Where Has Ellie Sattler Been Since Jurassic Park III?

Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) hasn’t been seen since Jurassic Park III but is returning alongside Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) in Jurassic World: Dominion. The original Jurassic Park was based on the best-selling novel by Michael Crichton, who also wrote and directed the original Westworld. The 1993 movie version would prove to be a groundbreaking blockbuster, and in addition to featuring a great cast and setpieces, it pioneered the use of CGI effects. After two sequels, only one of which included Ellie, the franchise was given a soft reboot in 2015 as Jurassic World, which featured entirely new characters.


Steven Spielberg would return to direct The Lost World: Jurassic Park, based once again on a Crichton novel. Unfortunately, the sequel suffered in comparison to the original, and Spielberg later admitted he felt bored making it. Jurassic Park III was helmed by Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger), which started filming with an unfinished script and was met with mediocre reviews. The series then went into hibernation for a period while numerous scripts were developed, returning in 2015 with the enormously successful Jurassic Worldwritten and co-directed by Colin Trevorrow. Trevorrow would return as writer and executive producer on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Jurassic World: Dominion.

Related: Will Jurassic World 3 Finally Use The Human-Dino Concept Art?

Fans of the original Jurassic Park were particularly excited when advance footage from Jurassic World: Dominion showed three familiar members of the original Jurassic Park cast returning: Dr. Ian Malcolm, Dr. Alan Grant, and of course, Dr. Ellie Sattler. Now that the gang are reuniting for the first time since 1993, here’s everything you need to know about Ellie in preparation for Jurassic World: Dominion.

What Happened To Ellie In The Jurassic Park Movies?

Laura Dern and Sam Neill Ellie Sattler and Alan Grant Jurassic Park

Ellie Sattler was introduced in Crichton’s original novel, with Laura Dern (Twin Peaks: The Return) playing the character in Spielberg’s adaptation. She is a paleobotanist, meaning she studies fossilized and extinct plants. The movie changes her relationship with Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) from the novel, making them romantically involved. She and Alan are invited to inspect the park by owner John Hammond, and Ellie becomes part of the group stranded on the island of Isla Nubar when the dinosaurs break loose. After run-ins with the T-Rex and being stalked by Velociraptors, she, Alan, and the others are rescued.

Jurassic Park ends with the suggestion Grant has overcome his aversion to having a family after saving Hammond’s grandchildren Lex and Tim. Sadly, Jurassic Park III reveals things didn’t work out between Ellie and Alan, with Grant remaining committed to his work and Ellie choosing to marry someone else and have two children (though she and Alan remained friends). The movie also reveals she became a children’s author, and in the finale, she’s responsible for sending the Marines to rescue Alan and the group stranded on Site B.

Ellie Sattler Returns In Jurassic World: Dominion

Ellie Sattler looking behind while walking away in Jurassic World Dominion

After more than two decades since her last onscreen appearance, Ellie Sattler is returning for Jurassic World: Dominion. She was once rumored to be making an appearance, mostly during the decade-long development process for Jurassic World, but that never materialized.  Jurassic Park fans hoping for an Ellie Sattler comeback eventually got their wish, however. Jurassic World: Dominion will feature Ellie, along with the rest of the world, dealing with the fallout of living dinosaurs roaming the globe and the rise of cloning technology.

Related: Jurassic World: Dominion Should Kill Off Owen Grady (But Won’t).

Set four years after the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Dominion sees the concept of reanimated dinos reach its ultimate endgame- dinosaurs living side-by-side with people. Ellie might have parted ways with paleontology after Jurassic Park III, but it seems there’s no escaping her prehistoric past. As for Laura Dern, she’d expressed interest in bringing Sattler back to Jurassic World as early as 2019. In a 2020 interview (via Cinemablendshe explained why the Ellie was so important not just to her, but to women and girls everywhere. “[There are] so many children, and particularly young women, who idolized her and felt she was sort of one of their first feminist, badass action characters.”

Why Ellie Sadler Hasn’t Been In Jurassic World Until Now

laura dern as ellie sattler smiling at dinosaur

At the time of Jurassic World‘s release, Colin Trevorrow had spoken about resisting the urge to include characters from the original Jurassic Park movies, since he couldn’t picture Ellie or Grant returning to dinosaurs under any circumstances. Ian Malcolm briefly returned for Fallen Kingdom to testify before the Senate on the ethics of leaving the cloned dinosaurs to die, but he wasn’t involved in the main action. It seems, however, that something changed Trevorrow’s mind. Ellie, along with Dr. Alan Grant and Dr. Ian Malcolm, come face to face with genetically reanimated dinosaurs once again in Jurassic World: Dominion.

It was never that Trevorrow wasn’t a fan of the franchise’s original characters. Quite the reverse: in subsequent interviews over the years, he revealed just how highly he regards the Jurassic Park trio, especially Ellie Sattler. He had been saving the return of Ellie for the climax of the trilogy to do her character justice, rather than wasting her reappearance on a cameo in an earlier Jurassic World sequel. “I think that the roles they play in this film are a sign of great respect from me, and specifically to Laura Dern, because Laura was never the engine of one of the stories,” Trevorrow said (via Indiewire), “Sam Neill had ‘Jurassic Park III,’ where he was the engine, and Jeff Goldblum had ‘The Lost World.’ I wanted this to be Ellie Sattler’s story.”

There hasn’t been much more revealed about Ellie’s role in Dominion, aside from confirmation that she’ll be central to the plot (and more so than Alan Grant or Ian Malcolm). It seems that the production team’s decision to hold off on major Jurassic Park cameos for Jurassic World until later in the franchise has paid off, because already there’s been a lot of conversation generated by Ellie, and Dr. Grant’s, return. Whatever Jurassic World: Dominion holds in store for fans of the franchise, it will once again feature, for the first time in over two decades, Dr. Ellie Sattler

Next: Is There Any Chance Jurassic World 3 Is Any Good?

  • Jurassic World: Dominion (2022)Release date: Jun 10, 2022

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