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Jurassic World: Dominion release date, cast and plot

Steven Spielberg's Jaws is often credited as the birth of the summer blockbuster, but his adaptation of Michael Crichton's most famous novel was an equally important benchmark in filmmaking. Released in 1993, Jurassic Park was truly game-changing. CGI was still considered a novelty at the time, but Spielberg and his team proved beyond any doubt that it was more than a passing fad. "It was like one of those moments in history, like the invention of the light bulb or the first telephone call," Spielberg's friend and colleague George Lucas said after seeing the first test shots of Jurassic Park's dinosaurs (via The Atlantic). "A major gap had been crossed and things were never going to be the same."

Visual effects improved exponentially as the years passed, even if the quality of Jurassic Park movies did not. Two sub-par sequels followed, leaving the franchise on the brink of extinction. It wasn't until 2015 (14 years after the particularly lackluster Jurassic Park III) that we returned to the dino-infested islands off the coast of Costa Rica, and while Jurassic World didn't quite capture the magic of Spielberg's original, critics agreed that it was the best entry since Jurassic Park. The 2018 follow-up Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was far more divisive, but it still made over a billion dollars at the global box office, making another sequel inevitable. 

Here's everything we know about the third Jurassic Worldrevealed in February 2020 to be titled Jurassic World: Dominion — so far.

What's the release date for Jurassic World: Dominion?

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom's colossal box office receipts made another film a dead cert, but the truth is a sequel trilogy had actually been the plan all along. Speaking at the Toronto International Film Festival back in 2016, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom helmer J.A. Bayona confirmed that Colin Trevorrow (director of Jurassic World and co-writer of Fallen Kingdom) pitched the idea of three new films right from the get-go. "The whole Jurassic World is a trilogy that Colin Trevorrow has envisioned," Bayona said (via MovieWeb). "It's very interesting where he's leading the story." The Spanish filmmaker was speaking ahead of the release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, but Universal had already set a date for the follow-up at that early stage, such was the studio's confidence in the resurgent franchise.

"The studio has set a June 11, 2021, release date for the movie," The Hollywood Reporter confirmed in February 2018. "Trevorrow is returning to executive produce the new chapter along with Steven Spielberg, the filmmaker behind the original movies in the 1990s." The fact that Universal sees Jurassic World: Dominion as a summer event doesn't come as much of a surprise, seeing as it worked well for the previous two installments — Jurassic World premiered on June 9, 2015, while Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom dropped on June 22, 2018.

What cast members are returning for Jurassic World: Dominion?

Director Colin Trevorrow wasted no time confirming the return of Jurassic World trilogy leads Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard for the third film, announcing to Entertainment Weekly in early 2018 that the pair would indeed reprise their roles as Owen and Claire. But Dominion had even bigger surprises in store for Jurassic Park fans.

Speculation about the original Jurassic Park cast returning for Jurassic World has been rife ever since Jeff Goldblum was asked about it during an appearance on Watch What Happens LiveThe actor had already teased the idea at a red carpet event, and his cryptic answer all but confirmed that the original characters would be involved in some way. In September 2019, Trevorrow finally made it official — the director revealed that Goldblum (Ian Malcolm), Laura Dern (Ellie Sattler) and Sam Neill (Alan Grant) all had key roles in the upcoming sequel, bringing the franchise full circle.

Neill, Dern, and Goldblum have all reprised their iconic roles since starring in 1993's Jurassic Park together, but this core trio hasn't featured in the same movie since appearing in the franchise opener all those years ago. Goldblum's Dr. Ian Malcolm popped up most recently, though his part in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was little more than a glorified cameo. Speaking to Empire, Trevorrow explained why he chose to hold off on throwing the legacy characters into the mix properly until this moment. "We'd have had to come up with a reason why Ellie, Malcolm, and Grant all went to the theme park on the exact same day it broke down — again," he said. "The next film allows the legacy characters to be a part of the story in an organic way. [Co-writer] Emily Carmichael and I call it Jurassic Park VI, because it is."

