Given just how monumental and beloved the original Jurassic Park turned out to be for an entire generation (if not more than one), it went without saying that those tasked with bringing Jurassic World to life weren’t just facing incredible pressure from the outside, but from their own investment and affection for the property. However, it also gave director Colin Trevorrow and the assembled crew the opportunity to show their love for the original film and sequels in ways too numerous – and tiny – for fans to catch on their first viewing.
If you’re headed back for a repeat performance, or simply eager to see the easter eggs, trivia and references to past films that slipped by, then our list should cover the bases. To be clear, it’s unnecessary to point out each way in which the original film’s action is recreated or directly referenced – instead, we’re pointing out the connections most viewers are likely to have missed. Needless to say, there will be SPOILERS in our list, so, read at your own risk.
MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW
When audiences first meet young Gray (Ty Simpkins), his eyes are glued to a View-Master, taking in 3D images of dinosaur figurines embroiled in combat. Though some have reported these images as being taken from The Lost World (1925) based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original novel, they are not. The first image is found in a very real View-Master cartridge titled “Prehistoric Animals,” with the second image pulled from Warner Bros.’ The Animal World (1956) as a nod to the earliest stop-motion days of big screen dinosaurs.
God Creates Dinosaurs
B.D. Wong may be the only member of the original film’s cast to make an appearance in the flesh (as Dr. Henry Wu), but Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) does the next best thing. His book entitled “God Creates Dinosaurs” was teased through viral marketing ahead of the film, but appears in the hands of the boys’ chaperone, Zara (Katie McGrath). When the kids are shown riding the Jurassic World monorail, Malcolm’s face on the rear of the book can be seen between them in the row behind, then later on Lowery’s (Jake Johnson) desk.
The park now known as Jurassic World is a long way ahead of the original resort/safari planned by John Hammond, but it hasn’t forgotten where it came from. Though the differences between the original film’s entry gates and those of the updated resort are obvious, the monorail’s PA system claims that they are – at least in the film’s fiction – the very same gates, restored (and potentially upgraded). We’ll overlook the changes for the sake of nostalgia.
Spared No Expense
Speaking of the monorail, the voice informing guests of the gate’s legacy is that of director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol). After acting as something of a mentor for director Colin Trevorrow in his leap to blockbusters – allowing him to observe the production of Tomorrowland – he requested Bird record the voiceover for the monorail welcome. The director was all too happy to oblige.
Not every person responsible for making Jurassic Park the success it was actually lived to see Jurassic World‘s release, including Stan Winston, the visionary practical effects and animatronics expert who brought the dinosaurs of all three Jurassic Park movies to life. After passing in 2008, Winston’s top four supervisors founded a new studio – Legacy Effects – in memory of his lasting impact on the industry. Putting their efforts to work on Jurassic World, Winston is directly commemorated in the form of Winston’s Steakhouse, a restaurant visible in the park’s main strip.
Another somewhat-cameo from the original film comes once Gray and Zach (Nick Robinson) arrive in the Hammond Creation Lab, named for the man who originally dreamed of recreating dinosaurs to delight child and parent alike. The appearance of ‘Mr. DNA’ on a computer screen is a brief one, but impossible to miss. What even die-hard fans might miss, as /Film discovered, is that the genetic mascot is voiced by Trevorrow himself. the original voice actor Greg Burson having also passed away, Trevorrow recorded a temporary read in his best impersonation. With a few effects added, the impression was so accurate, it was simply left in the film.
Hammond Creation Lab
It was a strange twist of fate that after John Hammond was made the namesake of Jurassic World’s most exuberant and impressive facility, actor Richard Attenborough’s own failing health finally gave out. The statue intended as a monument to the fictional figure – visible when Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) first meets the boys, then later as raptors pursue them out into the street, also allowed Attenborough to return, if only in spirit.
Not every easter egg or nod to the original has to be a substantial one. As Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler and the rest of the cast debate the morality of genetically engineering dinosaurs over a dinner of Chilean sea bass, projectors surround them with financial estimates, future attractions, and more. One screen manages to stick out for the detail-obsessed fans – and while “Jurassic Tennis” may sound like a trivial re-branding of tennis, a large video screen in the Creation Lab shows that Jurassic Tennis has, indeed, been made a reality.
American paleontologist Jack Horner made his career on disputed theories – which would turn out to be correct – and has put his expertise on dinosaurs to work as the technical advisor on the Jurassic Park series from the start. He earns his own cameo, fittingly, in the first Velocirapter sequence. After Owen (Chris Pratt) first demonstrates his leadership of the raptor pack, Horner can be seen giving a high five to another park employee, before being patted on the shoulder by Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio).
