Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom leaned heavily in its trailers on the presence of Dr. Ian Malcolm, the mathematician made into an icon by Jeff Goldblum in the first two Jurassic Park films. For Jurassic fans, it added another key piece of nostalgia to this phase of the franchise, and it brought to mind two key question: Could Malcolm have been used more, and will he be the only one of the franchise's original big three scientists to come back?
**Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom below**
Though he was very heavily featured in the trailers and gave plenty of interviews to promote the film, Goldblum is really in Fallen Kingdom for only one scene, split up into two moments in the film: One at the beginning, and one at the end. Both times he's seated in the same chair in the same congressional hearing room, warning everyone about man's untrustworthiness with power and the world-changing implications of letting the dinosaurs continue to survive. It's a nice touch and it builds on the themes of the film, but that's all it is...a touch. Malcom never gets involved in the action (though he'd probably tell you he's had enough of that), never consults with the other main characters, and has what basically amounts to a fun glorified cameo. So, why was that Malcolm's re-entrance into the franchise? Speaking to the Empire Podcast as part of their "Spoiler Special" series, Fallen Kingdom co-writer and producer Colin Trevorrow (who also co-wrote and directed the first film and will return to direct and co-write the third) explained his reasoning, which has a lot to do with not wanting Malcolm to feel crammed in somewhere he didn't belong.
“[Taking Malcolm to the island, or introducing him in the first film] always felt really cheap to me. It always felt fake," Trevorrow said. "It felt like a construct of screenwriters trying to figure out how to fit in a character they love, and I have so much respect for those characters that I just wouldn’t want them doing anything that I don’t think they would naturally do. So in the first movie, the only thing that made sense to me was Dr. Wu, ‘cause he...you know, obviously the inventor of all that genetic technology. And in this one, as I said, you know, he’s our Al Gore. He’s someone who warned us of chaos theory and now we’re seeing it play out.”
So Goldblum had to wait for his return until Fallen Kingdom, and his presence was used only sparingly. Goldblum's arrival, though, definitely got some fans wondering if his colleagues from the original Jurassic Park film -- Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) -- may also be popping back up one day. Again, Trevorrow acknowledged that the temptation was definitely there to shoehorn the two fan-favorite characters into the revival of the franchise early on. Now that the park is destroyed and the dinosaurs are free to interact with humanity however they choose, though, Trevorrow has teased the idea that more old friends will be returning to examine our new Jurassic world.
“It’s almost like I’m fighting against my own instincts of wanting just the whole thing to be one giant Love Boat reunion special of just everybody, but the pattern that I’ve tried to follow here is that instead of putting everyone in the first movie and slowly killing them, we’re going to slowly bring people in , which hopefully will keep people interested in coming back to see how their favorite characters fit into this new world.”
At that point, just to be sure, interviewer Nick de Semlyen asked for a little clarity
“So [Fallen Kingdom] may not be the last of the legacy cast, so to speak?” he asked.
"No," Trevorrow replied. "No."
So, while he's not announcing Sattler and Grant are definitely coming back, or definitively saying which other characters he might be reviving, Trevorrow just keeps giving fans hope that classic franchise characters will keep reappearing as the Jurassic World leg of the franchise heads into its third installment, and it's not hard to see why. Goldblum was keen to keep fans hungry for more Laura Dern while making the press rounds, and Dern herself has said she'd love to come back. As for Neill...well, we've yet to hear from him, but the prospect of a full-blown Jurassic reunion might be enough to get him back.
Jurassic World 3 hits theaters June 11, 2021.