The original Jurassic Park stars are excited to reunite for Dominion

The stars of 1993's Jurassic Park are just as excited as the fans are about their return to the franchise. Laura Dern was there in person when Colin Trevorrow revealed that Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum all had "major roles" in Jurassic World 3, and she could barely contain her joy when she addressed the audience at the Collider Q&A event. "I love dinosaurs," she said. "I love that you love them like we do."

Since then, Dern's co-stars have also been speaking about reuniting for what's set to be the biggest Jurassic movie to date, and they're equally as excited. Goldblum took to Instagram, where he quoted a classic Ian Malcolm line and declared himself "happy as a clam-asaurus" to be working with his "brilliant" Jurassic Park co-stars once again. Sam Neill was also full of compliments, calling Dern and Goldblum "the bestest of best company" in his own Instagram post. "We always had a ball on the previous, and are sure to again."

Speaking to Empire in October 2019, Trevorrow revealed that Neill, Goldblum, and Dern would all have a say in how their characters have been doing since we last saw them"Who are these people now? What do they make of the new world they're living in, and how do they feel about being part of its history?" Trevorrow said. "Ultimately it will be in collaboration with the actors. They know and love these characters. We'll do it together."

Justice Smith and Daniella Pineda will be back in action for Jurassic World: Dominion

Justice Smith's Franklin Webb and Daniella Pineda's Zia Rodriguez were both introduced during Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, aiding the main stars in their efforts to stop money hungry mercenary Ken Wheatley (Ted Levine) and Benjamin Lockwood's mutinous aide Eli Mills (Rafe Spall). Webb, a Jurassic World IT technician turned cyber hacker, and Rodriguez, an ex-military paleo-veterinarian, were on Isla Nublar representing the Dinosaur Protection Group. Both had close shaves when the dinosaurs they were there to protect wreaked havoc on the island, but they escaped with their lives, meaning a return in the third Jurassic World film was always a possibility. Now, their comeback has been confirmed. 

According to ColliderSmith (best known for his lead role in live action Pokemon movie Detective Pikachu) and Pineda (who will appear in Netflix's upcoming Cowboy Bebop series) have both agreed to reprise their Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom roles in the upcoming sequel. It's a chance for the two characters to develop their relationship, which Smith claims is most definitely platonic. "It's not romantic," the actor told Slash Film. "Not in the slightest." The way Smith describes it, Franklin and Zia are more like brother and sister. "She kinda just picks on him," he explained. "He tries to give it back to her and she always ends up shutting him down. That just represents the bond that they have. They've worked together for so long trying to save these dinosaurs."

After the release of Fallen Kingdom, Pineda revealed that a scene confirming that Zia was a lesbian had been cut from the film. Hopefully Jurassic World: Dominion will take the time to develop this aspect of her character.

Jake Johnson and Omar Sy will reprise their Jurassic World roles

Jake Johnson put in a scene-stealing performance as Lowery Cruthers in Jurassic World, so the news that he wouldn't be returning for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom was a blow for fans of the easy-going control room worker. Colin Trevorrow told Den of Geek that Johnson (who starred in the director's critically acclaimed sci-fi rom-com Safety Not Guaranteed) didn't show up in the first Jurassic World sequel because there wasn't a "genuine, organic way to make it not seem like he's just in it because he was a great character in a previous film." Now that the dinosaurs are out, however, there's an opportunity to bring characters that weren't dumb enough to return to Isla Nublar in the second film back into the story.

Johnson will reprise his role in Jurassic World: Dominion (he confirmed the news in an Instagram post, captioning a picture of his character with the words "Lowery's coming home"), and he isn't the only returning cast member from the first film. French actor Omar Sy (best known for international crossover hit The Intouchableshas also signed up for the threequel. The European star played raptor handler Barry Sembene in Jurassic World, a friend and colleague of Chris Pratt's Owen Grady. "And here we go again," Sy posted to Instagram. Trevorrow clearly found a way to bring Johnson and Sy back into the fold without it feeling too forced, and he's apparently looking forward to their reunion.

