Earlier this year, our own Britt Hayes wrote a brief history of the times when modern filmmakers compared their movies to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. It was a pretty revealing trend; as movie studios scrambled to give audiences the dark and gritty franchises they assumed audiences wanted, more and more filmmakers used Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises as a kind of fanboy secret handshake.

I couldn’t help but think about Britt’s article again today while I read through the comments by J.A. Bayona on his vision for Jurassic World 2. In a conversation with Spanish news site EFE (via /Film), Bayona compared his upcoming film to another staple of fanboy secret handshakes everywhere: The Empire Strikes Back.

It will be darker and scarier than the previous film. Obviously when you have Chris Pratt, it will also be very funny. But it will be darker. It is a second step in a trilogy, and the second step is always dark as in The Empire Strikes Back or the Wrath of Khan, which are the examples you always get.

I’m not entirely sure how you pitch a movie as ‘darker’ and ‘scarier’ while still assuring fans that Chris Pratt will still be as funny as ever. Even in the horror genre, hybrid comedies invariably suffer from their desire to balance fear with humor in equal amounts. Bayona does point to both The Empire Strikes Back and Wrath of Khan as overplayed comparisons, but that doesn’t stop him from still making them.

Bayona also went on to provide a few updates on the story and tone of Jurassic World 2:

The film takes the story where it has never been before. To me, it surprised me. We are going to places where the saga has never been before, and at the same time we are paying tribute to the franchise. We will take it a step further. There are things that will happen that people are not expecting and they really are shocking.

So there you have it. The new Jurassic World movie will be both funny, and terrifying, and pay tribute to the movies that have come before, while diverging wildly from the previous movies as well. Look, I know this is the kind of PR speak that filmmakers need to do to sell their films, but some day, I’d like to see a filmmaker deviate from the script a little and tell us what he really thinks. Do your thing, Bayona, and make something interesting to the best of your abilities. And maybe someday someone will refer to their movie as the next Jurassic World 2.

Jurassic World 2 will hit theaters on June 22, 2018.

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