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The Dr. Wu Problem In Jurassic World Dominion We Just Can't Ignore

Now that we've seen six blockbuster films in the "Jurassic Park" franchise, it's no wonder that dozens of characters have weaved in and out of the storyline from beginning to end. And while most of the focus has been on primary protagonists — like the original Jurassic Park trinity of Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) — one of the most important characters has also been the most overlooked, until very recently. 

From "Jurassic Park" onward, "Law & Order" alum BD Wong has portrayed the brilliant and somewhat diabolical scientist, Dr. Henry Wu. Speaking to Jeremy Dick of Movie Web about the opportunity to play the character again on the big screen, Wu said, "To be a part of the chapter closing, at the end of it, that's really satisfying to me. I make no bones about it; I came into it, walking out of 'Jurassic Park' thinking that the character was totally underserved and thinking, 'Well, nobody cared about him.' And then Colin Trevorrow kind of gave him mouth to mouth and brought him into this world in which his whole shtick really mattered and really affected other things. I'm always really grateful to have been the actor who got to do that."

What makes Dr. Wu so important is the vital role he played in bringing the entire string of events to fruition throughout the franchise. In the latest movie, "Jurassic World Dominion" he is also given the opportunity to have something of a redemptive arc — albeit, one that still leaves some ethical quandaries, considering the gravity of his past actions. 

Dr. Wu engineered the original dinosaur problem

Dr. Wu's first appearance is a small role in the first "Jurassic Park" in 1993. When Dr. Alan Grant, Dr. Ellie Sadler, and Dr. Ian Malcolm are introduced to the park, one of the first places they visit is the laboratory where the magic is done. BD Wong's Dr. Wu appears in the laboratory, ready to explain how the dinosaurs are brought back to life.

Most of Dr. Wu's role in the film is to explain the process of recreating dinosaurs in the modern world — and he's also the main one to defend that process against the trio brought to the island to endorse its safety. Primarily, his debate is directed at Dr. Malcolm, who has huge problems with it (Alan and Ellie spend their debate too preoccupied with a hatching velociraptor to have much input).

One of the main aspects of Dr. Wu's defense of their research is the fact that he denies the animals a natural hormone they need to make them male, ensuring the entirety of the population is female. Of course, this contingency proves unsuccessful as Dr. Grant happens upon a nest of eggs in the park. He deduces that the amphibian DNA used by Dr. Wu was from East African frogs able to spontaneously switch genders from male to female in a single-sex environment — one of the many failures the park faces during the fateful weekend. As brilliant as Dr. Wu is, he seems to be much better at the creating part of the job than he is about the philosophical or moral part of the job. And safety seems to be low on his list of priorities. 

Wu doubled down on his research in Jurassic World

While Dr. Wu presumably left the island on the ship Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight) tragically missed, no other mention was made about him. He didn't return to the franchise until the first installment of the "Jurassic World" trilogy. Not much is revealed during the movies about Dr. Wu's actions between the two "sections" of the series, but there is some insight on the website Masarani Global, which recounts that Dr. Wu returned to the island after the incident and helped clean up and catalog the specimens that remained. Following his efforts, he wrote a book called "The Next Step: An Evolution of God's Concepts." In the book, he says he believed he could create new species by combining those he had already brought back. In Wu's words, "Much like selective breeding within domestic animals, but with this, we would be combining several species into one new animal. Today's technological limitation means we are decades away from achieving this, maybe even fifty years away, but who knows, hopefully in my lifetime, we could see it become a reality." 

He made significant steps towards that by combining plant life to create the Wu Flower. This research led directly to his role in "Jurassic World." And when movie audiences first meet Dr. Wu again, he has been promoted by Simon Masrani as the lead geneticist for Jurassic World. He had put his process for creating new species to use for the new theme park, making Indominus Rex. When the vicious predator escapes, Masrani confronts him about the deaths of patrons and ACU Troopers attempting to contain the incident. In a remorseless response, he simply claims that he was instructed to make the dinosaurs bigger, scarier, and cooler, and that's what he did.

...and then he made the same mistake in Dominion

In the franchise's newest installment, BD Wong reprises his role once again. The film's beginning sees farmers ravaged by a new breed of locusts engineered by ... yes, once again, Dr. Wu, who has found his way into the employ of Biosyn and their CEO, Dr. Lewis Dodgson (Campbell Scott). Evidently, this guy never learns his lesson, despite having seen dinosaur catastrophes happen over and over again.

Or does he? Wu eventually joins forces with the protagonists to engineer a pathogen to kill the locusts and bring the world back from an ecological collapse. While the scientist takes a significant step towards redemption by the end of the film, he has spent three decades taking steps in the wrong direction. 

When the trailer dropped, audiences heard Dr. Wu utter a phrase about a horrible mistake. In the movie, it is discovered that he is only referring to the locusts. Dr. Wu shows immense remorse for engineering an ecological collapse of the world's food supply, but not once showing any for the events leading the world to the brink of disaster multiple times. When the film wraps up, Dr. Wu all but rides off into the sunset as a hero, with no indication he will face any repercussions for his actions costing the lives of countless people.

This ending leaves a massive problem in the story, as Dr. Wu very well should be the primary antagonist in the franchise, arguably just as bad as the billionaires looking to use his skills to make money. As a scientist, he should be well aware of the dangers he puts the world in, yet he makes the same mistakes over and over. Nonetheless, so far, he's avoided finding his way to the stomach of an Indominus Rex.