The ending of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is clear setup for the third Jurassic World film, promising an Earth taken over by dinosaurs. But it's a lot more than just having a few extinct species out in the wild: the film lays the groundwork for Jurassic World 3 in multiple, subtle ways.
To Colin Trevorrow - director of Jurassic World Parts 1 & 3 - a crucial part of designing a franchise is that you have a clear idea of where it should go. As he noted in one interview, "I remember telling Steven [Spielberg] even while we were making the first movie, "This is the beginning. Here is the middle. And here’s the end of the end." This is where we want to go." Where other Jurassic Park movies had a clear sense that the story was wrapped up, this one is designed to be continued and to set up a new status quo that will be explored in the final film.
That's both Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom's strength, and its greatest weakness; the film knows where it wanted to begin and how to end, but isn't always clear on how it wants to get there. Thankfully, while it can be a strange watch, that does mean the latest Jurassic World is lacking in setup for 2021's threequel. So what is the new status quo set up at the end of Jurassic World 2, and what plot threads does it set up for the next film?
- This Page: Dinosaurs Have Taken Over The Earth (Again)
- Next Page: What Fallen Kingdom Reveals About The Plot Of Jurassic World 3
The Dinosaurs Have Been Unleashed
Although the trailers started with focus on Isla Nublar's volcanic eruption, the "rescue mission" that reunited Owen and Clare was actually a trick. Eli Mills' agents rescued representatives of eleven different species of dinosaur, ranging from the Pachycephalosaurus to the Tyrannosaurus Rex and had the surviving dinosaurs transported to cells beneath the Lockwood Estate, where he offered them for sale to the highest bidder. As you'd expect, a dinosaur auction is not a safe place to be, and everything goes horrifically wrong when the Indoraptor breaks free. But the real tragedy is at the end of the film when Claire and Owen realize that damage to the estate's systems is causing the cells to flood with toxic gases. The last surviving dinosaurs are being killed.
There's only one choice; if Claire and Owen are to save the dinosaurs, then they will have to release them into the wild. That means all the remaining dinosaurs will be introduced into the North American ecosystem. As much as Claire and Owen love the creatures, they know it's something they simply can't do, because it would change the world forever. They choose to watch in heartbreak. But Doctor Lockwood's "granddaughter," Maisie - actually a clone of his daughter - can't do the same. Recognizing their shared, artificial origin, she presses the button to open the cells, releasing the dinosaurs. There's then a brief montage showing the dinosaurs wandering through the USA, including the Mosasaurus attacking surfaces and the Tyrannosaurus Rex entering a lion enclosure at a zoo and trading roars with the King of the Jungle.
This is clearly intended to be a sort of "dinogeddon," with the dinosaurs reclaiming the world that had been their own. In reality, it falls short of that a little, given only eleven different species escape into the wild, and every one of the dinosaurs actually has a tracker embedded inside it. Probably the most difficult dinosaur for the authorities to catch would actually be unrelated to Maisie's actions; the Mosasaurus escaped from the island into the sea back in the film's opening sequence, and the closing montage shows it snacking on some surfers. That creature is gigantic and powerful, and will be able to escape its hunters by diving down to the ocean depths.
The Post-Credits Scene: Welcome to Jurassic World
Jurassic World 2's post-credits scene could really function as part of that closing montage; it simply shows another glimpse of dinosaurs in the real world, with Pterodactyls flying over Las Vegas. Pterodactyls have always been a core part of the Jurassic Park franchise's imagery; they represent the dinosaurs' dominance, and the uncontrollable nature of their very existence - when Pterodactyls fly free, nothing can stop them or keep them in check. The only way to deal with Pterodactyls is to run from them.
Added to the closing montage, this is clearly meant to imply that the third film really will introduce a "Jurassic World". All the previous films in the franchise have seen the bulk of the dinosaurs existing in an enclosed environment, with only the occasional lone dinosaur making its way to civilization (a smart homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel The Lost World, which inspired the title of Jurassic Park 2). But now the franchise has changed shape, with the dinosaurs released into the wild, and now it seems that the third film will deal with the tug-of-war for dominance between the dinosaurs and humanity.
More Dinosaurs Are Coming to Jurassic World
Trevorrow has insisted that Jurassic World 3 won't feature any more hybrid dinosaurs, but that doesn't mean humanity is done experimenting with dinosaurs. As Ian Malcolm explains to a United States Senate Committee, "Genetic power has been unleashed." The closing montage doesn't just show dinosaurs; it shows genetic samples from Isla Nublar circulating, along with dinosaur eggs that had been retrieved before the volcanic eruption. Courtesy of Eli Mills, these samples are now making their way through the black market. They've been sold to everything from pharmaceutical corporations to rogue nation-states, and there's simply no way this particular Pandora's Box can be closed again.