When it becomes clear that Gray and Zach aren’t the priority for their Aunt Claire that their mother had hoped, the sisters share a tearful phone call about the importance of family (a regular theme for the movie series). In an odd twist of industry fate, it’s not the first time that actresses Bryce Dallas Howard and Judy Greer have appeared as sisters, having played siblings in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village.
Verizon Wireless Presents…
Claire’s revelation that the genetic hybrid dinosaur will be unveiled to the world with branding courtesy of Verizon Wireless, Lowery responds by wondering why the park doesn’t sell out completely, and allow private companies to purchase naming rights to dinosaurs as they would an arena or stadium. Despite what viewers may think, the reference to Verizon, like the presence of Starbucks, IMAX, and more scattered throughout Jurassic World was NOT a request made by Universal. Instead, it was the filmmakers who felt that rampant corporate sponsorship fit with the film’s themes of ownership and big business.
The sheer size and ferocity of Jurassic World’s mosasaurus is made perfectly clear when it is shown to clamp its jaws around a great white shark in a single bite (apparently, more than once a day). The parallel to producer Steven Spielberg leaving his first movie monster, Jaws behind in favor of even more terrifying monsters is clear, and was the direct intention of Trevorrow. Oh, how times have changed.
It was Ian Malcolm who exposed millions to the notion of Chaos Theory, and the unpredictability of complex systems. Though Malcolm was using the lesson to woo Ellie Sattler in Jurassic Park, his demonstration that two drops of water landing in the same spot will rarely behave the same was sound. In Jurassic World, the experiment is recreated – in blood. Specifically, blood dripping onto the arm of one Asset Containment soldier (played by Brian Tee) from the Indominus rex’s removed tracker.
Less an easter egg, and more of an explanation here: it’s hard to miss NBC late night host Jimmy Fallon as he appears during Gray and Zach’s Gyrosphere ride to offer a safety video, along with a few slaptick gags. It may seem a completely odd inclusion to those who have never taken a tour of Universal Studios, in which Fallon also appears to perform the same task.
Not Just Any Jeep
When Gray and Zach flee the Indominus rex on foot, they come across the Visitors Center from the original park. After picking through the “When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth” banner and familiar murals (along with the night-vision goggles from the first movie), they discover and set to resurrecting a gas-powered Jeep. But the vehicle isn’t one which randomly survived for the intervening two decades: it’s vehicle “029,” the same Jeep Wrangler that drove John Hammond and Donald Genarro (Martin Ferrerro) from the helicopter pad to the Visitors Center in Jurassic Park‘s first act.
Eagle-eyed viewers will have noticed that one of the previously-mentioned corporate sponsorships visible in the film is Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, the chain of restaurants created by the singer-songwriter, having branched out with an Isla Nublar location. One of the film’s stranger laughs comes during the Pteranadon and Dimorphodon attack, when a man can be seen fleeing the flying dinosaurs – careful not to spill either of his margaritas. Look a bit closer, and his dedication becomes clear: that’s Jimmy Buffett himself, in a second-long cameo.
An Old Friend
As it should always be in a story bearing the Jurassic Park name, it’s the Tyrannosaurus rex who emerges to remind all newcomers who the reigning king really is. Casual viewers may not realize the the T. rex which arrives in the film’s climax – and is previously seen chowing down on a goat – is the exact same one that appeared in Jurassic Park, saving the day by killing a handful of raptors. That battle was a more decisive victory, but look closely, and scars from that encounter are visible on the beast’s sides.
If the T. rex throwdown wasn’t enough proof that Trevorrow holds the dinosaur above all others, then another not-too-subtly easter egg should do the trick. Both the T. rex and Velociraptors returned in the Jurassic Park sequel, The Lost World, but with Jurassic Park 3, director Joe Johnston tried something different. The villain of that film was the spinosaurus aegyptiacus, distinguished by its long snout and large sail. The shift away from the rex proved divisive among many fans, but it returns in skeletal form in the park’s main strip. Whether intentional or not, the T. rex smashing it to pieces before taking on Indominus sets the record straight, once and for all.
Those are all the tiny easter eggs and references we’ve been able to spot so far, but if you have more, be sure to leave them in the commets. If you’ve seen the movie and want to discuss details about the film without worrying about spoiling it for those who haven’t seen it, please head over to our Jurassic World Spoilers Discussion.
Jurassic World is now playing in U.S. theaters.