The Jurassic Park franchise has introduced us to a number of fun, dynamic, charismatic, and interesting characters over the last 26 years, but no matter how many new protagonists and antagonists are introduced, fans will forever possess a particularly special love for the trio of heroes from the original movie. The dinosaurs may have been the blockbuster attraction of Steven Spielberg’s original 1993 release, but it was also in large part because of Sam Neill’s Alan Grant, Laura Dern’s Ellie Sattler, and Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm that the film became one of the greats of cinema history.
Because of this, the news that the characters will be reuniting in the upcoming-and-untitled Jurassic World 3 comes as little surprise, but is also tremendously exciting. It’s also a situation that demands a bit of reflection: where exactly did the Jurassic Park franchise last leave these iconic characters? In order to help your memory, we’ve put together this little feature!
Part of what makes Dr. Alan Grant such a great character is that he is a man who is completely dedicated to his passion – which is the field of paleontology. He is one of the world's foremost authorities on dinosaurs, having not only had experience with fossil finds in dig sites, but also dealing with the DNA-spliced creations that were created as part of Dr. John Hammond’s dream of a spectacular new kind of amusement park.
Alan Grant, of course, was one of the small group of experts brought in to preview Jurassic Park prior to its original planned opening, and after dealing with all of the chaos involving Brachiosauruses, Velociraptors, a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and more, he declined to offer his stamp of approval. But that wasn’t the last time that he encountered dinosaurs. He was also front and center in the adventure known as Jurassic Park III, which had him traveling to Isla Sorna, the giant lizard-housing sister island to Jurassic Park’s Isla Nublar, and rescuing a teenager who got lost during a parasailing expedition with his father.
Having nearly been killed by dinosaurs several times, Alan Grant should probably hate the creatures, but when we last saw him at the end of Jurassic Park III he seemed to be just as fascinated by them as he’d ever been. Sadly we have not really gotten any kind of update on his current whereabouts via either Jurassic World or Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, but surely part of the upcoming Jurassic World 3 will fill in the gaps.
Ellen "Ellie" Degler (née Sattler)
As both work and relationship partners, Ellie Sattler and Alan Grant made a great pair right from the start of Jurassic Park, with her specialty as a paleobotanist perfectly balancing his work on the fauna side of things. Like Alan, she too has an incredible love for dinosaurs, which can be read right in her expression when she gets to see a living one for the first time.
Like the rest of the surviving preview group at the center of Jurassic Park, Ellie barely escaped with her life after being invited to tour the titular would-be vacation location, and it even looked like her relationship with Alan had grown stronger because of the events. After all, the biggest issue between them seemed to be Alan’s dislike of kids, and his time with young Lex (Ariana Richards) and Tim (Joseph Mazzello) seemed to fix that.
As seen in Jurassic Park III, though, fate had a different plan for Ellie and Alan. The two broke up due to their differing views on the future of their relationship, and eventually Ellie and married a State Department employee named Mark Degler (hence the name change). Together they have a young son, and while she stepped away from the world of dinosaurs after the events at Jurassic Park, something tells us that she’ll be pulled right back in thanks to the adventure that plays out in Jurassic World 3.
Unlike Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler, Ian Malcolm wasn’t invited to explore Jurassic Park because of his extensive knowledge about dinosaurs and prehistory. Instead, because of his background as a chaotician, it was believed that he would bring an interesting perspective as an insurance consultant who could see particular shortcomings in the development of the park. As it turned out, this was quite astute. Fortunately, those “shortcomings” didn’t wind up costing him his life, but they very nearly did.
Adding insult to injury, Ian was met with tons of issues after returning home and publishing a book about his Jurassic Park experience titled “God Creates Dinosaurs,” which eventually led to him being discredited by John Hammond's nephew, Peter Ludlow (Arliss Howard). As seen in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, he also found himself quickly once again face to face with the ancient monsters after discovering details about an expedition involving his girlfriend, Sarah Harding (Julianne More). It was yet another adventure that he barely survived.
Naturally, all of this didn’t exactly leave Ian Malcolm as the biggest fan of dinosaurs – which explains a lot in regard to the attitude he possesses when we last saw him in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Having personally seen the potential destruction of the creatures, he was brought in to testify in front of a congressional committee in regards to whether or not the dinos of Isla Nublar should be destroyed, and he voted yet. That didn’t really happen, though, as many of the unnatural beasts were brought back to America, and the result, in his words, is “Jurassic World.” And it's that world that we will get to see further developed in Jurassic World 3.
Are you excited to see Alan Grant, Ellie Degler, and Ian Malcolm reunite in Jurassic World 3? What are you hoping that the film has in store for them? Do you think Alan and Ellie could get back together? Hit the comments section below with all of your thoughts, feelings, and opinions, and stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for all of the latest updates about the developing blockbuster.
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Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.