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If you want an example of some resourceful teens, just check out Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous. For five seasons, Darius (Paul-Mikél Williams), Ben (Sean Giambrone), Yaz (Kausar Mohammed), Brooklynn (Jenna Ortega), Kenji (Ryan Potter), and Sammy (Raini Rodriguez) were chased, hunted, thrown around, and just about eaten by the dinosaurs of Isla Nublar. Originally, they were campers who had been invited to the island's brand new Camp Cretaceous opportunity. But, as tends to happen in the Jurassic franchise, the systems failed, the dinos escaped and the six kids were left behind in the chaos to fend for themselves.
Despite their disparate backgrounds, Darius was able to lead them to safety and friendship as they ran for their lives. In the fifth and final season of the series, the teens unraveled the truth about Daniel Kon, the President of Mantah Corp., exposed the B.R.A.D. program, and figured out how to finally get back to their lives and families. And, right at the very end of the series, Camp Cretaceous gave audiences an unexpected finale that ties the series right back to the events of Jurassic World Dominion.
To unpack all the big reveals of the season and explain how they came about, executive producer Scott Kreamer got on a Zoom with SYFY WIRE to explain how he and his writers worked closely with Jurassic World franchise executive producer Colin Trevorrow to get everything to snap together.
***Spoilers below for the Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous Series Finale***
As you were writing the end of Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, Colin Trevorrow was also knee-deep in making Dominion. Were you able to talk much about dove-tailing the two projects?
Yeah, Colin never played it close to the vest with us. When Colin was in the writers' room, he let us know what was coming in Dominion. We always had the issue that our show starts in December 2015, so there was never a way we were gonna end our show alongside Dominion. The timing didn't make sense. And I don't know how Colin was able to write and direct and produce and do his movie, while always making time for us. He always, always gave his two cents whether it was a little course correction or a pitch or to say, "I don't like that," or "I love this!" Colin was always very open with us. He once said, "Nobody knows more about Dominion than our writers' room."
One of the striking reversals in the final season is how the kids come to the side of the dinosaurs. The B.R.A.D.-X chipped dinos are being exploited, the kids see it and rally to rescue them. Was that always the endgame for these kids to become the protectors?
I don't know if that was necessarily what we set out to do. Not to sound all writer-y, but the characters sort of lead you to where the story is supposed to go. You've got a kid like Darius and a bunch of smart, capable, flawed kids alongside him, and it just felt like a natural way to put their own lives, to put their chance of rescue, to prioritize "defenseless animals" and save them over themselves.
You have a franchise-familiar T. rex battle in your final episode. Was that on your wish list?
We always wanted to avenge the T. rex getting beaten by the Spinosaurus [in Jurassic Park III]. I kind of alluded to that earlier. Once we brought the Spinosaurus in, that was something that was on my bucket list of things to do in this series. I wanted the T. rex to get the last laugh on Spinosaurus.
The Spinosaurus looks pretty great for a CG animation series. Were you still getting the dino files from ILM to base your renderings on this series?
Yes, we get those files, which are so huge and massive from the feature films that we couldn't even hope to open them. [Laughs.] But we have an amazing team of artists and designers. They look dynamite on our show, but at their core, they're a simplified version of what you see on the big screen. We're just lucky to have our designers and our animators and animation partner studio, CGCG Inc., and the DreamWorks hub team. And then it was up to our amazing team to interpret it and then make it look as good as it ends up looking.
It's surprising to say this but it's hard not to feel terrible for Kenji this season, especially after witnessing how his father treats him. How early on did you figure out that arc and reveal?
We always called it, "the battle for Kenji's soul," once we landed on the idea that someday we were going to bring Kenji's dad back as our Big Bad. It's one of those things that happens organically. It's set up from Season 1 as this rich kid with an absentee father who never prioritizes him. You can just see that he's always wanted to please him and gain some modicum of respect or appreciation. We always knew we were going to come down to this general idea.
You also get to pull an Ocean's 11-style flashback in the final episodes where we see exactly what the kids have been orchestrating to get around Daniel.
Yeah, like heist movies. [Laughs.] These are capable kids, but like every step of the way, Daniel's been two steps ahead. Whether it's trapping them at the end of the previous season, or blatantly manipulating his son. We wanted them to finally be the ones who were one step ahead. And it had to work. They had to get Daniel out of there. And it's fun to figure that out. It's a pain. There's a lot of logistics. And again, not all of it makes it on the screen. But as the writers and storytellers behind the show, we had to know. It's got to make sense. Otherwise, it's just not going to land.
It's a big surprise in the final episodes to see Darius' brother (Benjamin Flores Jr.) and former Camp Cretaceous counselors Dave (Glen Powell) and Roxie (Jameela Jamil) come to the rescue.
It felt like it was all leading to that. But also Benji and Jameela and Glen was so great. We hated to lose them. They were criminally underused, but it's a show about kids stuck on an island so there's no way around it. That's also part of the reason that you want to bring these amazing people back. You can't just do it for that reason, but it made it easy for the storytelling to lend itself to that. We put these kids through so much over 49 episodes. In the end, yeah, we wanted a happy ending. There were many discussions about not, but at the end of the day, we put them through so much that it needs to feel like finally, these kids can breathe.
Talk about the dock reunion with the parents which is a rare moment of both the kids and the parents getting a chance to see each other with gratitude.
There's a much bigger scene that we had originally written. Unfortunately, there were time restraints and we can only build so many parents. But I'm very happy with how it came out. There was definitely some more waterworks moments that would have happened. But again, I think the team did a great job.
Maybe the biggest shocker is the end of series time jump, where we see all the kids more grown and still friends.
We had to do a time jump. It wouldn't make sense otherwise. We played with ideas of they get back home and then dinosaurs are walking around, but it doesn't make sense. So again, it was great giving these kids that happy ending and giving Ben long hair. [Laughs.] They've been through so much and they counted on each other and had no one else to count on but each other. I was excited that it ended up coming together the way it did.
And then that jaw-dropping moment of Darius seeing a dinosaur outside his bedroom window!
I had that idea about Darius seeing the dinosaur out the window, I think, from the meeting that I got the job. It always felt like that was the last shot.
It certainly opens the door for a future series seeing that these kids are the most prepared to actually exist amongst dinosaurs?
Those were almost the exact words I had with Colin, that these kids are probably more capable of dealing with the coexistence of humans and dinosaurs than anybody else on the planet except for maybe Owen Grady and Claire Dearing.
Were you struck with how many direct ties there were between your series and Jurassic World Dominion?
I got to see a couple of early cuts of Dominion and the idea that Louis Dodgson had that Barbasol can in the movie and he found it in our show, that's crazy. Or that BioSyn's remote herding technology chips started with the Mantah Corp Island chips.
Or how the habitat control office looked just like the camp rooms in the trees?
That's so funny. I was with some other people from the show when we saw it, and we looked up and said, "Oh, my gosh, all they need is a slide!" [Laughs.]
You got to tell a complete story with Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous that fans of the franchise really embraced. How do you feel about the experience overall?
These opportunities don't come along. And to get a chance to be on the team that got to tell this story, it's life-changing. It sounds a little corny, but it is. I love these characters. And I love this crew and I love this cast. And I love the show. I'm just very grateful and very lucky. And then, on top of all of that, for the fans to enjoy it the way they've enjoyed it, this kind of thing doesn't happen that often, so I'm very mindful of that. And just very grateful to have been a small part of it.
All five seasons of Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous are streaming on Netflix. Jurassic World Dominion is now available to watch as VOD.