Kathleen Kennedy explains why ‘Jurassic Park’ hero Ellie Sattler is a feminist icon

Laura Dern
Image via Universal Pictures

OG Jurassic Park producer Kathleen Kennedy has a feministic infatuation for Laura Dern’s character Ellie Sattler.

Sattler, a young doctor of paleobotany when she debuted in 1993’s Jurassic Park, impressed Kennedy with her “strength and agency.” Moreover, as Kennedy told Variety, it was the line “Dinosaurs eat man. Woman inherits the earth” that was particularly moving.

“[Sattler] was independent, willful and able to confidently say a line like that. [She] was this incredible paleobotanist who didn’t need to be protected . . . We all instantly loved it. Her character saying something like that was somewhat unique at the time. It was very cutting edge and new; although, thankfully, we’re seeing more and more characters like that now.”

The dinosaur-centered blockbuster is responsible for the Jurassic Park generation,” a mass of children inspired by the film to become paleontologists and consequently make more scientific discoveries than in generations before. As a female paleobotanist, Sattler likely contributed to the feminine side of the generation. These days, there are roughly as many female paleontology students as there are male—if not more.

But it’s not only scientists that Sattler inspired. Co-screenwriter of the newest Jurassic Park, Emily Carmichael, watched the original at age 11 and was taken by Sattler’s verve, which still impresses her to this day. “The fact that that character, in that environment, needs to drop this little bomb into the lap of the patriarchy, I understand that better as a more mature female,” Carmichael said.

Watch Sattler inspire yet another generation of diverse professionals when Jurassic World Dominion hits theaters on June 10.