Jurassic World Dominion: Why DeWanda Wise’s Kayla Watts Is The Best Character Of The Trilogy, And How She Should Return

DeWanda Wise as Kayla in Jurassic World Dominion
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

SPOILERS are ahead for Jurassic World Dominion, now playing only in theaters. 

And just like that, the Jurassic World trilogy is over. Within the past seven years, dinosaurs have ruled the box office and our pop culture as the famed franchise returned to big screens nearly 15 years after we last visited Isla Nublar and the prehistoric creatures crossing paths with the modern world in the Jurassic Park movies. Jurassic World Dominion capped off the most recent Jurassic era, bringing together both Park and World characters, along with introducing a couple new faces. Surprisingly, DeWanda Wise’s Kayla was the biggest scene-stealer in this new movie, and the thread that I’m most interested to follow next. 

The idea that I came out of Jurassic World Dominion thinking most about DeWanda Wise’s debut in the franchise is actually wild because this is a movie that stuffs together Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard’s characters from the previous two movies and the original trio from the first Jurassic Park movie. While I did enjoy the Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern and Sam Neill stuff, it did feel as if the characters this trilogy most belonged to were not as interesting as they used to be. With that imbalance in mind (and critics have a lot to say about Dominion's shortcomings), Wise’s presence was a breath of fresh air. Let’s get into it more. 

DeWanda Wise and Bryce Dallas Howard in plane in Jurassic World: Dominion

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Who Is DeWanda Wise’s Jurassic World Character?

First, here’s what Jurassic World Dominion established for Kayla Watts. DeWanda Wise’s new character is a contract pilot who is working for Biosyn, the movie’s villainous genetic company. During Dominion, we learn that Kayla used to be in the Air Force, but dropped out for some unknown reason. After leaving, she went into the business of taking illegal cargo in and out of Mombasa, and later crossed paths with Biosyn and started working for them in transporting high-ticket items and prehistoric animals for the company under the table.

After seeing young clone Maisie, previously introduced in Fallen Kingdom, being transported through Biosyn, Kayla feels guilty and decides to help Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt’s Owen and Claire in retrieving her from Biosyn. She flys them to Biosyn, where they end up crashing due to a flock of Quetzalcoatlus dinos attacking them. Following the crash, Kayla teams up with Owen to get past some more dinos, and later in the film she's part of the entire ensemble teaming up for the final act. 

Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, Laura Dern, Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, DeWanda Wise in Jurassic world dominion

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Why Kayla Is The Best Character Of The Jurassic World Trilogy

DeWanda Wise's Kayla oozes cool and an Indiana Jones-like feel in Jurassic World Dominion that the movie wouldn’t otherwise have had. DeWanda Wise brings a genuineness to the character that sticks out where other characters fade into the background because they are cruising through their archetypes and have perhaps tired out their charm over the three films. By the end of the Jurassic World trilogy, it feels as though the filmmakers were uninspired by the storyline between Owen and Claire. Instead of evolving in an especially interesting way, their characters were the concerned pseudo-parents of Maisie who happen to know about dinosaurs.   

Kayla is the best Jurassic World character because she truly encompasses what the trilogy as a whole is trying to say. As the movie ends, it sends a blatant message about the importance of coexisting in an evolving world. Within Kayla’s introduction, she is going through the motions to survive for herself, but once she notices something awry with Biosyn, she feels guilty and decides to risk her life and job to help strangers. Kayla is the example of the message of our need to find ways to live in harmony, even at times when it doesn’t make sense to or it's easier to be divided by differences. 

DeWanda Wise in Jurassic World: Dominion

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

What Colin Trevorrow Has Said About Kayla’s Future In Jurassic World 

It’s not only me who is into Kayla Watts and wants to see more of her. When CinemaBlend’s own Mike Reyes spoke to Dominion’s writers Emily Carmichael and Colin Trevorrow, Kayla was the main subject of conversation when he asked about the future of the franchise. In their words: 

Emily Carmichael: "So much is gonna happen. The world is so rich. There's gonna be a Kayla Watts/Zia spinoff movie. I mean, this is just, literally I'm pitching this to you right now. This is the first the world is hearing about it."

Colin Trevorrow: "Not official, but I support it. And actually, I don't know if Kayla Watts is a spinoff. I think she's the main line."

Kayla was already on their minds when thinking about Dominion, and this is absolutely the correct answer. It seems like it may have even been intentional to build out Kayla as new blood just as this trilogy finishes off its storylines for the characters we already know and love. 

Dinosaur nearly bites heroes in Jurassic World: Dominion

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

How Kayla Should Return Following Dominion

Following Dominion, the Jurassic World franchise, should it return in the near future, needs a shake-up, and Kayla Watts could send it into the future with her unique character. I imagine the next Jurassic era remains in a world where dinosaurs and humans continue to coexist, and Kayla decides to take a larger part in the protection of the planet. Since Kayla gives serious Indy vibes, I imagine the next movie would be another big action story, and it could easily follow the cargo pilot on an exciting globe-trotting expedition, perhaps into the genetics black market that the movie somewhat established. 

Perhaps Dichen Lachman’s Soyona Santos has found a way to keep her business going without Biosyn, and after working with the company for some time, she’d be the right person to take them down. Perhaps some kind of underground breeding of dinosaurs is messing with the ecosystem, and it becomes up to Kayla to quietly figure out where the belly of the operation is. 

We’ll have to wait and see how Jurassic World Dominion does in theaters following Top Gun: Maverick’s massive numbers before Universal gets talking about what could be next. Until then, you can check out what other upcoming 2022 movies are worth a see on the big screen. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.