It's not entirely clear how this plot thread will be developed in the threequel. In some cases, experimentation on the samples will surely just involve trying to isolate specific genes in order to conduct genetic editing on people and cure diseases; that purpose would be relatively benign, even if the illicit nature of it would really be lining the pockets of unethical businessmen. More problematic, though, would be the companies and even nations who attempted to weaponize dinosaurs; who tried to grow and train their own, following the pattern of Owen Grady (but without the understanding).
Time and again the Jurassic Park franchise has stressed that the dinosaurs cannot be tamed and controlled in this way; even Blue prefers to chart her own path, rather than simply become Owen's pet. So these experiments would undoubtedly lead to more breakouts across the globe, introducing other species into the wild. And, unlike the escapees from the Lockwood Estate, these dinosaurs wouldn't necessarily have trackers...
Jurassic World 3's Hero Team Has Already Assembled
In previous Jurassic Park films, death came almost at random; although a film's stars would always survive, the secondary cast were disposable, and both heroes and villains could wind up becoming a dino-snack. In contrast, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom goes to great effort to create a small team - almost a "family" - who are carefully kept alive for the threequel.
Naturally, Owen and Claire are at the heart of this. In their own way, each feels responsible for what's happened - as Eli explains, they're the parents of the new era. Claire was one of the drivers of the Jurassic World project, even signing off on the genetic experimentation that created both the Indominus Rex and the Indoraptor. Owen, for his part, is the one who showed the world that some dinosaurs could be trained. Each has shown the way towards weaponizing dinosaurs, albeit in subtly different ways. The moment where they choose not to release the last of the dinosaurs is an important one for Claire and Owen, showing a recognition that they had played God, and that the entire world would pay the price should the dinosaurs leave the Lockwood Estate.
It's not exactly a surprise that Jurassic World 2 rekindles the romance between Claire and Owen, even giving them a sort of "adoptive daughter" ahead of the threequel, Maisie Lockwood. Able to empathize with the dinosaurs on an instinctive level due to her also being a clone, Maisie is the one who ultimately chose to release the last of the dinosaurs. There's a sense in which Owen and Claire will need to protect Maisie from the consequences of her actions, as no doubt the world will want to hold her responsible.
Zia and Franklin round out the team, each having proved themselves over the course of the film. Zia is the veterinary, an expert in dinosaur biology who proves essential to keeping Blue alive. Franklin is the computer expert, a scientist with tremendous technical skill. Given 2021's Jurassic World 3 will see the team deal with both the escaping dinosaurs and rogue corporations and even nation-states, those two skillsets could prove to be absolutely essential.
Will Life Find A Way In Jurassic World 3?
While those aspects are obvious setup at the end of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, there's one other subtle theme that may be continued on into the threequel. The catchphrase of the Jurassic Park franchise has always been, "Life finds a way." But in Fallen Kingdom, that theme is subtly inverted; it seems as though life is actually trying to wipe the dinosaurs out again. That fits with Ian Malcolm's lecture to the Senate Committee. The dinosaurs are unnatural, he explains, and they should be allowed to go extinct once again.
Seen through this light, the film's narrative becomes quite an interesting one; twice the dinosaurs are on the verge of extinction, once from a volcanic eruption, and the second time from toxic gases. These creatures, Jurassic World 2 tells us, are not meant to be here. Yet in both instances, it's human intervention that actually saves the dinosaurs; humanity has perverted nature, and now humanity keeps on doing so. Considering that Malcolm's fear of genetic meddling is the challenging of death - embodied with Maisie, a perfect replica of her "mother" - this feels like the franchise's ultimate endgame.
How will that theme inform Jurassic World 3? It's likely that the third movie will see a sort of tug-of-war for dominance between humanity and the dinosaurs. Humans have kept the creatures alive for far too long, and now the dinosaurs are loose. It will be fascinating to see what role Claire and Owen play in this; they could easily continue to act as the dinosaurs' protectors, or alternatively, they could be crucial in trying to put the genetic genie back in the bottle. The question is whether or not it's too late to do so: whether, by preventing nature from having its way, humanity has now made an irrevocable change to the state of the planet, and permanently created a "Jurassic World".