Last week we learned the title of Jurassic Park 4 - it's to be called Jurassic World. Immediately after that some video from this summer's Star Wars Celebration in Germany was recontextualized; it was a pitch reel for something also called Jurassic World. The internet exploded: was this a look at what we might see in the new film coming in 2015?
Almost as soon as the video hit it was debunked. We were told, via official channels, that it was a proof of concept for a video game that never went anywhere. The end. Right? Not quite.
Here's the truth: that Jurassic World teaser was for a movie. And a video game. It was part of a proposal for a big, multimedia relaunch of the Jurassic Park franchise that was headed by Iain McCaig, the guy who designed Darth Maul. I have talked to sources who worked on the reel and they have confirmed with me that it was absolutely intended to show off ideas for a new film, one where dinosaurs would begin attacking California - basically a bigger scale version of Jurassic Park: The Lost World.
But it was also going to be a game and have an internet component. All of these aspects would be tied together to tell one big new franchise story, in the great transmedia tradition of the 00s. Which makes sense, as this pitch reel is from 2011, and the concept was kicking around before the reel was made.
The reel that ended up online was very specifically made for Steven Spielberg, Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, the big producers behind the series. Spielberg is a busy guy with a ton of projects going on at any time; one of the best ways to grab his interest is to come to him with something immediate, visual and visceral. The reel, reminiscent of the Dinosaurs Attack! trading card series, is all of that. It's also rough, because it was quickly put together to get across a basic concept, not be a true showpiece for audiences outside the producing team.
Did it work? Well, this version of Jurassic World didn't get made. Iain McCaig is off working with Bad Robot on the new Star Wars films. But the franchise is back in action in cinematic form: could the title mean that the original concept is still in play? I suspect not, and that it was chosen from a list of potential titles that Universal already had laying around. But if the original Jurassic World concept is happening, expect something much pulpier and boys-adventure than the previous three films.