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If the last seven years have taught us anything, it's that the Jurassic media franchise doesn't stay extinct for very long. Michael Crichton's inspired sci-fi concept of cloning dinosaurs from the blood of insects trapped in fossilized amber has captivated moviegoing audiences for close to three decades and netted billions of dollars at the global box office. That overall figure is certain to grow this weekend as Jurassic World Dominion plays in theaters across North America.
While the long-awaited trilogy capper (co-written by Colin Trevorrow, who returned to direct) is intended to be the end of the current iteration of the blockbuster series, we've got a nagging suspicion the prehistoric IP isn't done excavating the possibilities of dino-related adventures, and the producers have said as much.
"I think that Dominion's going to wrap up this trilogy, but we're not resting on our laurels," producer Frank Marshall said earlier this year. "We're going to sit down, and we're going to see what the future is. We have that wonderful series, Camp Cretaceous, on Netflix. We obviously want to make quality, good movies with great storytelling, great writers and directors, but we're definitely looking to do more in the Jurassic world."
But what's next for the scaly and feathered mythos? What fresh narrative territory can the franchise blaze? We've got an idea or two...
***WARNING! The following contains spoilers for all of Jurassic World Dominion!***
Dominion closes out with humans coming to grips with the fact that they'll just have to live side-by-side with dinosaurs for the rest of time. There's no putting the proverbial genie back in the bottle after Maisie's decision to release the animals from the Lockwood estate at the end of 2018's Fallen Kingdom.
In fact, the third chapter in Trevorrow's Jurassic World saga is less about solving the question of how to contain dinosaurs run amok and more about preventing Biosyn (and its sleazy CEO, Lewis Dodgson; played by The Amazing Spider-Man vet, Campbell Scott) from decimating the world's food supply with genetically engineered locusts whipped by the ever-reliable Henry Wu (BD Wong).
This non-resolution of the overarching dinosaur problem leaves the door open for more stories in the vein of the film's opening, where Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), Zia Rodriguez (Daniella Pineda), and Franklin Webb (Justice Smith) rescue a baby Triceratops from an illegal breeding operation in Nevada.
There's a ripe opportunity to move away from the cautionary tale of meddling with the building blocks of life and further explore the cruel and illicit practices that have taken advantage of such an unprecedented situation. We know what kind of scientific shenanigans led us to this point, so it's time for a new perspective on this world. It's time to shake up the format and ask "Ok, so what happens now that freakin' lizard monsters walk among us?"
Give us a Jack Ryan-style prequel about how the Maltese black market came to be and Barry's (Omar Sy) undercover efforts with French intelligence to gain the trust of the shady parties who run it. While we're at it, let's also bring back DeWanda Wise's breakout Dominion character, hotshot and Han Solo-y pilot Kayla Watts, for more smuggling fun at 30,000 feet. Just don't ever tell her the odds!
Or what about a House of Chards-inspired political drama centered around the government process of shaping dinosaur policy? Perhaps Ramsay Cole (Mamoudou Athie) has walked the path of Catch Me if You Can's Frank Abagnale and is now using his knowledge of Dodgson's backhanded and felonious dealings to advise those at the federal level and enact real change. But here's the rub: the government turns out to be just as morally bankrupt as his old boss!
Here's our personal favorite, though: a Se7en-esque murder mystery in which a deranged psychopath starts picking off the animals in rapid succession. By the end, we learn that their motive is to re-establish humanity's dominance over the planet. Yes, we realize that's exactly the goal of Demián Bichir's character in Godzilla vs. Kong, but you see what we mean. The genre needs to — dare we say it — evolve if the Jurassic franchise wants to continue.
Of course, there is always the option to throw caution to the wind and go with totally insane idea concocted for the unmade Jurassic Park IV, which would have featured dinosaur-human hybrids. Remember: this was the early-to-mid 2000s when human-animal hybrids were actually a cause of concern for the government.
In any case, that's about the only way you can up the genetic/Frankenstein's monster ante after Dominion's introduction of the largest land carnivore the world has ever known, Giganotosaurus. However, the question then becomes how far is the audience willing to stretch its disbelief? Can the Jurassic name jump the Mosasaurus and come out intact on the other side or will a gonzo premise lead to a permanent extinction-level event? Only time will tell.
Jurassic World Dominion is now playing in theaters everywhere. Click here to purchase tickets. The fifth and final season of Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous will premiere on Netflix on Thursday, July 21.