeth’ in May. According to Variety, who first reported the news, Dragon Teeth is described as a “fictional recounting of the actual rivalry between paleontologists Edward Drinker Cope and Othniel Charles Marsh during “The Bone Wars” of the 1870s.”

“The story unfolds through the adventures of a young fictional character named William Johnson who is apprenticed first to one, then to the other and not only makes discoveries of historic proportion, but transforms into an inspiring hero only Crichton could have imagined,” the publisher said.

“Known for his meticulous research, Crichton uses Marsh and Copes’ heated competition during the ‘Bone Wars’ — the golden age of American fossil hunting — as the basis for a thrilling story set in the wilds of the American West.”

Michael Crichton, who wrote Jurassic Park, The Lost World, Prey, Congo, Sphere, passed away in 2008. After his unfortunate passing, a number of manuscripts were discovered on his computer, the first being ‘Pirate Latitudes’, which was published in 2009. The second was ‘Micro’, which was finished by Richard Preston and released in 2011.

Michael Crichton

This is the third manuscript to be discovered and was found by his widow, Sherri, who said:

“When I came across the ‘Dragon Teeth’ manuscript in the files, I was immediately captivated. It has Michael’s voice, his love of history, research and science all dynamically woven into an epic tale.”

There is no official date set for publication, but HarperCollins announced that it was hit the shelves in May of 2017.

It is interesting to note that another manuscript was found, with the potential for more. It makes you wonder if Crichton ever dabbled with something in the universe of Jurassic Park. A potential sequel to The Lost World… one can dream. I do recall an old video interview where he mentioned a novel he was writing, which “Jurassic” fans would enjoy. That very likely became Dragon Teeth, but again, one can dream. If anybody recalls that interview or even has it – please get in touch!

It’s great that Michael Crichton’s work continues to entertain and thrill readers, and that there is more to come! His writing is incredibly detailed, unique, and most of all entertaining. His work continues to inspire, and we really have him to thank for opening up the world of Jurassic Park.

michaelcrichton2    michaelcrichton1

Have you read any of Michael Crichton’s novels aside from Jurassic Park and The Lost World? I personally loved Prey, and Micro was thrilling. Sphere was also great. Be sure to let us know in the comments section below and as always, make sure you’re following our Twitter and Facebook pages for super speedy news.

Source: Variety