Colin Trevorrow explains how the animated show fits into the scheme of the movies.

When Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous returns this Friday on Netflix, the kids will get a glimmer of hope.

Darius (Paul-Mikél Williams), Yaz (Kausar Mohammed), Brooklyn (Jenna Ortega), and the rest of the teens who traveled to Isla Nublar one summer for the Camp Cretaceous summer camp found themselves fighting for survival on the island after the Indominus Rex brought mayhem across the theme park. They've been through a lot, even the loss of a friend. Now, in an exclusive clip from the season 2 premiere, it would appear their luck is turning around when the group spies a campfire in the distance. They aren't alone on the island after all. Yet the fire doesn't necessarily mean what they think it does.

There will be many discoveries over the course of the new season, some of which executive producer Colin Trevorrow, who also directed the upcoming Jurassic World: Dominion, says will connect to what's coming in that movie.

"It's important to me, out of respect for the writers who are continuing to expand and create, to recognize [Camp Cretaceous] as clearly its own story and its own show," Trevorrow tells EW. "But this season — and if we're granted further opportunities to tell the story that we have [in season 3] — will keep weaving in to the larger story and really inform some things, even in Dominion that will connect to discoveries made that I'm really excited about."

Camp Cretaceous, the spin-off series from DreamWorks Animation, was developed around the same time as Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, which Trevorrow also co-wrote after writing and directing the first Jurassic World. The premise was to create a show for a younger audience to imagine what was happening at another site on Isla Nublar during the events of 2015's Jurassic World. It has since become its own standalone story under showrunners Scott Kreamer and Aaron Hammersley, driven by its main characters helping each other survive insurmountable circumstances.

Making the show "really relatable on an emotional level was the most important thing," Trevorrow says. "One of the challenges is trying to make this feel like it's grounded not just in the world of the movies but in our real world that we live in," he adds. "It's a scary time to be a kid right now, and the world feels more dangerous than it ever has. I think we can do our best to shelter them from certain things, but I think they feel what's going on at a deeper level. So in this show we have a bunch of characters who feel like the rest of us, who are isolated and very alone, and survival is their priority."

Camp Cretaceous
Credit: Netflix

Season 1 needed to line up more directly with Jurassic World, but being that the events of season 2 play out years before the events of Fallen Kingdom, there was more liberty for the writers to carve their own path for these kids. As Trevorrow puts it, they "take control of their own survival" in the new episodes. Doing so also helped tee up, in however subtle ways, what is coming in future Jurassic World stories.

Last year, Trevorrow returned to the set of Dominion, the third and final installment of the Jurassic World trilogy, to face his own insurmountable circumstance: filming a movie during a global pandemic. With strict safety precautions, he was able to make that happen, while Kreamer and Hammersley worked on Camp Cretaceous. It was important for Trevorrow to make this movie, even though at one point he felt content to just direct Jurassic World and pass the torch to other directors for the sequels, as J.A. Bayona took over Fallen Kingdom.

"Honestly, it's because I love it," Trevorrow says. "I don't really have a better answer than that. I've been very fortunate to be involved in a lot of different kinds of stories, and after working with J.A. on the last film, that was inspiring for me in its own way, to see how another filmmaker interpreted that middle chapter of the story. I was genuinely moved by the experience. I was going through a tough time myself. So to dive back into this world of dinosaurs with another filmmaker and make something we believed in, it made me want to finish what we started."

Dominion, the filmmaker says, is "a celebration of the whole franchise." Sam Neill, Laura Dern, and Jeff Goldblum — who starred in the original Jurassic Park movie — return for Dominion alongside Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. It's a "true ensemble" cast, Trevorrow says, as the veterans "are no smaller" than the new franchise stars in terms of importance.

"To me, [Dominion] is a culmination of one story that's been told," he says. "When you got to the end of the Jurassic Park trilogy, it may not have been as clear in what the complete story of those three movies was because they were a bit more episodic in the way that they were approached. But this trilogy is not that way. It's very much a serialized story. What was important for me was, when you watch Dominion, you really feel like you are learning how much of a story that first set of movies was and how everything that happened in those movies actually informs what ultimately is able to happen in this. If kids who are born today are going to be presented with six Jurassic Park movies — you hope the parents will buy them the box set — you hope they are going to get to feel like they watch one long story."

It's what Trevorrow hopes for with Camp Cretaceous as well — that it stands as its own saga. "What these movies are is changing in a way," he says. "All of the Jurassic movies have fundamentally been about people who go to an island and there are dangerous dinosaurs there who very well may harm them. As we take it into a new place where it's about humans and dinosaurs sharing the planet as we do with animals, it gives us an opportunity to make more character stories with people you know and love and care about. That's really our same exercise on the show."

All eight episodes of Camp Cretaceous season 2 will release Jan. 22 on Netflix.

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