While we’ve got some time before Jurassic World: Dominion releases in theaters next year, after seeing the brand-new five-minute preview that has finally hit YouTube, we’ve got a lot of food for thought to keep us busy in the meantime. In this instance, it happens to be one of the franchise’s longest-running characters – the original t-rex!
If you’ve not yet seen the Jurassic World: Dominion preview, which was shown alongside Fast & Furious 9 in IMAX just a few months ago, we recommend checking it out online now and then coming back here, because we’re going to get into spoilers. Although the chances are that, if you’re reading this, you’ve probably already seen it!
The five-minute film is the second short in the Jurassic Park film series, following 2019’s Battle at Big Rock, which pits a family against an allosaur while on a camping trip, making it the first sequel to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, at the end of which dinosaurs are released onto mainland America.
The Jurassic World: Dominion preview, however, is the first prequel in the series, as it takes us back 65 million years! This land before time introduces us to several prehistoric beasts: a flock of huge flying reptiles known as Quetzalcoatlus, a herd of Nasutoceratops, and Giganotosaurus, a predator that rivals even T-Rex in size.
To demonstrate these comparisons to the audience, a fight breaks out between the new dinosaur and a t-rex (which is actually sporting some feathers, making it more paleo-accurate than any other version in the series). The battle doesn’t last long, though (it’s even shorter than the t-rex-vs-spinosaurus fight in Jurassic Park III), and the rex is left for dead on the ground.
While this fight is more than likely foreshadowing Jurassic World: Dominion’s prehistoric protagonist (each entry so far has featured its own genetically-engineered ‘end boss’), there’s a lot more meat to the bone here, which is pretty obvious from the mosquito that ends up drinking blood from the dead rex.
We then jump forward to the present day – four years after the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, to be specific. In a previous interview, director Colin Trevorrow confirmed this, stating that, in his mind, each Jurassic Park movie has been set in the ‘present day’ at the time of its release (except of course for the first few minutes of this preview!).
In this scene, a police helicopter is chasing the Jurassic World t-rex through the Sierra Nevada Forest, but she ends up storming into a drive-thru cinema! In a scene not unlike the San Diego incident in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, the rex wreaks havoc, flipping over vehicles and causing mass panic, before roaring in front of the cinema screen.
Fortunately, it appears that no one is killed (which we think is largely due to the fact that this particular dinosaur has become something of an anti-hero in more recent films), and the t-rex – more affectionately known as ‘Rexy’ by fans – is herded back into the forest by the pursuing helicopter before the film ends.
On first viewing, this might feel like a five-minute-long trailer to Jurassic World: Dominion, but it’s actually the official prologue to the main feature (although we’re not sure whether or not it will be the actual opening). And there’s a lot to take away from this preview, as it really sets the stage for the sixth installment in the Jurassic Park series.
While it might have been better for the preview to focus on the present-day sequence in its entirety, there are a number of reasons why it first takes us back in time to the Cretaceous era. First of all, it wants to wow audiences who, at the time of its release, were already in an IMAX screening for Fast & Furious 9.
The second reason, however, is important to understanding what Jurassic World: Dominion will, in part, be about. We all know what the nutshell-premise is – dinosaurs are now living on the mainland. And the scene with the drive-thru cinema, just like the camping trip and those end credits in the Battle at Big Rock, are snapshots of this.
But there’s a focus in the preview that might not be all that obvious. The real reason we jump back in time is to meet Rexy’s ancestor, which is why we need to have the feathered t-rex die in the first place so that we can then see the mosquito feeding off her body. In that same interview a few months ago, Trevorrow talked about this as well, saying:
“Obviously the T-Rex needed to die in this in order for us to tell the story of how, in that moment, the mosquito bit her and ultimately fell into amber and she was made again. But I wouldn’t want kids to be traumatized by seeing the T-Rex die, so I wanted to make sure that we immediately cut to her in the present day being chased by the cops.”
So, as we know, the mosquito in question would eventually become preserved in amber, and 65 million years later, be discovered by InGen scientists. Using the fossilized DNA, InGen would end up genetically engineering a clone of that same t-rex from all those millions of years ago. And the cloned version is the one we first meet in the 1993 film – Rexy.
Rexy is absent for The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III, both of which are set on the second InGen island, Isla Sorna (or Site B). But she makes a triumphant return in Jurassic World (2015), when Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard), releases her from her enclosure to battle the Indominus Rex.
But this isn’t the first time Rexy is portrayed as an anti-hero – Jurassic Park already has that honor, as she saves Alan (Sam Neill), Ellie (Laura Dern), Lex (Ariana Richards), and Tim (Joe Mazzello) from the raptors. Rexy returns in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and saves the day in that film too, by eating mustache-twirling villain Eli Mills (Rafe Spall)!
And it looks like Jurassic World: Dominion will continue to anthropomorphize the fan-favorite t-rex, just like the Jurassic World movies have also done with Blue the raptor, who also helps save the day in each film so far. So it’s fair to say that these two dinosaurs are now considered to be characters in their own right, just like any of the human ones.
We now also know that Rexy’s journey doesn’t just start the moment we meet her in Jurassic Park, or even when she was first born in an InGen lab several years before the first film begins, for that matter. Her story started all those millions of years ago with her direct ancestor. In the interview, Trevorrow elaborated on Rexy’s story, saying:
“We will see her in the third film, and this [Jurassic World: Dominion preview] is really setting up her arc in the third film. The T-Rex has been through a lot. I’m with you, I find her to be a major character as well. She started on Isla Nublar, a park that never opened and then she went through the events of Jurassic World, which were probably pretty traumatic for her. Then her home was destroyed and she was taken to a totally foreign environment, and now she’s basically on the run from the cops, and it’s all really stressful. I want her to live in peace. That’s all I want for her. So hopefully, the audience will want the same thing.”
So what will Jurassic World: Dominion mean for Rexy? With the sixth installment in the Jurassic Park franchise potentially being the last, it’s likely that her very long journey will somehow come to an end. But thankfully, it doesn’t sound like Colin Trevorrow is prepared to kill off one of the franchise’s most unsung heroes.
Jurassic World: Dominion stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, and original actors Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum, and will release in theaters on June 10, 2022.
How do you think Rexy’s journey will end in Jurassic World: Dominion?