The Jurassic Park franchise has arguably never had a lead character in the typical sense, with the main selling point of all five installments so far being the promise of blockbuster dinosaur action. It’s a similar situation to the MonsterVerse, where nobody checks out the movies for the humans, but for perhaps the first time ever, the cast of Jurassic World: Dominion is being positioned as one of the big draws.
As well as returning stars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, Dominion is roping in Steven Spielberg’s original trio of Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum, all of whom have appeared in at least two previous films. Neill revealed a long time ago that his involvement was much more substantial than a fan-baiting cameo, too, and in a new interview, director Colin Trevorrow confirmed that Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler and Ian Malcom will be important parts of the pic from start to finish.
“I feel like we’ll want people to come see the movie to see the context of it, but they are in the whole movie. They are major characters and they go on an adventure together, and they collide with our modern characters. It is a celebration of everything that Michael Crichton created, and what Steven created, and what the other directors contributed to this over the years. I really felt like it was an opportunity to bring everything together and, hopefully, clarify why we’ve been telling this story for so long. That’s what it was really all about.”
Roping in legacy players can often be a rote exercise in nostalgia and nothing else, but it sounds as though the unfortunate test subjects who visited John Hammond’s beta version of the ill-fated theme park almost 30 years ago will have a significant influence on the narrative this time around, so there’s clearly going to be at least an attempt to emphasize story over spectacle with what’s ostensibly five leads.
The first Jurassic World: Dominion footage is arriving in just a couple of weeks attached to IMAX screenings of Fast & Furious 9, but it’s a five-minute prequel of sorts explaining the origins of the franchise’s iconic T-Rex, so it’ll be a while yet before we figure out how Neill, Dern and Goldblum ultimately make their way back into the fold.