Who is Lucy? That is the question that keeps rippling across the online community since the ‘Ancient Futures’ casting call was discovered. While any attempts to decipher more information about the character beyond that provided in the casting call may be baseless conjecture, I decided to take a stab at it anyhow. Worst case scenario: I’m completely wrong, but generate some discussion amongst fans in the process. So, let’s have some fun.
Before moving forward, I want to pull up the character description Actors Access provided:
She is a young girl around 9 years of age. The girl playing “Lucy” must be at least 9 years of age by February 2017, but cannot be over 10 years old. She must be a sensitive and clever actress capable of handling long and complex scenes. Lucy must be able to handle a range of emotions from tender moments with her father, to anxiety, bravery, and shock.
Let’s get one thing out of the way now while we’re at it: the casting call mentions her father, and names her Lucy. The name may be placeholder, just as Ancient Futures is used in place of Jurassic World 2, while the father role may not actually be her father. However, for the sake of discussion and discovery, we will presume those two things are actually factual.
What else do we know? Those who attended auditions implied it was clear they were going for a ‘certain look’ for the girl, but did not elaborate further due to NDA’s. The test dialog apparently played against the implied father character – though no details on what exactly that involved were shared online. With that in mind, what immediately becomes clear is the father character is assuredly just as important as Lucy – if not more so. As such, they are likely looking for a young actress who would have good on screen chemistry with that mystery actor.
To test ‘Lucy’ actresses properly, it only makes sense that they know who is playing the father. Considering no casting reports for Jurassic World 2 have been shared by the trades or Universal Pictures, I find it unlikely to be an entirely new player in the franchise. My assumption is that the actor has not been reported on, as he did not need to try out: he is simply a returning player, established in prior films. With that in mind, I’ve floated a few ideas.. but am favoring one more than the rest.
As I said earlier, in this article I will presume the name Lucy is not placeholder. In a film about extinct creatures, it’s hard to ignore the scientific importance of that name. Around 42 years ago a stunning discovery was made by a team of scientists in Ethiopia – the fossil remains of an early hominin who lived over 3 million years ago was discovered. Dubbed Lucy, some even suggested she could be the missing link in humanities ancestral evolution – and her remains being 40% in tact helped fuel many scientific discoveries. While she may not be the missing link some had hoped for (it’s now suspected we branched from Chimps around 13 millions years ago), her importance is not to be understated, with more being learned even today. Lucy remains a very significant name in the scientific fields and popular science culture, especially those to do with ancient history.
With the information above, in a series of films where our worlds ancient history becomes our future, I couldn’t help but wonder if a character naming their child Lucy would do so on purpose. Surely the significance wouldn’t be lost on them? It seems too uncanny to be a coincidence, and I feel it’s safe to assume the screenwriters Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly are also familiar with those facts.
Rather unsurprisingly, I find myself pondering who in the franchise would name their child after a scientific discovery with such gravitas. While some may assume the paleo-past connection would favor Dr. Grant, I just don’t think that would be his style. Plus, I’m hard pressed to imagine a situation where Dr. Grant shows up in Jurassic World 2 AND has a child. That would take a ton of exposition to make believable, and I really cannot see it happening in a organic way. Where he was left off in Jurassic Park 3 does not really leave a path to that result – nor him returning in a sense-worthy fashion.
Then, I suppose we could look at Ian Malcolm.. we know he does like to have kids. I could certainly see him returning in Jurassic World 2, he’s like a moth to the flame, simply to have the chance to be right and say “I, uh, told you so”. But I just can’t imagine him naming a daughter – and we’re presuming the context is on purpose- Lucy. After his experience in Jurassic Park, the implications of a name tied to extinct history would be testing the chaotic nature of fate, far too close to experiences he’d like to forget.
So, where is this all leading? Why, Dr. Henry Wu (played by B.D. Wong) of course. Yes, he would have the hubris to name his child after such a momentous scientific discovery (in the real world it may be innocuous enough, but in the Jurassic universe it carries irrefutable clout). His work in bringing the extinct world into the extant, playing god, and exploring the history while defining the future is unparalleled. That name is the perfect fit if he were to have a daughter. Further, him having a daughter to interact with could add a complex layer to his characterization – helping add a more human element to the man who’s ego often leads to deadly results.
In Jurassic World Dr. Wu was played more like a villain, and while I doubt we’re going to be rooting for him in the sequel, adding empathy and motives to his persona would only play to the benefit of the story. Ideally, the inclusion of ‘Lucy’ would help drive and further define his character, perhaps playing in contrast to his less idealistic actions, reminding us that he’s a human, not a caricature. It also plays to the benefit of the audience, because while we may eventually think it’s best he becomes dino-food, the inclusion of his daughter now creates a situation to be dreaded and avoided. Will he be able to evolve, and see the dangers in his actions, or will he slip up and potentially put his daughter in harms way? The material is there, and while the Jurassic franchise has a rich history of roles for children, there has never been one quite like that.
Ultimately, I could be connecting the dots where none exist, and building a reconstruction of a fossil that never existed in actuality. In fact, that’s more than likely the case… but I covered that in the first paragraph. Despite the complete lack of evidence, I do feel like I’ve cracked the code on this one – although just earlier today I was favoring Malcolm’s return with another daughter, if only for the parallels to The Lost World. Yet until a definitive answer comes to light, I will continue to enjoy the thought that Dr. Wu may return in Jurassic World 2 with a more somber story than many expect.
Be sure to listen to our latest podcast where we discuss the “Lucy” casting and what it could mean for the franchise:
As always, sound off in the comments below – and be sure to share your crazy theories as well! Stay tuned, more news is surely on the horizon.