Jurassic World expands with animated series

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The Jurassic Park franchise has just expanded with Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, a brand-new animated series now streaming on Netflix.

The spin-off show is seen to fill the gap while kids (and even adult fans) wait for the third and final installment to the Jurassic World saga. That was what The STAR learned from American filmmaker Colin Trevorrow during a recent virtual interview.

Colin, who directed the first and upcoming third Jurassic World movies (he co-wrote and executive-produced the sequel), is one of the executive producers on Camp Cretaceous along with Jurassic Park original director-producer Steven Spielberg.

Happening within the timeline of the 2015 blockbuster Jurassic World, Camp Cretaceous follows a group of unsuspecting teenagers who end up getting trapped at a new adventure camp located on the opposite side of Isla Nublar, the primary setting of the Jurassic films. Unable to reach the outside world, the six teens will go from strangers to friends to family as they band together to survive the dinosaur outbreak and discover secrets so deep and dangerous to the world itself.

According to Colin, the idea of the animated series was born following the success of the first installment of the Jurassic reboot in 2015. “(The idea) wasn’t as early as 2015 because we didn’t know whether the film was going to be successful or not. I tend to make no plans until the audience asks for more.

“But once we started heading toward the second film (in 2018), this idea came up. And we felt like it was an opportunity, since we were planning out the second film and the third film in detail together, to find a way to weave this into the story that we were building, at the same time, retroactively weaving it into Jurassic World. So, you see a lot of the scenes and moments that we know are happening alongside the events of that movie.”

As for the partnership with Netflix, he said it happened very early in the process of creating this series. “It’s a different kind of distribution than the theatrical obviously for many reasons. But it does still have the ability for everyone in the world who has access to Netflix, which at this point are a great many people, to experience something at the same time.

“And that’s the thing I love about theatrical distribution as well as not just a shared experience in the theater but the shared experience on a global level. We have a shared culture in so many ways when it comes to entertainment. On (Sept. 18), dozens and dozens of countries will have kids that will watch this all at the same time and it’s very exciting for me.”

During the virtual interview, Colin also talked about the challenges of doing an animated series versus a live-action project, working with the Spielberg and filming Jurassic World 3: Dominion amidst a pandemic. Read on.

On being attached to the Jurassic franchise as director of the trilogy and executive producer of the series:

“I feel very fortunate that I’ve even been able to play in the sandbox at all. And now that I’ve been doing it for many years, it’s just really something that’s become a part of my life in a really huge way, not just my career, but of my life, you know, with my family. And so much of it has been defined by this responsibility to make sure that this legacy lives on and is respected and we recognize where it came from. I kind of see myself as a bit more of a gardener, like I’m tending to this garden. I didn’t plan it. I’m a custodian of this, and I’m very sincere in how grateful I am for all of it.”

On why the dinosaur-packed franchise introduced an animated series:

“The story is that we recognize, you know, that we only make one of these movies every three years, and we put a lot of time and heart and care into them. And yet, if you’re a kid and you’re six years old, and you love Jurassic World, three years is half of your life. And it’s a long time! And so we wanted to be able to make something that kids could go to and get that fix and have the experience with dinosaurs that they love so much, at home, you know, without having to wait for us.”

On how challenges are same/different between live-action and animation:

“Honestly, I think the challenge is always to create characters who feel like real people. And that goes for live action as well. But in animation, the characters can be so expressive. But to have the kinds of struggles that young kids really go through and just the challenges of being alive in the modern world is something that we really wanted to make sure to infuse into this so (that) it just wasn’t only a fun show, it was something that would mean something to young people.”

On executive-producing Camp Cretaceous alongside Spielberg:

“He puts a lot of faith in me and it’s something I really appreciate in guiding all of this forward. But I do go to him in key moments and crucial moments, and ask for his advice. And then on a macro-level is him giving these writers permission in a lot of ways to be as openly creative as possible.

“And the one thing that he said very clearly to everyone is he didn’t just want this to be a kid’s show, he wanted this to be Jurassic which means that the kids are in real danger. And that’s something we’ve done in all of the films. Pretty consistently, it has shown that not only is nobody safe, and then you know dinosaurs don’t discriminate in human life, when it comes to who deserves it or who doesn’t. You know, they’re animals… And it gave writers a great freedom to create a show that has a level of tension in it because you’re not really sure who’s safe and who isn’t.”

On directing Jurassic World: Dominion (reportedly to be released in 2021) during this time of pandemic:

“You know, it’s a time of great solidarity amongst the people making this film, and yes there are really pretty strict protocols that we’ve put in place, I will be the first to admit, and maybe we’ve gone beyond what is absolutely necessary. But that’s a choice that we made, because we just want everyone to be as safe as possible and we want to be able to finish this film, and, you know, it’s the livelihoods of so many when it comes to our crew and people who are working for us.

“And I’m just astounded and really moved by how everyone has risen to the occasion in this movie. And we all show up in our masks every single day, and we are tested three times a week and we take our temperature checks every morning when we show up and I’ve been quarantined away from my family for four months, I’ve seen them for two days out of those four months, and all of these things we’ve done because we care so much about it. And I really believe it’s going to show in the movie that we’re making.”