It’s a major part of the advertising for Jurassic World Dominion: the new movie, sixth in the overall franchise and third in the Jurassic World trilogy, is being billed as the “epic conclusion to the Jurassic era,” a sneaky combination of words that makes it seem as if this will be the last movie in the entire Jurassic Park/World saga that started back in 1993. Even the original stars of the first film—Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum—are back alongside current leads Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard for what has been advertised as a true grand finale.
But is it really?
Putting aside the quality of the film itself (which, judging from the shellacking it’s getting from critics, is quite lacking), if Jurassic World Dominion performs up to the billion-dollar standards of its recent predecessors at the box office, or even comes close enough, it’s hard to imagine Universal Pictures wanting to turn off what has been a reliably powerful spigot of cash for nearly 30 years.
We won’t go into the entire plot of the movie here, but by the end of this film, dinosaurs are still out and about in the world after their travels have taken them from Isla Nublar to northern California to the mountains of Italy. Their fate remains unclear as the film comes to a close, but the implication is they are here to stay and that humans must find a way to co-exist with them (which is pretty much where 2015’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom left us too, but that’s another article).
In other words, dinosaurs exist and the story vaguely promised by Dominion’s marketing—about humans dealing with the great beasts in the civilized world—is still out there, waiting to be told. Even Colin Trevorrow, who directed the first and third Jurassic Worlds while co-writing all three movies, says that there could be an opportunity to keep the narrative going.
“The equilibrium on the planet is left in a different place than it certainly was at the beginning of Jurassic Park, or even at the beginning of Jurassic World,” Trevorrow tells Den of Geek. “I feel like part of my job was to tend this garden for a period of time and leave it in great shape… so I wanted to leave all the possibilities on the table.”
But Trevorrow adds that he almost certainly won’t be the one to tell the next story. “I feel like I made a trilogy of movies, and it’s a lot,” he says. “It’s been nine years of my life. And I feel like the audience would probably agree that they’ve seen what I have to say about this. I think there would be a lot of interest in what another filmmaker had to say about it.”
In addition to a new director, we can probably anticipate seeing a whole new cast of (preferably better developed) characters as well. At least one member of the current cast, Bryce Dallas Howard, agrees with Trevorrow that it’s time to “pass the baton” after playing park-supervisor-turned-animal-rights-activist Claire Dearing in the three latest films.
“This is definitely the end of the road for our characters in terms of their journey,” Howard says. “Whether or not something happens in 30 years, like the case with the legacy characters [in Dominion], that remains to be seen. But it’s just been an incredible run, and the fact that the grand finale of Jurassic World is also the grand finale of Jurassic Park makes it a spectacle not to be missed.”
Of course, while this is billed as the grand finale of the two trilogies produced to date, no one is specifically saying that this is the end of the franchise itself—all you have to do is start another trilogy. And if one wants to really drill down into this, the marketing is calling this the end of the “Jurassic era.” So…Triassic Park, anyone? Fancy a climb up Mesozoic Mountain? There’s already a kids’ animated spinoff series called Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, so why not go all the way and welcome us to the Cretaceous Cosmos?
After all, life finds a way. And in Hollywood, so does intellectual property.
Jurassic World Dominion is out in theaters now.