Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom's ending explained

If you walked away from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom with a bit of whiplash, don't be alarmed. This follow-up to the smash 2015 reboot-slash-sequel (requel?) packed roughly three different movies into one lengthy runtime. Each act could easily stand on its own before the big finish brings everything together — and swiftly smashes it all to bits.

Taking place three years after the events of Jurassic World, it takes some creative maneuvering and suspension of disbelief to get our old friends Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) back to Isla Nublar, and the visit goes just about as smoothly as one might expect. That's just the start of their troubles, too, as they face even bigger monsters on the mainland. Let's take a look at what exactly happens there at the tail end of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and tie together all of the film's plot threads.

A bedside betrayal

The introduction of deep-pocketed dino philanthropist Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell) serves multiple purposes: first, his substantial fortune and fascination with prehistoric creatures and science explains how Hammond (the late Richard Attenborough) could afford to "spare no expense" on the original Jurassic Park concept; plus, it puts a nice and friendly face on the new Isla Nublar expedition to convince people to join in, especially those who were involved with the massacre in the original. Lockwood plays on Claire's desire to save these dinosaurs from certain extinction by volcano eruption, and she in turn plays on Owen's personal connection to the raptor Blue.

Lockwood may have been sincere about saving the dinosaurs, but his smarmy assistant Eli Mills (Rafe Spall) is much too greedy to simply rehouse these animals on some tranquil island. Instead, he's ready to round up whatever creatures he can to auction them off to the highest bidder. At the same time, he's also aiding the mad geneticist Dr. Wu (B.D. Wong) in creating an even more lethal — and valuable — weapon of war called the indoraptor. This thing is a hybrid of the indominus rex and the velociraptor, and even more menacing than its parent species. Once Mills' true intentions are discovered by Lockwood, he decides to smother his longtime benefactor to death and go about the business of turning his late boss' passion project into a personal fortune.

A particular taste

Mills has no trouble rounding up buyers for his menagerie of monsters after his henchman Ken Wheatley (Ted Levine) saves the priority pieces from the dying island. Blue is the VIP target for which Claire and Owen have been recruited to the mission, but it's not about preserving the animal, or Owen's breakthrough behavioral research, so much as it is making her part of the war machine development process. The indoraptor Wu has created is already capable of inflicting a lot of damage, but the plan is to make another one that grows up with Blue as its mommy so that it can pick up her trained traits of empathy and emotional intelligence.

The prototype that's displayed (and unwisely auctioned off) to Mills' crowd is a merciless killing machine that won't be any good to a squadron of soldiers running with it. Owen and Claire could easily walk away from the fray at Lockwood's estate once they get the pachycephalosaurus to break them out, but instead Owen decides to hang around long enough to ensure Wu's gene-spliced monstrosity won't ever leave the manor alive because he knows what it's capable of. That's when all hell breaks loose at the Lockwood auction.

Granddaughter, but emphasis on daughter

Poor Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon). She spends her whole life being cared for by the ailing, secretive man she knows as her grandpa, and he refuses to even show her a photo of the mother she supposedly lost to land her in his care. Things start to get even more traumatic for her when she finds out about Mr. Mills' betrayal of her grandpa — both by double-crossing him with the dino-dealing and by killing him — and things continue to worsen for her from there.

She overhears Mills dismissing her caretaker Iris (Geraldine Chaplin) and then learns that she isn't actually Lockwood's granddaughter, but a cloned copy of his daughter he raised as his granddaughter out of grief over his daughter's loss. With his death, she's finally able to look at those photos Lockwood clung to for so long, and, indeed, it's her own face staring back at her in each of them. In other words, it's not just dinosaur DNA that's creating new life in this story; human beings are also ripe for the cloning process now.

Blue's on the move

As the Lockwood manor melee unfolds, most of the dinosaurs are still locked up in the lower containment area. That'd be all well and good for everyone on site, except that once the party upstairs gets interrupted by Owen trying to deal with the indoraptor issue, the fracas reaches the lower levels. Our new paleoveterinarian pal Zia (Daniella Pineda) and computer wiz Franklin (Justice Smith) refuse their command from Wu to steal Blue's blood so he can save it for the next hybrid horror he decides to create.

The two let Blue loose on the lab guards, and Blue wreaks havoc on the whole floor, leading to a gas explosion and the leak of some noxious chemicals that start to overtake the holding cells for the other dino refugees below. Freeing her does save the day for Owen, Claire, and Maisie, since Blue fights the indoraptor off of her alpha and ultimately brings the beast down to its end, but her escape spells disaster for the other animals choking to death below. Claire chooses not to let them out because it's too dangerous, even though she started this whole adventure for the sole sake of saving them. That's when Maisie steps up to let them loose anyway because she now knows just how much she has in common with these engineered creatures of science. Like her, they're alive, so despite the oddity of their origins (or, you know, the death toll they'll rack up on the road) they deserve a chance. Owen asks Blue to stick with him, but she decides to check out what the rest of the world has to offer instead.

No more hybrids?

Considering Mills' millions were instantly wired into his account during the auction, he doesn't seem too upset by all the bloodshed that's afoot under his watch in the end. What he does seem to want to take extra special care of, however, is the indominus rex bone that was fished out of the mosasaurus tank in the beginning of the movie at so much cost (R.I.P. Marine One).

Despite watching half a dozen guardsmen become lunch for the loose T-rex and/or get snapped in half by those frisky pterodactyls, he's very clearly relieved when he discovers that the bone has survived the slaughter intact. However, his luck ultimately runs out, and the T-rex eventually stomps the sample to pieces, which means the indominus rex is gone… but perhaps not forever? The hybrid story could indeed continue, as the indoraptor's skeleton is still readily accessible, and if someone's brave (and dumb) enough to go fishing in the mosasaurus hold, there may be more bone fragments from the indominus rex down below. For now, though, everyone who was crazy enough to do it is dead, so we'll have to wait and see if Jurassic World 3 would even bother to bring back the hybrid concept when they've got so much else to work with now.

Welcome to Jurassic World

Once Maisie opens the escape hatch for all the dinosaurs to escape into the world, it's a bona fide game-changer. When Congress was deciding whether to protect the creatures in the first place, before Lockwood's own intervention, the ever-prescient Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) testified that they should just be allowed to go extinct, arguing that humans have already taken technology too far, from atom bombs to resurrecting long-extinct species, and we're barreling towards self-extinction.

It's a pretty on-brand statement from the same guy who famously scolded the originators of Jurassic Park with the ultra-quotable line, "Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should!" In the end, he ends up explaining to the same governing body that humans now have to find a way to adapt to and co-exist with these loose creatures, lest they be wiped out by them. 

For good measure, we see that scientists have collected plenty of vials of DNA to ensure the survival of the species, so it's not just up to the group from Maisie's arc to repopulate their kind: It's legitimately Jurassic World now. Humans are now on the defensive, and dinosaurs are ready to inherit the Earth once more — as we see in the post-credits scene, which depicts pterodactyls landing on the Eiffel Tower replica in Las Vegas. Remember the giant Mosasaurus? It's now on the loose, preying on anything it can find throughout the ocean. Even worse, the prehistoric beings seem open to inviting the rest of modern nature to rejoin the wild kingdom, as the T-rex breaks down a lion's cage and exchanges a few friendly roars with the erstwhile king of the jungle. 

Dun dun dun.