Is Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous Canon?

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Since its debut in 2020, Netflix's animated show Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous has been a hit with fans. The show centers around a group of teenagers who become trapped on Isla Nublar during the fall of Jurassic World. And when the ferry leaves without them, they must use their wits – and whatever resources they can find - to survive the escaped dinosaurs.

Now three seasons deep, Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous has made quite a name for itself, and with a fourth season likely in the works - though not yet confirmed - it doesn’t show any signs of going extinct anytime soon. But after season three’s surprising penultimate episode – which overlapped with events from one of the films – fans are now asking, is the show canon? In other words, are these characters really somewhere in the background while the Indominus Rex is tearing up Jurassic World?

Let’s do some digging…

The show’s lead protagonist is Darius Bowman (a nod, no doubt, to The Lost World: Jurassic Park’s Tina Bowman) who wins a competition to visit Jurassic World’s Camp Cretaceous, which features zip lines and other thrilling experiences. There, Darius meets fellow competition winners Ben, Yaz, Brooklynn, Kenji, and Sammy. 

But when the Indominus Rex breaks free – off-screen, that is – these strangers are about to become Darius’ new family, because there’s no escape from Jurassic World (technically, there is, but not when the island has already been evacuated and the ferry has left).

Throughout its three-season-run, the show acknowledges several well-known Jurassic characters and even features Henry Wu, while season three crosses over with the opening scene of the Fallen Kingdom, which sees the Camp Cretaceous guests looking down upon a rain-battered pier, where Rexy’s human-snack escapes by chopper, only to be chomped on by the mosasaurus when it emerges from the lagoon.

The show even goes to great lengths to establish the geography of the island, and in the biggest easter egg of all, reunites us with the old visitor center from the original 1993 film (last seen in 2015's Jurassic World). Claire Dearing gets a mention too, as does fan-favorite Alan Grant and Fallen Kingdom villain Eli Mills.

Whether or not Camp Cretaceous is canon, though, depends on your definition of the word – to some extent. Within the animated show, all the Jurassic movies – including short films Battle at Big Rock and the special five-minute Dominion preview – are, of course, completely canon. This much is obvious from the premise alone.

So far, the only human character from the movies we’ve seen appear in the show is Henry Wu, the extremely ambitious geneticist-turned-villain. Non-human characters include the likes of Rexy, Blue, the Indominus Rex, and the mosasaurus.

But is Camp Cretaceous canon within the Jurassic movie universe? Showrunner Scott Kreamer seems to think so, having confirmed that the show is indeed canon to the movies. Here’s what he said in an interview with io9 last year: 

"This is considered canon. The director of Jurassic World, Colin Trevorrow, was very involved, continuously, as far as story, as far as canon, and as far as designs. All sorts of things. Everything that's onscreen was approved by Colin, and Frank Marshall, and Steven Spielberg. So yes, this is considered full canon."

So if the showrunner says it’s canon, then surely it is? Jurassic family Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall, and Colin Trevorrow are even executive producers – how much more confirmation do we need? Well, we fans are a fussy species, and we don’t think it’s that simple.

For starters, as an objective viewer – and not necessarily a fan – do you believe that the events of the animated series could take place, or better yet, are taking place, in the live-action universe of the films? Forget for a minute that the show is animated - this part is actually irrelevant.

After all, there are plenty of animated shows that are absolutely canon, with the most notable example being Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which takes place between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, just like Camp Cretaceous takes place between Jurassic World and the Fallen Kingdom

The difference between Camp Cretaceous and The Clone Wars, though, is that the latter is ‘actively’ considered canon by current live-action Star Wars material, such as The MandalorianThe Rise of Skywalker, and the upcoming Ahsoka series.

Many fans, however, would argue that the Jurassic show is a 'retcon' – that ‘Camp Cretaceous’ was never mentioned in Jurassic World. But retconning isn’t a criterion that would disqualify something from canon, and is a tool that's used all the time in films and television. If this were the case, then the likes of Site B should be considered non-canon too, having only been introduced in the second film. 

Another argument – and a fair one at that – is the show’s PG family-friendly vibes. Such themes are no stranger to the Jurassic franchise, but it would be a lie to say that fans haven’t noticed just how invincible the children in Camp Cretaceous really are. On the other hand, the same can be said about the smaller-versions-of-adults in the films. The long-surviving, T-Rex pee-collecting Eric Kirby, anyone?

Ultimately, the real question is this: does the fact that Camp Cretaceous is canon hold any relevance? In other words, will it have any sort of impact on the films down the line? This, of course, is something that remains to be seen, but it would be pretty neat to see these characters brought to life in live-action. 

In fact, rumor has it that the sixth installment of Jurassic World: Dominion will be visiting Site B in some shape or form, and that same rumor applies to the unconfirmed fourth season of Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous. Coincidence? Perhaps. We last saw the gang finally leaving Isla Nublar by ferry, while something prehistoric appeared to be lurking around on board. Given their many failed attempts to leave Isla Nublar, now would be the time for the show to find a new setting – and what better place for the kids to wash ashore than on Site B…

But even outside the Site B concept, the Camp Cretaceous characters could easily be introduced into the film franchise. And if the showrunners tell us that the show is canon, then it might be time they put their money where their mouths are, and at the very least acknowledge the show in the next installment Jurassic World: Dominion. And now that we know Dominion isn’t going to be the last entry in the franchise, there might just be a future for Camp Cretaceous in the live-action format.

So, Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous is pretty much canon. Well, more or less. If you love the show, then all is well. If you hate it, then at least the films are yet to acknowledge its existence. Everyone is happy.

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous is yet to be renewed for a fourth season.