In a sea of ever-expanding movie franchises such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jurassic Park also continues to grow and has endured since the first film came along and changed the course of cinema in 1993. That's not to say the franchise didn't face extinction at one point. Following the disappointing performance of 2001's Jurassic Park III, both critically and financially, the film series went into a long hibernation. Fortunately, it was excavated by Universal in 2015, and given to director Colin Trevorrow, who, like an InGen scientist, breathed new life into the near-fossilized series.
That's not to say people had forgotten about Jurassic Park - that could never happen. The film was an instant classic on its release, and remains one of the most flawless cinematic masterpieces to date. And its sequels, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, are each pretty solid in their own way. Lacking in the magic that made that original so incredible, of course, but as far as movie franchises go, Jurassic Park is one of the most consistent in terms of quality, and it's all too easy to forget this at times.
If you're reading this, it's you're more than likely a fan of the series, but that doesn't necessarily mean you know what the future holds for the franchise - perhaps you've been avoiding news and spoilers over the past few months but have finally decided to give in. And you might even be wondering, 'Will there be another Jurassic Park movie.' Well, you've come to the right place, but first, let's bring you up to speed on the entire series so far, which includes five movies, two short films, and three seasons of an animated show.
The original film introduces us to the remote Costa Rican island where InGen scientists have genetically engineered dinosaurs using DNA preserved in fossilized mosquitos. To convince their investors that the park is safe for visitors in a year's time, park owner John Hammond invites a team of scientists to experience the resort and give their approval. However, when a disgruntled employee shuts the power down so that he can steal frozen dinosaur embryos for a rival company, the dinosaurs escape their enclosures and the humans end up in a fight for survival.
Its sequel, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, unveils second island Site B, where InGen scientists plan on capturing wild dinosaurs for a new Jurassic Park on the mainland - the company's way of keeping its head above water following all the lawsuits that resulted from the Isla Nublar incident. But while our team of heroes manage to foil their attempts on the island, the bloodbath concludes in San Diego, when a captured T-Rex breaks free. Consequently, Site B is declared a no-go zone to the public.
Jurassic Park III is something of a run-of-the-mill movie, returning to the second island, Isla Sorna, when a young boy goes missing after a parasailing accident, although we do get to meet the Spinosaurus - a fearsome super predator that is even bigger than T-Rex. Jurassic World, on the other hand, while run-of-the-mill in its own way (Isla Nublar's now-open theme park collapses, followed by lots of running and screaming), is the first to introduce hybrids, which its sequel Fallen Kingdom follows up on, using its own genetically altered dinosaur as a plot device to bring several species of dinosaurs to the mainland.
Jurassic World was also a complete re-packaging of the franchise (they just slapped it on the same plastic lunchbox), and even led to the first-ever Jurassic TV series, in the form of animated Netflix show Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, which follows a group of teenagers who become stuck on Isla Nublar during the fall of Jurassic World. Now, three seasons in, the show appears to be catching up with the events of Fallen Kingdom.
The short film Battle at Big Rock was released by Universal Pictures directly onto YouTube and pits a blended family against an allosaurus while on a camping trip. The canonical film takes place one year after the events of Fallen Kingdom, with dinosaurs now roaming North America. The second short film, however, which was released alongside Fast & Furious 9 in IMAX, is set before the entire franchise - 65 million years, to be precise, as we visit a Cretaceous landscape teeming with real dinosaurs while depicting events that would ultimately lead to the creation of Jurassic Park.
But that short film isn't an isolated piece like Battle at Big Rock - it's actually the prologue to an even bigger picture...
The next installment in the Jurassic Park franchise is Jurassic World: Dominion, which is being helmed by Colin Trevorrow, director of the first Jurassic World and producer of Fallen Kingdom. The film is set four years after the events of Fallen Kingdom, which sees the release of several dinosaurs into the wild in North America. The movie will unite Jurassic World and Jurassic Park characters, calling upon fan favorites such as Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Laura Dern (Ellie Sattler), and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), while also seeing the return of Chris Pratt (Owen Grady) and Bryce Dallas Howard (Claire Dearing).
It's also the first film in the series that won't take place on an island, with Isla Nublar now destroyed and Site B apparently low in its dinosaur population, having previously been used to back-fill Jurassic World while it was up and running. Dominion will explore the consequences of dinosaurs living and breeding throughout North America, however, Trevorrow has also hinted that the film will include an element of globe-hopping, not unlike a spy thriller. Locations that have been revealed include Malta and British Columbia. For once, Hawaii isn't on the list of filming locations - a first for the franchise.
Plot specifics are yet to be revealed, though it has been confirmed that the original trio will have full roles in the movie. Trevorrow has also touted the film as a "science thriller that explores genetic power" while promising to go back to what made the original film so suspenseful. Other returning actors are Daniella Pineda, Justice Smith, B.D. Wong, Omar Sy, and Isabella Sermon. It's unclear who the human villain of the piece will be, but it's very likely to be Lewis Dodgson from the first movie, this time played by Campbell Scott. We should expect Henry Wu to be up to his old tricks again too.
As for the dinosaurs, there will be several new species, which was confirmed in the short feature film, and even its teaser trailer alone. Upcoming video game sequel Jurassic World: Evolution 2 even includes new dinosaurs that will appear in the film, while also confirming that the Department of Fish and Wildlife will play a role in the management and conservation of wild dinosaurs in North America.
There might be nothing on the table just yet, but producer Frank Marshall has confirmed that, while Jurassic World: Dominion will indeed 'wrap up' the Jurassic World trilogy, it will not be the final film. Given the new state of affairs with the dinosaurs now roaming mainland America, this marks the beginning of a new era in the Jurassic Park franchise, so it makes sense to continue to tell new stories that are no longer restricted by the two islands. Exactly where things might go beyond Dominion remains to be seen, and it's also unknown whether future films will continue under the Jurassic World rebranding, though this is likely, with entries likely relying on subtitles instead, much like Fallen Kingdom, Dominion, Battle at Big Rock and Camp Cretaceous.
But should the franchise continue, then more unique and isolated stories might be the best way forward. Unlike the Jurassic Park films, the Jurassic World entries have been direct sequels, with consecutively recurring characters and connecting events and storylines. Future films could easily act independently of one another, much like the various upcoming Star Wars movies. An indie-style film would also be welcome, with a focus on suspense over spectacle, something the Jurassic World films, despite being strong efforts, are sadly lacking. A sequel not unlike Gareth Edwards' Monsters would probably be a good starting point too.
Meanwhile, there are rumors floating around about where the franchise could go. There have been talks of a live-action series for quite some time now, which is no surprise given the popularity of Battle at Big Rock and Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous (which were likely made to test these waters in the first). The concept has revolved around John Hammond and the creation of Jurassic Park, which would mean the series would be a prequel. While nothing has been confirmed in the slightest, this would allow for some new and interesting stories. But why go back when you can go forward? With the dinosaurs now on the mainland, the franchise has so many opportunities at its disposal.
Exactly what the future holds for the Jurassic Park franchise is unknown, but one thing's for sure, given the success of the Jurassic World movies, we're convinced Universal will 'find a way' to keep the series from going extinct.