New York Comic-Con brought together some of the members of the development team for Netflix’s animated science fiction adventure series Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous for a remotely conducted group interview, broadcast on October 9th. The panel was hosted by TV Guide senior writer Damian Holbrook, and finished with a massive reveal concerning the future of the show.
Joining Holbrook were creator and consulting producer Zack Stentz (Andromeda, Agent Cody Banks), executive producers Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World, The Book of Henry) and Scott Kreamer (Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, Fanboy & Chum Chum), story editor Josie Campbell (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Right Now Kapow), and staff writers Sheela Shrinivas (Sanjay and Craig, Pinky Malinky), Rick Williams (Packages from Planet X, Malibu Rescue: The Series) and Bethany Armstrong Johnson (Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny).
Stentz began by identifying the question that had ignited the show’s development process, all the way back in spring of 2017. He wanted to know what it would be like to place kids in the dangerous theme park and have them learn self-reliance to survive in a world without the presence of heroic adults. Kreamer reportedly felt that the concept should not have to capitulate to the lighthearted approach typical to children’s television. He related an anecdote about how he supervised the re-recording of the child performers’ screams because he felt that their first takes did not properly convey the terror of having one’s life threatened by reanimated prehistoric animals. Williams cited the episode “Happy Birthday, Eddie,” written by Campbell, as a great example of the way the series does justice to the ingenuity and fearlessness of today’s youths when their interactions with an adult scientist reveal him to be comparatively unfriendly and cowardly.
Cleverness and bravery may be attributes that could describe the main characters by the end of the series, but those have to be brought out of them through teamwork. Campbell led the Season 1 writer’s room and cited the classic teen film The Breakfast Club as inspiration, specifically the way it gets drama out of familiar character archetypes just being in the same room together. Shrinivas wrote the penultimate episode, “Last Day of Camp,” which fellow writer Johnson spoke about as the moment when the divide between the characters’ personae and personalities comes down and the kids honestly deal with their vulnerabilities. Shrinivas admitted that caustic, introverted Yasmina was hard to get a handle on until she realized that she’d made her priority the character’s likability rather than her relatable qualities. Williams stated that he felt close to the children in the show precisely because they were written to feel relatable. “I went to school with every one of those kids,” he remarked. Speculation about characters’ potential couple pairings, which dominated the chat during the YouTube live-stream, went unremarked upon by the panel.
Campbell admitted that the character she related to most was brainy, dinosaur-crazy Darius, so it came as no surprise to her fellow panel members when she launched into an enthusiastic discussion of the dinosaur characters that populate the animated Jurassic World. Kreamer talked about how he knew the kids wouldn’t be equipped to square off against Verizon Wireless Presents the Indominus Rex, from Trevorrow’s 2015 film. Therefore he invited the writers to do a little extra research, and they soon settled on the Carnotaurus, with its vestigial forelimbs and menacing horns. References to Steven Spielberg’s original film franchise were rare, although Stentz claims to have alluded to an early Spielberg triumph in his script for the sixth episode, “Welcome to Jurassic World.” He compared the group’s encounter with the Mosasaurus, a giant marine lizard, to Spielberg’s seminal horror blockbuster Jaws.
When queried about the future of the show, Trevorrow and Kreamer were clear about wanting to continue work on Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous. They felt that, while the first season did a great job with getting the children to cohere as a unit, now that they’re all united, they need to have further adventures to put that teamwork into practice. As far as they are concerned, the real story has just begun. Kreamer revealed that the show will return in early 2021, which functioned as his introduction for the first Season 2 teaser.
At the end of the day, it seems as if it was Trevorrow who summed up the evergreen appeal of the franchise best. “A dinosaur fan is born every minute,” he declared.
Season 1 of Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous is available to stream on Netflix.