Where Does “Jurassic World” Fit in the “Jurassic Park” Canon?


Twenty-two years after Jurassic Park (1993) hit the silver screen, Steven Spielberg’s monster flick has spawned three additional movies, multiple video games, and a gazillion toys. That’s not even counting the two Michael Crichton novels that kickstarted the series. But when Jurassic World (2015) arrived in theaters, people seemed a little confused, especially since director Colin Trevorrow explained his film was a direct sequel to the original.

Did that mean The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) and Jurassic Park III (2001) were no longer canon? Well, that’s certainly what a lot of people thought. According to The Dissolve, “The events of The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III, which had the dinos expanding to another island (and a T-Rex in San Diego) apparently never happened.” Vanity Fair was also baffled, claiming that Trevorrow had driven the middle films to extinction.

So have Spielberg’s sequel and Joe Johnston’s solo effort really gone the way of the dinosaurs? Well, not according to Colin Trevorrow. In an interview with Yahoo!, the Jurassic World director stated The Lost World and Part III were still very much a part of the franchise. He was just setting them aside for the time being. After all, both films were set on Isla Sorna while Jurassic Park and Jurassic World took place on Isla Nublar. Since the films were set in different locations, Trevorrow didn’t see the need to prominently mention the other two films.

Colin Trevorrow says Jurassic World exists in the same universe as The Lost World and Jurassic Park III, but really, that doesn’t make any sense at all. How could InGen open another park after a T. Rex attacked San Diego? How could Simon Masrani start cloning new creatures after several Pterodactyls escaped from Isla Sorna? Either InGen is bribing every politician and media mogul on the planet, or the Jurassic World filmmakers weren’t paying very much attention to the franchise’s history. Sure, the events were casually mentioned on the viral site, but still, it doesn’t seem like anyone was really thinking through the implications of the last two films.

Of course, that’s not to say Jurassic World completely ignores its predecessors. If you’ve seen the movie, you will know there’s no shortage of direct references to the 1993 original. We briefly see a statue of John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) in the new Visitor Center, and we get a glimpse of everybody’s favorite cartoon character, Mr. DNA. There are also several scenes that parallel memorable moments from the first film, like the final showdown between the humans and the raptors, and the Apatosaurus sequence is incredibly similar to Jurassic Park’s sick Triceratops scene.

As for the other two films, there are a few references, but most of them are found online. If you visit Masrani Global, an official website set up by Universal Pictures, you will discover Jurassic World CEO Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) bought InGen in 1998, one year after the disastrous San Diego incident depicted in The Lost World. The site also explains that Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), head of Jurassic World security, played an important role in capturing the Pterodactyls that escaped from Isla Sorna in Part III. But as for direct references in the movie, well, Colin Trevorrow pretty much ignored The Lost World, but there is one sly reference to Part III. In the film’s crazy climax, the T. Rex totals a Spinosaurus skeleton, and if you remember, the Spinosaurus is the dino that killed T. Rex in the third film.

Now, we’d be amiss if we didn’t discuss Jurassic World’s relationship with the Jurassic Park novel (1990), written by Michael Crichton. While the two are pretty much completely different animals, there is one big similarity (other than the dinosaurs, of course). Both feature the character of Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong). Sure, the scientist made a brief appearance in the first film, but the role didn’t do the character (or actor) justice. Dr. Wu actually plays a much bigger part in the book and fourth film, though the screenwriters made quite a few changes to the head scientist. (Beware, some spoilers for the film and novel below.)

In the movie, Henry Wu is the park’s chief genetic engineer, and he’s also the guy in charge of creating Indominus rex. He obviously survived the first Jurassic Park, having escaped the island before the dinosaurs broke out, but he hasn’t learned his lesson quite yet. In fact, in the fourth film, we discover that he’s made an even bigger mistake. Not only is he creating a super dinosaur with an unholy combination of snake, cuttlefish, and raptor DNA, he’s also in league with InGen and Vic Hoskins to build a creature that might come in handy one day…as a military weapon.

In the novel, Wu is still the chief geneticist only he isn’t trying to create killing machines for bloodthirsty warmongers. Instead, he’s the guy who decided to fill the gaps in the dino DNA with bits of frog DNA, and he and Hammond often argue about park safety and whether or not these cloned creatures are real animals. While he does have a bad habit of cutting corners to please investors, he kind of redeems himself by helping turn the park’s power back on. Of course, since he’s one of the main brains behind this whole mess, Wu has to pay for his sins…by getting eaten by a Velociraptor. Too bad that didn’t happen in Jurassic World. That guy was a jerk.

But hey, if you’re interested in seeing all the ways Jurassic World paid homage to the original, be sure to check out the video below.