How A Small Dino Became Something Bigger

Frank Michelotta/PictureGroup

Key milestones on Terra Nova's path from pitch to page and on to primetime.

Spring 2009: Former WMA agent-turned-producer Aaron Kaplan reads Gondawana Highway, a 12-page short story by British writer Kelly Marcel. Soon after, he'll bring aboard former client Craig Silverstein to pen the project.

September 2009: Fox picks up Terra Nova, with 20th Century Fox TV boarding as the show's studio. The first official outline, only alluding to dinosaurs, is delivered two months later.

January 2010: Peter Chernin and Steven Spielberg sign on as producers. Fox orders 13 episodes, skipping the traditional pilot stage. Spielberg's involvement will bring dinosaurs to the screen.

April 2010: Former Star Trek: The Next Generation producer Brannon Braga signs on; later, he brings in Rene Echevarria as showrunner, allowing him more time to focus on writing.

July 2010: The team decides to film in Australia, bypassing Hawaii, Florida, Louisiana and New Zealand. Fox disappoints fans and pulls out of its planned Comic-Con panel. 

December 2010: Production on the premiere wraps. Weeks later, the series is pushed from midseason to fall, with a May preview following American Idol planned.

January 2011: Fox offers the media a buzz-worthy first-look trailer at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena. Weeks later, the network ups the exposure and unspools an extended trailer during the Super Bowl.

March 2011: Terra Nova's two-hour, two-night debut is pushed to September. Fox cites visual effects delays; the natives grow restless. New scenes are added to boost the family story.

July 2011: After canceling its panel in 2010, the first hour of Terra Nova screens at Comic-Con to a room of 4,000 potential fans eager for more man vs. dinosaur action.

September 2011: Terra Nova will premiere with a two-hour episode at 8 p.m. Sept. 26. Key international markets also are gearing up to sync with the domestic launch.