WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, in theaters now.
There was an air of skepticism when the Jurassic World trilogy was announced in 2015. This was all due to the disappointment of 2001's Jurassic Park III, which failed to recapture the magic of its predecessors, Jurassic Park and The Lost World, both directed by Steven Spielberg.
However, the franchise proved it still had legs. Jurassic World resonated with a new generation of fans who flocked to theaters to witness how Colin Trevorrow's film would destroy the famous Isla Nublar facility and finally leave the dinosaurs in their natural element.
The kicker with its follow-up Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom is that director J.A. Bayona doesn't just get to tell the story of the subsequent dinosaur-rescue mission, he also sets up the next chapter. Even better, he achieves this goal through a wild ending that really shakes up the status quo.
The overall agenda in Fallen Kingdom is to save the dinosaurs, which Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) take upon themselves after they're basically snatched off the island by Eli Mills (Rafe Spall). The heroes eventually mount a second rescue mission at the California estate of Sir Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), but in order to save the dinosaurs from a fiery death, the animals end up being freed by Lockwood's granddaughter, Maisie (Isabella Sermon), to now go roaming wild in society.
Clearly, the threequel will be based around rounding them back up. The thing is, not everyone will have intentions like Owen and Claire to do so alive. It's unknown what the US Senate will sanction, as it had earlier voted to let the animals die on Isla Nublar, which means the government could send the military after them. Presently, as endangered as the dinos are, they're a threat to society, and honestly, the Senate is obligated to protect mankind. Even if ownership comes into play, Bayona cleverly leaves room to nullify it because after Eli killed Lockwood, any claim Maisie might have may well be contentious, given the big reveal that she's actually a clone of Lockwood's dead daughter.
Things up are also set up nicely for big game hunters, as we saw mercenaries lining up at Eli's auction, buying dinos for sport and to weaponize. The film does end with some of them actually leaving America with their trophies, but there's a big difference between buying a prehistoric beast and actually capturing or killing it yourself, which could lure them back for a hunt.
Last but not least, the genetic experimentation aspect of the franchise is far from settled, especially because we didn't see Wu die when Lockwood's estate burned down. In the closing montage, Russian mercenaries can also be glimpsed with various vials of dinosaur DNA, thus creating room for Wu to continue breeding hybrids. This, of course, doesn't bode well for the highly-evolved Blue, who'll undoubtedly be the most sought after dino of all, not just by Wu (who needs her to perfect the Indoraptor), but by Owen, whose time will definitely be split trying to help Claire corral the others.
Ultimately, the closing chapter in this trilogy has a lot of ground to cover. This ending does put it into perspective, though, why Trevorrow, a writer on all three flicks, indicated he'll be "getting a little back into the Paleontological, wild animal, true dinosaur nature of all of it." Also interesting is that he stated the first film was an adventure, the second a dark horror, and the third will be a science-thriller.
Apart from the ensuing dino-hunt, with human cloning now in the mix, maybe this could mean human-dinosaur hybrids, a concept writer John Sayles explored when the new trilogy was taking shape back in the early 2000s. Sure, it may seem overly ambitious, but as Fallen Kingdom illustrates, the franchise isn't afraid of being bold and delivering the unexpected.
Directed by J.A. Bayona from a script by Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and B.D. Wong, joined by Toby Jones, Rafe Spall, Justice Smith, Daniella Pineda, Ted Levine, Geraldine Chaplin, James Cromwell, and Jeff Goldblum.