After last summer's Jurassic World scored mostly positive reviews and raked in $1.6 billion at the worldwide box office, Universal knew they had another hit franchise they could continue. It shouldn't come as any surprise that Jurassic World 2 is on track for a June 2018 release date, with stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard in line to reprise their roles from the previous film.
One person who won't be joining the actors is Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow, who signed on to helm Star Wars: Episode IX for Lucasfilm shortly after Jurassic's success. As such, the studio is on the hunt for a new helmsman, and they may already have their eyes set on a possible candidate.
Deadline is reporting that Juan Antonio Bayona is the one to watch for as the Jurassic World 2 director search heats up. He was previously rumored to be attached to the project in September 2015, before he took the World War Z 2 job. However, Bayona recently dropped out of Brad Pitt's zombie sequel due to timing concerns, so it looks like he'll have a clear schedule when he wraps his A Monster Calls adaptation.
While Universal is still going through possibilities, there are a couple of factors that play into Bayona's favor. For starters, Bayona has a close relationship with Jurassic World producer Frank Marshall and others on his team. In a massive franchise such as this, the filmmakers behind the project would most likely want to work with somebody they're comfortable with and know personally, in an effort to ensure everything runs smoothly. That's not necessarily a prerequisite to land a directing gig, but it certainly helps. And since this is the second time Bayona's name has popped up for Jurassic World 2, it seems like Marshall is keen on getting him on board.
Bayona is a rising talent behind the camera, having achieved critical acclaim with dramas The Orphanage and The Impossible (the latter of which earned Naomi Watts an Oscar nomination). He may not be the first one who comes to mind when thinking of potential Jurassic World 2 directors, but there was a time when Trevorrow was only known as the director of Safety Not Guaranteed, and now he's building quite the résumé in Hollywood. As the old saying goes, everyone starts somewhere, and calling the shots on a Jurassic Park sequel is a surefire way to get your name out there and leave an impression with moviegoers. Marshall's seen record-breaking success plucking an unknown director out of obscurity, so it is a proven formula.
After the first Jurassic World divided fans upon its release, some may hope that Universal goes with a more experienced director on the sequel. That said, a majority of that movie's issues could be chalked up to the script, rather than Trevorrow's filmmaking capabilities. As long as Trevorrow and co-writer Derek Connolly (who both had a hand in penning the Jurassic World screenplay) crafted a thrilling, compelling adventure for the sequel, everything should turn out fine. After Universal struck gold with last summer's dinosaur adventure, they're going to make sure the franchise is in good hands as it continues for a new generation.
Jurassic World 2 opens in theaters June 22, 2018.