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Did you notice anything different about the dinosaurs featured in that 5-minute prologue to Jurassic World: Dominion? No, your eyes were not deceiving you — that T. rex really does have feathers. Breaking down the newly-released footage for IGN, Dominion's director and co-writer Colin Trevorrow explained that if he was going to show a snapshot of how prehistoric animals lived 65 million years ago, he had to do it in a way that carried no hints of human tampering.
“I think we have a really good logical explanation for why these are dinosaurs that look different than the other Jurassic dinosaurs have looked in the past,” he said. “In this case, it's that we're showing them in their original habitat. There was no frog DNA used to bridge the gaps in the genomes, so it gave us an opportunity to show dinosaurs with feathers ... We didn't want it to be unrecognizable, this is a heroic character we love and care about very much, but it allowed us to give context to what those 65 million years really represent in world history."
The aforementioned tyrannosaurus doesn't last long in a fight against a giganotosaurus (a species never before seen in the franchise), but its legacy lives on when a mosquito slurps up some of that tasty dino-blood. Fast forward to the present day where a brand-new T. rex cloned from that very DNA causes absolute bedlam at a drive-in theater following the events of Fallen Kingdom.
“It's an origin story, in the way we might get to do in a superhero film,” Trevorrow, who wrote Dominion alongside Emily Carmichael (Pacific Rim: Uprising), added. “The T. rex is a superhero for me. It really allows us to take this brilliant concept that [Jurassic Park author] Michael Crichton conceived, that is the foundation that all of this has been built on, and show it in its absolutely purest form."
Allowing the beast to stomp around an outdoor movie theater (one showing a double feature of two classics: Flash Gordon and American Graffiti) was intended to add a meta layer to the proceedings. “When she roars in front of the screen and the film burns up, the idea is that she is breaking out of the movie screen and now she's going to exist among us," Trevorrow explained. “It is something that Emily and I found to be pretty crucial as a way to start the film."
To the director, the T. rex is as much of a legacy character as Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), and Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) — all of whom will appear in the new movie as main characters.
"They’re a huge part of it, and equal partners to Owen and Claire and Maisie and our new characters we've brought in,” the director teased. “The challenge of a movie like that is to give every character their due, to honor everybody. That's part of what this prologue is about; I felt that if we didn't have this in the story, that the T. rex wasn’t being honored. She's a character too.”
Jurassic World: Dominion opens in theaters everywhere on June 10, 2022.