A number of “soft” franchise reboots hit theaters in 2015 and none were more commercially-successful than the new Jurassic Park and Star Wars movies; Jurassic World and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Rian Johnson has finished production on the followup to The Force Awakens, currently referred to as simply Star Wars: Episode VIII, and is now editing the film for a 2017 release. Meanwhile, director Juan Antonio Bayona is gearing up to get the cameras rolling on Jurassic World 2 (as it’s known for now) early next year, for a summer 2018 release date.
Similar to Episode VIII, specific plot details for the Jurassic World sequel are being kept under lock and key at this stage. It is known that Jurassic World stars Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt are reprising their roles as Claire and Owen in the next Jurassic adventure, and that Bayona’s background in horror/thriller moviemaking (see his acclaimed supernatural horror tale The Orphanage and tsunami disaster film The Impossible) will be reflected in the sequel. The film is similarly being described as specifically “more suspenseful and scary” than its predecessor by Jurassic World 2 co-screenwriter Colin Trevorrow (who also co-wrote/directed Jurassic World).
Variety is reporting that Toby Jones and Rafe Spall are currently signing on for roles in Jurassic World 2, joining Howard and Pratt as members of the film’s main cast. The outlet also reports that testing for two additional “key” roles in the sequel is now getting underway, but doesn’t elaborate beyond that.
Jones and Spall are both fairly prolific English character actors who are no strangers to pop genre fare; with Jones having played Dr. Arnim Zola in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Claudius Templesmith in The Hunger Games series, while Spall is perhaps most (in)famously known as the well-intentioned, if also naive, biologist Millburn in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. Jones can next be seen playing the mystery villain in Sherlock season 4, whereas Spall appeared on the small screen earlier this year in Cameron Crowe’s now-canceled Showtime TV series, Roadies.
The report from Variety offers no details about the characters whom Jones and Spall will be playing in the Jurassic World sequel, nor what the other two “key” roles being tested for the new dino adventure are. Jake Johnson has said that, until further notice, he’s not going to be reprising his Jurassic World role (as the Jurassic World attraction’s control room worker/geek Lowery Cruther) in the sequel. It stands to reason that other noteworthy human players from the first Jurassic World movie also won’t be appearing in the second installment – and not just those who had become dinosaur chow by the end of the film, either – making room for others to fill their spots.
It’s plausible that neither Nick Robinson nor Ty Simpkins will reprise their Jurassic World roles in a significant capacity in the sequel, for related reasons. The young actors’ characters (Zach and Gray) primarily served to advance Claire’s character arc in the first Jurassic World; now that they have fulfilled that purpose, there’s a reasonable chance that the Jurassic World sequel will featured a different pair of underage characters, instead. The Jurassic Park franchise has a tradition of changing up its kid actors for each installment, so that may yet continue with Jurassic World 2. Those two key roles being tested now might even be for another pair of youngsters who end up having to run for their lives from dinosaurs in the next Jurassic movie.