Jurassic Park’s Biggest Unanswered Question Could Have Set Up the Sequels
Let's take a look back at the Jurassic Park franchise's longest-running unanswered question: the fate of Dennis Nedry's Barbasol can.
Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park is one of the most iconic films of all time, featuring a ragtag group of lovable outsiders trying to survive an island overrun with dinosaurs. The film captured the imagination of critics and audiences alike and created a legacy of heartfelt, pulse-pounding dinosaur action, with the Jurassic franchise still going strong thanks to the widespread success of the Jurassic World films. However, despite all of this, there is still one plot point from the first film that was never followed up and remains a loose end to this day: Dennis Nedry's Barbasol can.
Dennis Nedry is the slovenly, self-centered head programmer of Jurassic Park. Early in the first film, Nedry makes a deal with the genetics company Biosyn to smuggle several embryos off the island in exchange for a large payment. He meets with Biosyn agent Lewis Dodgson, who provides him with a specialized shaving cream can that is meant to contain and refrigerate the stolen embryos.
As fans of Jurassic Park know, Dennis Nedry's plan ultimately unleashes total chaos throughout the park. He turns off the island's security systems and collects the embryos from cold storage but gets in a car accident on the way to meet with his contact. Nedry tries to extricate his car from the muddy hill it is stuck on, but he is attacked and killed by a Dilophosaur, with the can of embryos being washed away and buried in mud. Nedry's death means no one is around to turn the security systems back on, unleashing the dinosaurs onto the island.
Strangely enough, this is the last time that the Barbasol can has appeared in Jurassic Park lore. While it has appeared in spin-off video games and merchandise, the can has never even been mentioned in canon material since the original film's release. Jurassic World's marketing campaign even included a Barbasol collaboration that released a teaser seemingly hinting at the can's return, but that never came to pass.
Despite a large amount of fan interest in the embryo can's fate, Jurassic Park's screenwriter David Koepp has stated that neither he nor Spielberg had any plans to do anything with it beyond the first film. This makes sense, considering the fact that the can's refrigeration was stated to stop working after 36 hours, rendering its contents useless to anyone who could potentially discover it after the first film's events. Interestingly, screenwriter John Sayles utilized the can as a plot device in his original script for a fourth Jurassic Park movie, but Spielberg ended up rejecting it.
Fortunately for fans, there may be one final twist in store involving the Barbasol can, as actor Campbell Scott has been cast as Lewis Dodgson in Jurassic World: Dominion. Dodgson has reportedly risen up the ranks and become the head of Biosyn in the years since the first film and considering he was the one who originally provided Nedry with the can, it's possible that it may have played some role in his promotion. It stands to reason that Dodgson could have gone back to Isla Nublar shortly after the events of the film to retrieve it, allowing Biosyn to secretly create their own dinosaurs. So, no matter what happens in the Jurassic World trilogy's epic conclusion, there's a good chance that fans will finally get some answers to one of the franchise's longest-running questions.