Mamoudou Athie​ lands a lead role in Jurassic Park: Dominion

The fact that Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum are joining Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard as main characters in Jurassic World: Dominion surely means that there's no room for any new leads in the upcoming sequel, right? Wrong. According to Deadline, The Get Down's Mamoudou Athie has been added to the cast in a lead role. Appearing alongside the stars of the original Jurassic Park film and the Jurassic World trilogy will be a daunting experience, but Athie has already proven that he can hold his own. TIFF named him as one of its Rising Stars in 2017, and he's been living up to the moniker since.

After portraying the legendary Grandmaster Flash in The Get Down, Athie went on to appear in the critically acclaimed coming-of-age rap flick Patti Cake$ (2017). The following year he played Washington Post reporter A.J. Parker in biographical drama The Front Runner, and he delivered what TIFF described as "a winning, understated performance" as a hardware store worker in Brie Larson's directorial debut, Unicorn Store (2019).

Athie is currently co-starring in Facebook Watch series Sorry For Your Loss. He plays the late husband of Elizabeth Olson in the show, which explores the impact that an unexpected death of a loved one can have on a person. The actor told L'Officiel USA that "a role has to be useful to society," so we're guessing he'll be trying to save the remaining dinosaurs rather than eradicate them.

Venom star Scott Haze joins the Jurassic World cast for Dominion

Jurassic World: Dominion casting news is coming thick and fast now that the film has entered production. We know that the stars of the original Jurassic Park films will share the spotlight with the main players from the sequel trilogy, but there are a few new faces that will presumably appear in smaller, supporting roles. According to Deadline, Scott Haze has been cast in an unknown role. Haze is perhaps best known for playing Security Chief Roland Treece in 2018's Venom, but he's actually been around for some time. He played Levi in Jeff Nichols' critically acclaimed sci-fi flick Midnight Special in 2016, and prior to that he appeared as Lester Ballard in James Franco's adaptation of Child of God (2013).

Altered Carbon star Dichen Lachman has also landed a part in the third Jurassic World film, according to reports. The Nepal-born actress got her start on the long-running Australian soap opera Neighbours, but she became known to American audiences playing Sierra in Joss Whedon's sci-fi drama series Dollhouse. Like Haze, Lachman has a Marvel connection — she had a recurring role on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. The last newcomer (for now, at least) is DeWanda Wise, best known for playing Nola Darling in Spike Lee's Netflix series She's Gotta Have It, a contemporary remake of his film of the same name. The streaming giant recommended Wise to Lee after she sent in what she described as "a really ballsy" audition tape.

The original Jurassic Park kids are reportedly open to returning for Jurassic World: Dominion

When the news broke that Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum were returning for the third Jurassic World film, fans of the franchise began fantasizing about how cool it would be if the original kids from Jurassic Park were to join them. A campaign to get Ariana Richards (Lex Murphy) and Joe Mazzello (Tim Murphy) on board was soon launched, and it was reportedly well received by both actors — Entertainment Tonight sources confirmed that Richards and Mazzello were "open to the idea" of playing the Murphy siblings again. Things went quiet after that, but in February 2020 Mazzello dropped a cryptic tweet that seemed to tease his involvement in the upcoming threequel. "I think it's time to get back to work," he said. "What do you say gang?"

He didn't mention it by namebut the timing suggested that Mazzello was referring to Jurassic World: Dominion — he sent his tweet out a couple of days before the film entered production. Could Mazzello (who most recently appeared as Queen bassist John Deacon in the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody) make a surprise appearance? There's been no official word on him or Richards yet, but it seems increasingly likely that one or both of them could at least cameo. Chris Pratt appeared to confirm their impending return to the franchise during an interview with Ellen DeGeneres. "All the cast from the original Jurassic Park is coming back," he said.

Who will be the big bad in Jurassic World: Dominion?

We've seen the last of Rafe Spall's conniving Eli Mills (the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom antagonist became a light snack for Rexy), and Vincent D'Onofrio's Vic Hoskins is also history, ripped apart by Owen Grady's raptor Delta at the end of Jurassic World. That means there's going to be a new main villain in Jurassic World: Dominion, though that doesn't necessarily mean a brand new character.

