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Most people show up for the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World trilogies for the dinosaurs, but the human characters have their fans, too. Some parts of the fandom have been holding out for a “happily ever after” ending for Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill). The chemistry between the two in Jurassic Park made shipper hearts go pitter-patter and ever since, the unanswered question has remained: Why didn’t those two paleo-nerds get together?
Surprise, surprise, it turns out that Colin Trevorrow is the biggest shipper of them all, as he helped woo Neill and Dern back to the franchise for Jurassic World Dominion pitching a story that finally resolved their relationship status.
Warning: There are spoilers for Jurassic World Dominion below.
A big subplot of the new film has Dr. Sattler and Dr. Grant reuniting once again at one of Alan’s dino dig sites. It’s there that she reveals she’s gotten divorced (having gotten married in Jurassic Park III) and we see their chemistry grow again from there. To the delight of many, the film even rewards audiences with a canon kiss between the two.
SYFY WIRE talked to Colin Trevorrow, Laura Dern and Sam Neill about how that storyline became such an important part of the trilogy finale story.
“I'd always felt that Ellie was the love of his life,” Neill says. “It was an unresolved thing. And it would be obvious that if Ellie turns up, that he'd basically do whatever she wants. Even if that meant leaving the comparative security of his old dig, which is really all he does these days is dig things, then so be it. She's the love of his life. And the great grit.”
Trevorrow says he felt the same way but worked with both actors to make sure that the two characters reconnect in a way that felt truthful and organic to the characters three decades after Jurassic Park.
“It was a process, just because the three of us wanted to make sure we earned it in this movie,” the director explains. “I had to understand from Laura Dern's perspective where Ellie would be at this point in her life, which wasn't too far away from Laura's own experience. And, to figure out whether Alan Grant had changed much at all, which actually isn't too far from Sam Neill. In this second act love story, they might be able to find a way to coexist in a way that might have not been possible when they were younger. That's such a true story for so many people in this world.”
Trevorrow says it made all the difference to build it from both of the actor’s perspective of their characters. “Hopefully, it feels earned and emotionally honest and true.”
Dern enthusiastically agrees and says it was down to three specific things that made the difference in her signing up to play Sattler again. First was Steven Spielberg calling her and asking her to return for Jurassic World Dominion.
“And Colin had grand, brilliant plans that he wanted to lay out for us, answering who would she be today as an activist and scientist?" she explains. "Who would she be in her life as a woman, and as a very independently-minded woman that we would want her to be today? And what would love look like and the longing for love look like?”
The actress admits she had no problem understanding her character’s affinity for Grant in all his grumpiness. “There's no dreamier, no more magical gentleman than Sam Neill,” she smiles. “But [Alan] has remained stuck in a certain aspect of his life and she has evolved, and basically demands that he evolve with her in activism, in doing something, in making a difference with the knowledge you have and using your voice in this life. I love that that is the inception of where their partnership will go. And if other things happen, isn't that fantastic? But more than love, the focus is about humanity and empathy. And that felt really cool to me.”
Jurassic World Dominion is exclusively in theaters now.