Not for the first time, the blockbuster Jurassic franchise seems to have come to an end. This summer saw the release of Jurassic World Dominion – the third and final entry in the trilogy overseen by Colin Trevorrow, who returned to the director’s chair with an entry that united Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady and Bryce Dallas Howard’s Claire Dearing with the trio of characters from the original Jurassic Park: Sam Neill’s Alan Grant, Laura Dern’s Ellie Sattler, and Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm. But if Jurassic has taught us anything, it’s that extinction can be temporary – so while the dino-saga is going dormant for now, Trevorrow was keen for Dominion (now hitting home entertainment in a 14-minute-longer Extended Edition) to plant seeds for the future.
Speaking to Empire in Malta for a major new interview, marking the end of his decade working on Jurassic movies, Trevorrow spoke about how the evolution of the series in Dominion was no coincidence. “I specifically did something different than the other films in order to change the DNA of the franchise,” he explains – a move taken to provide fresh opportunities down the line. “The previous five films are plots about dinosaurs. This one is a story about characters in a world in which they coexist with dinosaurs. For the franchise to be able to move forward – because it’s inherently unfranchisable, there probably should have only been one Jurassic Park – but if we’re gonna do it, how can I allow them to tell stories in a world in which dinosaurs exist, as opposed to, here’s another reason why we’re going to an island?”
Trevorrow confirms that he had conversations with Universal about where the franchise could potentially go next – and Dominion’s fresh crop of faces hold plenty of storytelling opportunities. “This movie clearly takes a real interest in creating new characters that a new generation is going to latch on to – Kayla Watts [DeWanda Wise], and Mamoudou Athie’s character Ramsay Cole, who I think, in the Extended Edition, you really feel his purpose in a greater way. And Dichen Lachman’s character [Soyona Santos], who just gets arrested at the end,” the writer-director points out. “There’s more to come.”
But while Trevorrow sees paths ahead, promotional materials for Dominion pitched the World trilogy-capper with a greater sense of finality: ‘The epic conclusion of the Jurassic era’ was the tagline featured prominently on posters. “I never knew that this was the ending of the franchise until I saw the marketing,” Trevorrow admits. “Those guys are brilliant at what they do, but for me I think it might have been clearer if they’d said, ‘The end of an era’, as opposed to all of it. Because regardless of the cynical approach – of course they’re gonna want to make more money, which is what Jurassic World was about – a new dinosaur fan is born every day. Kids deserve these movies, and young filmmakers grow up on these stories – much like Peter Pan and The Wizard Of Oz and worlds we’ve returned to constantly.”
Given the multi-billion dollar grosses of the Jurassic World trilogy alone, it seems inevitable that the Jurassic saga will eventually return. As Trevorrow sees it, the pieces have been laid in place for another filmmaker to unearth them Alan Grant-style – and he’s ready to wait and see who presents a compelling plan for what happens next. “What I get fired up about is, if a table has been set here for another mind to do what I did with Steven [Spielberg] and sit down and say, ‘Listen, I’ve got an idea’, I would love for that person to sit with me, or Steven, and just be like, ‘I got it!’” You know what they say: life, uh, finds a way.
Read Empire’s full Colin Trevorrow interview – talking Jurassic World Dominion’s Extended Edition, his reflections on the trilogy, and where he goes from here – in the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever issue, on sale now and available to order online here. Jurassic World Dominion is out now on 4K, Blu-ray, digital and DVD.