The May premiere for the upcoming Steven Spielberg TV project Terra Nova is drawing closer, and the stars are finally letting more information loose. In an interview yesterday, Stephen Lang (Col. Quaritch in Avatar) said that the prehistoric creatures would take inspiration from James Cameron’s biggest blockbuster.

Lang told TV Guide that the dazzling color scheme of Pandora was a direct inspiration for the landscape and monsters on Terra Nova. He said that designers were using “the colors of a peacock on creatures that will be every bit as exotic and alluring. They’ve created some really fetching stuff.”

Leading man Jason O’Mara talked about new bird-like dinosaurs nicknamed “Slashers,” created by applying the latest developments in paleontology to the show’s creature design. According to O’Mara, the Slashers will feature striking purple, blue and red feathers – not unlike some of the recent artists’ updated imaginings of  Jurassic Park‘s trademark velociraptors. O’Mara told TV Guide, ‘This is the first time we’re going to see, in an entertainment context, what dinosaurs actually looked like.”

Terra Nova takes place on ancient Earth, where a community of settlers has traveled back in time to escape the squalor and pollution of the planet’s future. Stephen Spielberg is the executive producer and Brannon Braga (Star Trek: The Next Generation, 24) is serving as the showrunner. Speculation on the project’s similarity to Avatar have run rampant since its announcement, and the casting of Stephen Lang only intensified the comparison.

In other news, Fox released a new teaser spot for the series. Terra Nova is scheduled to premiere in May, so expect more and more looks into its prehistoric world between now and then. The new spot doesn’t reveal much more than the Superbowl trailer, but this is just the first in what’s certainly going to be a long promotional cycle.

Watch the teaser spot:

Terra Nova is shaping up to be the television event of the summer – if not the year. While the producers are smart to capitalize on Avatar‘s massive media footprint (almost $3 billion can’t be wrong), the story, setting and drama seems to be different and compelling enough to win its own set of fans.

Terra Nova premieres on Fox this May.

Source: TV Guide, Collider