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SYFY WIRE Jurassic World

Jurassic World Live Tour adding two elements to canon, including a new dinosaur

By Josh Weiss
Jurassic World Live Tour

Before Colin Trevorrow’s third Jurassic World movie stomps into theaters in the summer of 2021, Feld Entertainment and NBCUniversal (owner of SYFY Wire) are taking the franchise on the road in a revolutionary live show that blends real actors with state-of-the-art animatronics.

While the production brings back all the fan favorites, like the T. rex, velociraptors, and Indominus rex, there are also a number of surprises that longtime fans of the franchise may not be expecting.

Today, SYFY WIRE attended a behind-the-scenes demonstration for Jurassic World Live Tour and learned more about the plot and its central dinosaur hero, a Troodon named Jeanie. This particular specie of dinosaur, which lived during the Cretaceous period and is considered to be the smartest that ever lived, is a brand-new addition to the Jurassic Park canon.

"She’s slightly smaller in size than, say, a raptor, but she can still go toe to toe with a raptor. Very intelligent, she conveys a lot of emotion and inquisitiveness," said project manager Corey McCourt at the event.

"They’re that far advanced, and it’s believed that if the dinosaurs didn’t go extinct, that [they] would have actually evolved and still be around today," added Associate Producer Chris Nobles.

Jeanie actually showed up in the scaly flesh to interact with the gathered members of the press.

Jeanie the Troodon at Jurassic World Live event
However, Jeanie's not the only new addition to this mythos. The central plot of the show  (which is set between Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) also revolves around a device known as a "Dino Decoder." Created by Isla Nublar scientist Dr. Kate Walker (Madison Embrey), the Decoder can turn dinosaur emotions into a format that humans are able to understand.

"This is a new bit of technology that translates dinosaur thoughts and emotions into human language, so we can determine whether a dinosaur feels happy or sad or angry or scared," said Ross Nicholson, one of the production's co-directors.

While fans may be curious why we haven't seen Jeanie or Kate in the franchise before, Nobles said that they've always been there in the background, just not essential to the story of Owen Grady (Chris Pratt), Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), and the rest of the characters we already know.

"[Kate] has her own lab just like Owen has his lab. It’s just that camera shift of ‘What’s going on over here?’ And she’s working with the Troodons, just to work on their brain activity and to see what’s going on in their heads."

Of course, no Jurassic World event would be complete without a guest appearance from Blue herself, the raptor trained by Owen. Just like Jeanie, she also showed up to take selfies, snarl a bit, and look generally menacing.

Blue at Jurassic World Live event

To perfectly capture the look and feel of the live-action movies, the production got plenty of consultation from Steven Spielberg, Colin Trevorrow, and Frank Marshall.

"The thing that Steven Spielberg said to us [is that] he wanted us to really make sure that we had that humor in our show," Nicholson said. "So, we’ve been really careful in our script to make sure that we really bring that out. All the key hallmarks of the franchise [are on display]: the awe and wonder, the action-adventure, the thrills, and above everything else, the humor."

Nicholson's co-director, Dan Shipton, added:

“Steven was also telling us about when he was making Jurassic Park, that his dream was make a full-sized T. rex, but he never got around to it. He obviously did what he did, and it made an incredible film. So, when he went back to it and CGI had moved on, they just jumped the animatronic part and made the T. rex with CGI. He’s so excited that we’re getting a real, full animatronic T. rex on the stage, and that’s something that he had dreamed of and was excited that we’re actually making that dream come true for him.”

Jurassic World Live Tour - Blue beholds her audience

Jurassic World Live Tour kicks off in Columbus, Ohio, this September and will travel along the East Coast and part of the Midwest into the spring of 2020. For a full schedule of the tour, click here.

Jurassic World 3, directed and co-written by Trevorrow, opens in theaters June 11, 2021.