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Jurassic World 3 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 Jurassic World 3 so far.

What's the release date for Jurassic World 3?

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 3 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.

Who's in the Jurassic World 3 cast?

When Colin Trevorrow sat down with Entertainment Weekly in 2018, he confirmed that co-leads Chris Pratt (dinosaur researcher Owen Grady) and Bryce Dallas Howard (former park operations manager Claire Dearing) would be reprising their roles in Jurassic World 3. That was pretty much a given, but Trevorrow (who is co-writing the upcoming trilogy closer with Pacific Rim: Uprising scribe Emily Carmichael) also said that "there's other characters who we'll meet in Fallen Kingdom you'll realize are major characters." Now that we've seen Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, we can hazard a guess at who Trevorrow was talking about here.

Pratt and Howard are the only two actors officially confirmed for Jurassic World 3 right now, but Isabella Sermon will most likely be back as Maisie Lockwood, the genetically-engineered progeny of John Hammond's late business associate, Benjamin Lockwood. Maisie was adopted by Owen and Claire at the end of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. This, coupled with the fact that she released the cloned dinosaurs at the end of that film ("I had to, they're alive like me"), presumably setting up the events of Jurassic World 3, means she's bound to play a part in the upcoming sequel.

Justice Smith's systems analyst Franklin Webb and Daniella Pineda's paleo-veterinarian Zia Rodriguez also escaped Isla Nublar with their lives, so both could potentially pop up in Jurassic World 3. As of now, though, their involvement remains unconfirmed.

What do we know about the Jurassic World 3 plot?

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 Jurassic World 3: 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. 

The original Jurassic Park stars are all back for Jurassic World 3

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, Colin 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 stars are pumped about their return

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."

Mamoudou Athie​ lands a lead role

The fact that Laura Dern, Sam Neill, and Jeff Goldblum are joining Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard as main characters in Jurassic World 3 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 Jurassic World 3's 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.

Who will be the big bad in Jurassic World 3?

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 3, 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."

Could Jake Johnson return for Jurassic World 3?

Colin Trevorrow indicated that some characters from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom would be in the upcoming sequel when he spoke with Entertainment Weekly, but what about the supporting players from the first Jurassic World? Jake Johnson put in a scene-stealing performance as Lowery Cruthers in the 2015 film, and the news that he wouldn't be returning for Fallen Kingdom was a blow for fans of the easy-going control room worker. The fact that his Jurassic World character was so well received led many to assume he'd be back for the next installment. When Trevorrow sat down for an interview with Den of Geek, he explained why this wasn't the case — and at the same time opened the door for his return in Jurassic World 3.

"He's not in Jurassic World for the same reason that any other actor would be excluded from a movie; unless we can find 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," the director said of Johnson, who starred in his critically acclaimed sci-fi rom-com, Safety Not Guaranteed (2012). "It doesn't mean he'll never be back, and I've had conversations with almost all of the actors going back to the previous films about how important their legacies are to these movies and yet also how important it is to continuously change and evolve them into something new."

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 3?

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 3 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 3

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 3 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 3 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 3.

Will dinosaurs run rampant in American cities?

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

Every new Jurassic movie is an opportunity to introduce some previously unseen species of dinosaur, and Jurassic World 3 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 3'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 3

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 already hard at work creating new dinosaurs for Jurassic World 3, 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."