Murray Close/Getty Laura Dern in Jurassic Park (1993)
Dr. Ellie Sattler is making her long-awaited return to the Jurassic Park universe — and if we're lucky, we'll finally find out if woman, in fact, inherits the earth.
PEOPLE recently caught up with Laura Dern (who played Ellie in 1993's Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III, the latter of which will celebrate its 20th anniversary this summer) to chat about her involvement in the 2021 Nationwide LUNG FORCE Walk and her return to the dinosaur-powered action franchise in next year's Jurassic World: Dominion.
Dern, 54, is set to reprise her role as Ellie alongside her original core costars Sam Neill (Dr. Alan Grant) and Jeff Goldblum (Dr. Ian Malcolm). And while she couldn't say much about the plot of the film, she did tease of Ellie's role, "Saving butts might be involved" — though she "won't say whose."
"I can say that it was incredible to be back together," she adds of reuniting with Neill, 73, and Goldblum, 68. "It was an amazing thing to join my original cast members and go down memory lane, from that experience in the beginning of a franchise through the whole course of these films together with all the key cast members who have been working on these movies, as well as [director] Colin Trevorrow and Steven Spielberg, who is like family to me."
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Amblin/Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock Jurassic Park (1993)
Laura Dern/Instagram Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum
"We've had a beautiful time remembering what we loved about the origin story, and the first CGI and working with the animatronics of the brilliant Stan Winston, and what we want to hold and protect of the original characters," Dern continues.
"So it's just been amazing," she says. "And I hope everybody next summer, June of 2022, will be ready for some fun."
Dern tells PEOPLE she re-watched the first Jurassic Park movie right before they started filming for Jurassic World: Dominion, and thought now was the perfect time to return to Ellie because she loved "the idea of bringing everyone together" in "creating a complete story."
"I really loved that idea. And really the film is sort of centered around that concept. So it's really special," the Oscar winner says.
Theo Wargo/Getty Laura Dern
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While in some ways the filming experience was like a "high school reunion," the Big Little Lies star admits, "It's another thing during a pandemic, when you say, 'Let's all move in together and create a bubble to work on, as safely as possible with the most intense protocol, the first movie back.' "
"We all took it very seriously, but we really did create home as a group," Dern tells PEOPLE of making the film. "And that was amazing. I mean, it was amazing to not just have one scene or one moment together, as you might do in an experience of a reunion, which I've had a couple of times in my life with other people I've worked with or projects."
"But this was really about coming together as a family, given the times that we are all living in together now," she adds of filming amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. "So that made it profoundly memorable."
Jurassic World: Dominion claws its way into theaters on June 10, 2022.