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The Jurassic film franchise has never shied away from spotlighting strong female characters on the silver screen. That proud cinematic tradition is carried forth in Jurassic World Dominion (out June 10), which features the triumphant return of the greatest dinosaur-fighting woman of them all: Laura Dern's Ellie Sattler.
"When we made the first Jurassic Park movie, I was aware that we were creating a character that was unusual in an action film," Dern explains in a new Dominion featurette. "It was important to Steven [Spielberg] and myself that Ellie was a feminist, female action character ... It felt really exciting that that became a takeaway for people who loved the film. She's badass and physically strong and complicated and funny."
"Dr. Ellie Sattler was such an iconic character and such an important character because she's a scientist and a paleobotanist," adds Bryce Dallas Howard (reprising former Jurassic World executive turned dino-conservationist, Claire Dearing). "It was really important to see an inspiring character like that as a young person." Howard also makes a point of emphasizing the fact that all the animals in Jurassic Park originally started out as women.
Check out the featurette (perfectly titled "Women Inherit the Earth") below:
Beyond the inclusion of Ellie and Claire, Dominion also takes the time to introduce a brand-new heroine, a seasoned aviator by the name of Kayla Watts (played by DeWanda Wise). Co-writers Colin Trevorrow and Emily Carmichael wanted to make sure that Kayla didn't feel like a bland cardboard cutout of a human being. The character — who is bisexual, a native of Detroit, and an Air Force veteran — has a fully-fleshed out personality and backstory.
“It was a really dope and atypical opportunity to give her some legs to stand on,” Wise recently told Variety. “I always think it shows up [on screen]; you can feel the difference between a character who’s one-dimensional and one who clearly has had an entire life before she has met any of these people.”
“It was very important to introduce a new hero who could potentially define the future of this franchise,” said Trevorrow, who returned to direct this third chapter. “We’ve had the opportunity to hopefully make someone that young girls are going to be dressing up as at Halloween for years to come.”
Isabella Sermon rounds out the movie's group of empowered women as Maisie Lockwood (taking on a larger role from Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom). "Maisie, as a character, has grown up with Claire as a mother who is really strong and fiery," Sermon remarks in the featurette above. "Ellie [is] so intellectual and clever and really powerful. DeWanda's character, Kayla ... she's super fierce and tough. It's been really amazing to work with such strong, independent women."
Jurassic World Dominion takes a bite out of theaters Friday, June 10.