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Comic-Con 2011: No T-Rex Coming to 'Terra Nova' (Video)

Plus Stephen Lang tells THR the differences between his "Avatar" military villain and his new character on the Fox action-adventure drama.

Terra Nova
Brook Rushton/FOX
"Terra Nova"

After more than a year of anticipation, Fox’s Terra Nova made its Comic-Con debut Saturday.

Fans were treated to dinosaurs big and small as well as visual effects and technology that made the iPad look archaic. Missing from the display for the drama described as Avatar meets Jurassic Park was the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

According to the action-adventure series' producers, the T-Rex won’t be seen, at least during the show's first season.

With Steven Spielberg among the executive producers involved, the Jurassic Park director asked executive producers Brannon Braga and Rene Echevarria to avoid using dinosaurs that would appear too familiar.

“He’s asked us never to repeat anything that he’s done,” Echevarria told The Hollywood Reporter.

“[Spielberg has said], ‘Please no T-rex in the first season,’ ” Braga told THR. “He’s just so identifiable from Jurassic Park. It was not a limitation in any way, shape or form. In fact, some of the dinosaurs we’re designing we are creating on our own.”

The creative team has been working with paleontologist Jack Horner, who previously worked with Spielberg on Jurassic Park, on the depiction of dinosaurs on the series and their plans to take advantage of the fact that only 10 percent of the dinosaurs that existed during the Jurassic era have been accounted for in the fossil record.

“The T-rex is from the Jurassic era, which is earlier [than the world in which Terra Nova is set],” Echevarria said. “Horner has all sorts of cool ideas about things we might see and things that have never been shown on television before -- or even in any of Mr. Spielberg’s movies.”

“Those are big footsteps to walk in,” Echevarria added during the panel. “Having Mr. Spielberg involved, he very much wanted to break new ground.”

The first half of the two-hour pilot screened during the Ballroom 20 panel and received the biggest reaction – one very large gasp in unison – when a dinosaur came from out of nowhere and plucked a poor security guy out of his car during a pursuit, with co-star Stephen Lang joking afterward that there would be more of that to come.

“Considering the reaction that that scene got, I figure there will be a mandate from the network that there will be one eating per week,” said Lang, who flew in for Comic-Con from filming on the series in Australia.

The Braga and Echevarria both noted that the series would continue to fulfill fans’ cravings for man vs. dinosaur fight scenes. “We’ll satisfy your blood-lust,” Braga offered.

For Lang, meanwhile, the role marks another high-profile gig in a fantasy adventure project and an opportunity to work with his second “visionary” after recently spending so much time on Fox’s big-screen record-breaker Avatar with James Cameron.

Avatar, thinking back on it, was an extraordinary time working with an extraordinary visionary,” he told THR.Terra Nova I could say the exact same thing about. As it happens, they’re two different visionaries and two different worlds. The stakes are high on both projects, and the roles are both military guys and are very distinct.”

Watch the video below to hear Lang’s thoughts on working with Spielberg and Cameron and how his role on Terra Nova is both similar and different to Avatar.

Terra Nova premieres Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. on Fox.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com
Twitter: @Snoodit

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