Dr. Henry Wu is the man responsible for bringing the dinosaurs back to life in franchise lore. He was John Hammond's go-to geneticist in Jurassic Park and he continued his morally ambiguous work in the sequel trilogy. Wu survived the events of the previous two films, and there's a good chance that he'll step up to the plate as the big bad in the Jurassic World trilogy closer. Nerdist's Michael Walsh wants to see this happen, calling for a "powerful resolution" for the character.

"John Hammond's legacy is always present in the Jurassic World films, but no living character connects the new trilogy to the original film like B.D. Wong's Dr. Henry Wu," Walsh writes. "He's the Walter White of Jurassic Park, which is why he's now the most interesting character in the franchise. We have a history with Wu; we have questions about how he got to this point, and we want to see where it leads him — especially after the end of Fallen Kingdom left all of humanity at risk of extinction."

What do we know about the plot of Jurassic World: Dominion?

The finer details of the plot are being kept under lock and key at Universal, but there's one thing we know for sure about the third Jurassic World: the film won't feature any new hybrid dinosaurs. Jurassic World introduced us to the Indominus rex, a fifty-feet long killer created with the DNA of several dinosaur species as well as a handful of more modern creatures, including the tree frog, cuttlefish, and pit viper. The Indominus was designed to increase visitor numbers to the park (people apparently get bored of seeing real living dinosaurs after a while), but Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom's Indoraptor was a weapon of war, made to attack on command.

While the designs were undeniably cool, the introduction of these new dinosaurs took the franchise into monster movie territory and away from its roots. Thankfully, Trevorrow won't be trying to up the ante with the upcoming sequel, revealing that he plans to go "back to basics" this time. "I'm looking forward to, in the third film, getting a little back into the paleontological, wild animal, true dinosaur nature of all of it," the director told Total Film (via Bloody Disgusting). According to Trevorrow, the third Jurassic World film will be a "science thriller" that's far more in tune with the original Jurassic Park movie. 

Spielberg wanted Trevorrow back in the director's chair for Jurassic World 3

Colin Trevorrow may not have been the right fit for Star Wars (the director was fired from Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker over creative differences, despite having dedicated two years of his life to the project), but when it comes to the Jurassic franchise, he's now the go-to guy. He only had his indie hit Safety Not Guaranteed to his name when he was chosen to helm Jurassic World, but Trevorrow handled the big budget blockbuster like a seasoned pro, impressing the man behind the movie that started it all.

During his Entertainment Weekly interview, Trevorrow revealed that Steven Spielberg personally asked him to helm the third Jurassic World film, an offer that he simply couldn't refuse. "Steven Spielberg asked me [to direct], and when he asks you, what can I tell you, man?" he said. "In all honesty, over my past few years, I've grown to love and cherish the value of the gift that I've been given with this franchise." Interestingly, Trevorrow only came aboard the franchise after J.A. Bayona turned down the chance to direct Jurassic World. While Bayona later agreed to take the reins for Fallen Kingdom, Spielberg wanted Trevorrow back in the hot seat for the all-important trilogy capper.

Does an unused script offer some clues about Jurassic World: Dominion?

14 years passed between Jurassic Park III and Jurassic World, though that long gap wasn't down to a lack of trying. Numerous sequels were reportedly floated during that period. The one that got closest to getting greenlit came by way of screenwriter John Sayles. Jurassic Park IV never got off the ground, but what's interesting is that a lot of Sayles' ideas ended up being used in Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. 

The star of Sayles' story was an unemployed mercenary named Nick Harris, who seems very much like the blueprint for Chris Pratt's ex-Navy man, Owen Grady. Most notably, it was Sayles who came up with the idea of shady types attempting to train dinosaurs as weapons, the overarching theme of the Jurassic World trilogy. If this unused screenplay influenced the two recent movies, does it also contain clues as to where Jurassic World: Dominion is heading?

