[Editor’s note: The following post contains light spoilers for “Jurassic World: Dominion.”]
The “Jurassic World” franchise was still relatively new when filmmaker Colin Trevorrow — who went on to direct two of the films in the trilogy, in addition to co-writing all three of them — made a bold claim: he knew exactly where his series was going to end.
Back in September 2016, a year after the release of his blockbuster “Jurassic World” and a few months before filming was set to begin on J.A. Bayona’s “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” Trevorrow told the fansite Jurassic Outpost that he “knew the end; I knew where I wanted it to go” while making “Jurassic World.” Nearly six years later, Trevorrow and company finally conclude the trilogy with the release of his “Jurassic World: Dominion.” Is the end what he dreamed of? Mostly, but with some caveats.
“Well, it’s that I saw a series of final shots in a way,” the director told IndieWire when asked about his initial ending ideas. “I saw a place, a dynamic, and an equilibrium on the planet that we could potentially create where dinosaurs and humans have to coexist in the way that we do with animals, in all the different ways that we do.”
The final film in the trilogy ultimately became a collaborative effort, Trevorrow said, with input from his cast (including stars from both his trilogy and the original series) and his newly minted co-writer Emily Carmichael helping shape the conclusion.
“I worked very collaboratively with not just everyone in my crew, but specifically with the actors in building the story,” Trevorrow said. “This film was informed by what Laura Dern needed from this story and what Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum needed and Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard and also my co-writer Emily Carmichael [needed]. So, no, I can’t say it’s exactly what I envisioned, because it’s a product of all of us.”
But while it may not be exactly what Trevorrow first envisioned, he said it does stick to his original ideas: Mainly, this wasn’t just going to be some movie about dinosaurs running amok, chewing up and spitting out humans at random. “Dominion,” while set in a world where dinosaurs are now moving freely amongst both human and animal populations, is far more concerned with the implications of the science that made the beasts live again, versus the actual dinos themselves.
“We think of ‘Jurassic Park’ as this dinosaur franchise where people get chomped and then that’s why we love to go to see people get chomped, but it’s also a warning,” Trevorrow said. “Science has given us extraordinary power to alter the natural world, and we are seeing the consequences of it. We are all living with that. And so to be able to tell a story about the humility needed in the face of the natural world in order to survive is something that felt meaningful to me.”
So, no, audiences aren’t being treated to nonstop dinosaur-on-human battles. Trevorrow said he thinks that’s actually more in line with the original Michael Crichton novels that inspired the series to begin with.
“I did want to ground it in a certain scientific plausibility. I didn’t want to make a fantasy movie,” he said. “Part of my job is to honor Michael Crichton’s work, and honestly, I think dinosaurs and humans battling it out in the city streets is a different kind of film than what he would’ve done.”
Trevorrow wasn’t just trying to please his inner Crichton, either. He also had to handle the pressures of serving original “Jurassic Park” filmmaker and legendary director Steven Spielberg the kind of story-capper the sprawling franchise deserved. In fact, it was Spielberg himself who asked Trevorrow to return to direct the final entry, a request that was pretty hard to deny.
“It is true, it was a conversation that we had early on,” Trevorrow said. “It’s not the reason I did it. I did it because I really wanted to tell the end of this story. I feel honored to have been asked in the first place, but if the person who gave you the opportunity asks, you tend to say yes.”
So, what does Spielberg think of the end (well, for now) of a story he brought to the silver screen nearly three decades ago?
“He has seen it, and he’s very moved by the presence of these characters in this moment, not just after all of these years, but at this moment in our history,” he said. “I think he always knew that I really hoped to justify why these sequels existed in the first place, and I hope that I’ve done that for him and for the audience.”
A Universal Pictures release, “Jurassic World: Dominion” is in theaters now.