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Paul-Mikel Williams looks back at Darius' inspiring arc in 'Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous'

Paul-Mikel Williams, who plays Darius Bowman in Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, says his character has been inspiring to kids.

Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous

The Jurassic Park and Jurassic World franchises have two major things in common: dinosaurs and putting kids in peril. Tim (Joseph Mazzello) got zapped on the security fence in the first film and Maisie Lockwood (Isabella Sermon) almost got smooshed by a Giganotosaurus and T. rex in the most-recent entry, Jurassic World Dominion. "Resourceful kids surviving" might as well be the unofficial tagline to all the films. And, that certainly carries through to the franchise's canon, animated series, Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous which just dropped its fifth, and final season on Netflix on July 22. 

In the series, a group of six teens — Darius (Paul-Mikel Williams), Ben (Sean Giambrone), Yaz (Kausar Mohammed), Brooklynn (Jenna Ortega), Kenji (Ryan Potter), and Sammy (Raini Rodriguez) — get the opportunity of a lifetime to be the first campers at Camp Cretaceous on Isla Nublar. Strangers on day one, these disparate kids learn to appreciate one another as they run for their lives when the whole of Jurassic World is destroyed as portrayed in the series and the big-screen movies. From the first episode, actor Paul-Mikel Williams has voiced the series' hero, dino-geek Darius Bowman. A science-lover who recently lost his dad to cancer, Darius brings the smarts and the empathy to the cast and he's consistently working to get them all back home. 

With the end of the series now here, Williams got on a Zoom to tell SYFY WIRE how much playing Darius has meant to him.

"I can effectively say that I have learned so many things from Darius, just by playing him.," Williams says. "He's hard-working. He has amazing leadership skills. And the reason I love to get to play such a wonderful character is because I can inspire other people through the way the writers wrote him."

In fact, over the course of the series, Williams says he's gotten so much fan mail from viewers who tell him that Darius has sparked a love of science in them. "There have been multiple times where I've gotten letters from kids that say they want to be paleontologists, or they want to be researchers and scientists when they grow up," he says. "They love my character because they connect to him. There's an inspiration factor of me being so grateful to play a character that can connect to people on a level that maybe the majority of the community don't really think about in regards to science and paleontology."

Through Darius, Williams has experienced about every single terrifying dino set piece one can imagine across 49 episodes of Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous. Williams says there was a singular note voice director and executive producer Scott Kreamer gave him that stayed with him every single voice session: Always be scared. "These six campers are going through so many things and they're children," the actor explains with a laugh. "None of them are adults. Not even the bare minimum of 18 years old. The range is 13 to 16 years old. Having to brave all of these different environments and ecosystems with very limited resources and information, that's a lot on children."

With the adventures wrapping up with a happy ending in the finale, Williams says he was pleased the series got to bring the kids full circle with their families. "Similar to the first season where we saw flashbacks of Darius and his dad, in Season 5, we get to see a lot more of that in the end. I really appreciated that last episode wholeheartedly just because of how many heartwarming scenes there were, and how much I got to portray Darius being emotional. Usually, he's in that stoic leader mentality trying to get these kids off of these islands. The writers covered basically everything I wanted for the series."

As to the fast-forward in time showing a much more grown Darius witnessing the first dinosaur on the mainland, Williams says that twist was a huge surprise when he read the script for the first time. "Scott had hinted to it in a couple of earlier episodes. But I saw it on that day when I read the script and it said, "Darius, who is now 16." It literally said that in the script, and I was like, ''Wow, this is crazy that I have gotten the opportunity to age with this character!' Because I am now 16 years old. I started this show when I was 12 years old, which was four years ago, and it's still crazy looking back on that. I got to evolve with Darius and learn things from him."

Asked what the last day of voice recording was like, Williams says, "I got so emotional when I did my last record for the show. I really hope that they do bring back these characters because being a part of the Jurassic Park/World franchise and having so many connections, it's surreal to see that I'm a part of it. Now I'm so interested in seeing the character development of "The Nublar Six."

Every season of Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous is now streaming on Netflix. Jurassic World: Dominion is now available to watch on VOD.

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