According to Den of Geek, Sayles' draft touches on "the idea of an America plagued by rogue dinosaurs." With the United States facing its biggest ever threat, a corporate stooge "spots a business opportunity." We know that some of the black market bidders from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom escaped the ill-fated auction with their dinosaur specimens. Who will the U.S. government turn to when all seems lost? If this Jurassic World 3 theory holds true, humans will fight dinosaurs with their own dinosaurs in an effort to stave off extinction.

Chris Pratt teases a time jump for Jurassic World: Dominion

2018's Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom takes place three years after the events of 2015's Jurassic World, so it's safe to assume that 2021's Jurassic World threequel will also skip forward in time three years. Leading man Chris Pratt all but confirmed that this will be the case when he returned to his old stomping ground Bubba Gump Shrimp for a sit-down with MTV's Josh Horowitz.

"I can't say anything, but I can tell you when I heard the pitch, I was blown away," Pratt said. "I can't believe that we're going to make that movie, and I can't believe they found a way to deliver on the promise of the end of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Like, 'Wait, what? The island has blown up. The animals are out, we can't put them back in the box. What are we going to do? How are not only these dinosaurs but this technology moving forward going to affect the planet?' We jump forward, and it's like, 'Oh! Oh, right! Oh, damn.' It's going to be pretty epic."

This gives further credence to the idea that Jurassic World: Dominion will take place in an America overrun with rogue dinosaurs, the vision first put forward by John Sayles. Also, this scenario means that Isabella Sermon's Maisie Lockwood will be older and wiser. She freed the dinosaurs at the end of the previous movie, but will she take their side again in Jurassic World 3?

A new short film gives us a look at Jurassic World's new world

In September 2019, a short film directed by Colin Trevorrow and written by Trevorrow and Emily Carmichael dropped on the official Jurassic World YouTube channel. The 8-minute Jurassic World 3 prelude confirms that the movie will indeed take place in an America inhabited by rogue dinosaurs. "Battle at Big Rock" features a family on a camping trip in Big Rock, a national park 20 miles from Lockwood Manor (the mansion that the dinosaurs escaped from with Maisie Lockwood's help at the end of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom).

The family's bonding time is interrupted when a triceratops and its baby show up and start digging through their food. They watch from the safety of their trailer, though the trailer doesn't offer much protection when a hungry allosaurus arrives on the scene. After being fought off by the parents of the little triceratops, the carnivore notices the tasty looking humans and attacks. Fortunately, a fellow camper brought a crossbow along, and the daughter is a pretty good shot. The family escapes with their lives, but the implications are clear — woodland areas are no longer safe for humans.

The dialogue establishes that warnings have been issued about possible dinosaur encounters ("The ranger said that we should just stay calm and wait for it to go away," the mother says), but the reality doesn't appear to have sunken in just yet. The short's credits suggest that these attacks are going to be commonplace by the time we catch up with the gang in Jurassic World: Dominion.

Will dinosaurs run rampant in American cities for the third Jurassic World?

We know that dinosaurs will be lurking in the wilderness thanks to Colin Trevorrow and Emily Carmichael's short film Battle at Big Rock, but will these ancient animals be terrorizing our cities, too? According to Trevorrow, this won't be the case. Speaking to fan site Jurassic Outpost, the director and co-writer of the upcoming threequel said that there's no motivation for that kind of behavior. "They can't organize," the filmmaker said. "Right now we've got lethal predators in wild areas surrounding cities all over the world. They don't go pack hunting for humans in urban areas. The world I get excited about is the one where it's possible that a dinosaur might run out in front of your car on a foggy backroad, or invade your campground looking for food."

This will be music to the ears of those who were starting to get worried about Jurassic World 3 becoming a CGI-heavy disaster movie. The idea of raptors running rampant in Times Square or a tyrannosaurus tearing down Hollywood Boulevard might sound cool in theory, but that's not what this franchise is about. Thankfully, Trevorrow is well aware of this. The director wants to create a world in which "dinosaur interaction is unlikely but possible, the same way we watch out for bears or sharks. We hunt animals, we traffic them, we herd them, we breed them, we invade their territory and pay the price, but we don't go to war with them."

