Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous made its debut over the past weekend, bringing a fresh new take on the Jurassic Park franchise along with it. The animated Netflix series has already been groundbreaking in the franchise for multiple reasons — not only for being its biggest animated offering yet, but for taking an updated and surprisingly perilous approach to the adventures of its teenage characters. The series has also been praised for its diverse ensemble cast of characters, many of whom are portrayed – and voiced by – people of color. Given the fact that previous installments of the Jurassic franchise have largely centered around white (and more often than not, male) characters, the world of Camp Cretaceous feels subtly groundbreaking — a sentiment that some of its cast agrees with. ComicBook.com recently got to be part of a roundtable interview for Camp Cretaceous, where stars Jameela Jamil and Paul-Mikel Williams spoke about the significance of the series’ diversity.
“Everything I do and have done has always been mostly driven by wanting to exist somewhere where someone who looks like me hasn’t existed before,” Jamil, who voices camp counselor Roxie in the series, explained. “It’s me just recognizing that, as a kid, it was really hurtful growing up, never seeing a South Asian – especially never seeing a South Asian woman – just presented as a main character, rather than a moment of relief where we’re stereotypes and cast aside. So to now participate in these things that I grew up loving so much… I could never have imagined I would be a part of. It means a lot to me, and I really believe the whole ‘If you can see it, you can be it.’ And I think it’s so important for a lot of kids who look like me and Paul to be able to know that this is what we’re doing, and therefore, they can go on and do it too. We’re not closing any doors behind us.”
“I grew up in the days of Nick at Night and all that stuff, so I still have a fresh mind to this, but I still do have a clear opinion about it,” Williams, who voices “dino nerd” camper Darius, echoed. “Nick at Night was filled with Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, all that stuff. So I did grow up with at least one show that was based around people that looked like me, people that were black, African-American, whatever you want to call it. And to be one of the leading characters in such a global movement as a show like this, it’s great. And just the diversity of all of the characters – almost all of the characters are totally different in race and ethnicity. So I feel like it makes it so good for people all around the world, because it’s not just Caucasian, or a specific race of people that you’re watching. It’s races that you can relate to, you know what they’re going through. You can relate to them on more than just a level of what they’re feeling. It’s more so how they’re feeling, and it’s more so the fact of people that look like you are also going through this, and it’s not just that same old person that you always see on TV. It’s a huge variety, and I love how that speaks to children and adults in this show.”
“Also, we’re on Netflix, so we’re going global,” Jamil added. “And that feels really great and inclusive, to make sure that kids all around the world can relate to at least one character in the show. That’s so important, and we just need more of that, as we’ve learned very clearly.”
Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous also stars Glen Powell as Dave, Jenna Ortega as Brooklyn, Ryan Potter as Kenji, Raini Rodriguez as Sammy, Kausar Mohammed as Yasmina, and Sean Giambrone as Ben.
Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous is now available to stream on Netflix.