Previously unseen dinosaur species will appear in Jurassic World: Dominion

Every new Jurassic movie is an opportunity to introduce some previously unseen species of dinosaur, and Jurassic World: Dominion is no different. Colin Trevorrow has been overseeing the selection process since coming aboard for 2015's Jurassic World, but he's had a little help from his colleagues. "I've been lucky enough to be able to choose the dinosaurs, but [Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom co-writer] Derek Connolly and J.A. Bayona, and now Emily Carmichael, will have each made contributions when it's all said and done," he told Jurassic Outpost. "It's just a bunch of kids sitting on the floor with their toys."

The filmmaker clearly relishes flicking through his dino Rolodex and handpicking the perfect dinosaur for each specific scene, but it's not all fun and games. "It's the best part of my job, but also the hardest," he added. "You have to keep some great ones in the tank." Trevorrow explained that he liked the look of both the Carnotaurus and the Baryonyx when he was putting the pieces of Jurassic World together, but he didn't want to see them reduced to background dinosaurs. "They deserve an entrance," he said. "So we put them on the park map, but held the reveal for the second film."

Which dinosaurs has Trevorrow been holding back for Jurassic World 3? He wouldn't confirm the names, but he did say that the next film is "even more fun because the opportunities have really opened up."

Will Jurassic World: Dominion's dinosaurs have feathers?

While they're obviously works of fiction, the Jurassic movies have informed our understanding of dinosaurs in a number of ways, particularly their appearance. The movies have always played into the old idea of dinosaurs as giant scaly beasts. That didn't seem like much of a problem when Jurassic Park premiered in 1993, but in recent years it has become evident that they weren't actually as reptile-like as we like to think.

Fossils unearthed in China have revealed that dinosaurs belonging to the raptor family were actually covered in feathers rather than scales, and in 2014 a discovery in Serbia appeared to confirm that all dinosaurs shared this trait. "Probably that means the common ancestor of all dinosaurs had feathers," Pascal Godefroit of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Science in Brussels told National Geographic. "Feathers are not a characteristic [just] of birds but of all dinosaurs."

What does this mean for the future of the Jurassic franchise? When Jurassic Outpost raised the feather question with Colin Trevorrow, the director said that he would not alter the appearance of dinosaurs we've already seen in the previous movies. "Those are established characters to me — they were made with reptilian DNA bridging the gaps in the genome and they have their own identity," he said. "But now we're headed into a world in which the ability to clone a dinosaur is no longer exclusive to Dr. Henry Wu. That leads to innovation, and new opportunities for us to introduce species that represent the full spectrum of our knowledge."

The Dark Crystal animatronics team joins Jurassic World: Dominion

When Colin Trevorrow sat down with Empire to discuss the "Battle at Big Rock" short film in September 2019, the director revealed some interesting information about the animatronics that are currently being created for the upcoming sequel. It had previously been reported that Oscar-winning creature and special makeup effects supervisor Neal Scanlan (who worked on 2018's Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom) would be returning to ply his trade on the follow-up, but that won't be the case. Scanlan, perhaps best known for his work on the Star Wars sequel trilogy and spin-offs, has chosen to pursue other projects.

Scanlan has been replaced by John Nolan, who recently did some pretty amazing work on The Dark Crystal: Age of ResistanceAccording to Trevorrow, Nolan and his team are hard at work creating new dinosaurs for Jurassic World: Dominion, and the filmmaker is super excited about what they're going to bring to the table. "We've got everyone [at Pinewood Studios] carving dinosaurs out of clay," the writer and director said on The Empire Film Podcast (via Jurassic Outpost). "If any of you have seen The Dark Crystal on Netflix, John Nolan who did all of the animatronics for The Dark Crystal is doing the animatronics on Jurassic World 3. He's starting to actually build things, and we're going to his workshop and seeing the things he's doing with eyes and joint movement. He's really innovating in a really exciting way."