The Story Behind Jurassic World's Famous Margarita Man

 Jimmy Buffett standing behind the bar with a dinosaur toy in hand on the set of Jurassic World.
Jimmy Buffett standing behind the bar with a dinosaur toy in hand on the set of Jurassic World.

30 years of history have seen the Jurassic Park universe branching out into new and exciting directions. Steven Spielberg’s massive box office hit would go from adapting Michael Crichton’s novel into one of the best sci-fi movies ever to eventually pushing the story forward outside of its literary genesis. By the time Jurassic World came to be in 2015, the vision of the park had been fulfilled, only to see hell break loose again.

This time, an easily memeable cameo came with the appearance of a person best known as “Margarita Man.” Prepare to learn the story about who the man behind the glass is and how he got to be there in the first place. Though to kick things off, we won't need to go back in time 65 million years; just to a specific moment from that blockbuster relaunch that came out nearly a decade ago.

Jurassic World resort
Jurassic World resort

Jurassic World’s Margarita Man Moment

I don’t know when you last watched Jurassic World, so I’m going to briefly sum up the scenario I’m discussing before we dig in too deep. When the vicious Indominous Rex escapes in director Colin Trevorrow’s film, it sets off a sort of domino effect; mainly because the I-Rex is breaking into enclosures, as it’s a psychopath who wants to cause chaos.

Thanks to this beastie releasing all of the park’s Pterosaurs, a rather horrific scene develops in the Main Street area of Jurassic World. Which, as you can see at the 00:20 mark, includes a mysterious man protecting two margaritas from all of the madness:

On the surface, it’s a moment that’s easily memed, so of course it’d stand out. However, there’s a larger connection at work between Margarita Man and the Jurassic franchise. Which means it’s now time to unmask this avenger of alcohol and  defender of drinks for who he really is.

Jimmy Buffet trying to protect two margaritas in a fleeing crowd in Jurassic World.
Jimmy Buffet trying to protect two margaritas in a fleeing crowd in Jurassic World.

Who Is That Mysterious Margarita Man?

It is absolutely no mistake that Jurassic World’s Margarita Man is protecting that very frozen concoction that helps him hang on. I say that because the part is actually played by restauranteur/music sensation Jimmy Buffett, who is best known for his Margaritaville chain of eateries, which in turn was inspired by his 1977 hit song of the same name.

Named by IMDb as “Running Park Visitor with Margarita Drinks,” Buffett’s cameo is uncredited, but widely acknowledged. In fact, in the run up to the theatrical release of the movie, franchise producer Frank Marshall showed of a photo of the man himself standing behind the bar, making the following proclamation:

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Further building up the lore, Jimmy Buffett’s Facebook has a behind-the-scenes featurette that names his “official bartender” of Jurassic World as "Jim Buktu." That's fitting, as it's definitely the sort of name the musical legend would coin for himself. Invoking both an exotic destination and a punny sense of humor, Buffett's legion of Parrot Heads would surely be pleased to learn this fact.

Admittedly, Buffett is a rather odd cameo to have hiding in one's back pocket, so there's clearly a special reason as to why this Jurassic appearance happened, right? Well apparently if you’re sparing no expense in your dinosaur theme park, you need a Margaritaville. This leads us to just why this salt air troubadour was even involved with this dinosaur sequel in the first place.

Frank Marshall in conversation, as he sits in the genetics lab of Jurassic World.
Frank Marshall in conversation, as he sits in the genetics lab of Jurassic World.

How Did Jimmy Buffet End Up In Jurassic World?

In James Mottram’s Jurassic World: The Ultimate Visual History, it’s revealed that this appearance actually happened for a couple of reasons, oone of which is the fact that Jimmy Buffett and Frank Marshall are pretty good friends in real life! The two have worked on other movies together, such as Hoot and Congo, so when the inclusion of Margaritaville in Jurassic World’s titular theme park was on the table, apparently so was Jimmy’s involvement.

Thus, Margarita Man was born, as well as a whole sweepstakes and limited time menu items, like the "Indominous Rex Burger" that Margaritaville used to hype up Jurassic World's eventual record-breaking performance. Jimmy and his band, the Coral Reefers, even played the afterparty for the premiere. According to THR's reporting of the event, star Chris Pratt got in on the fun by singing "Margaritaville" with the gang.

As for the decision to bring that restaurant into the Jurassic fold, along with luxury brands like IWC Schaffhausen and Brookstone, that was director Colin Trevorrow’s idea. Mottram's text also reveals that Jurassic Park character Donald Gennaro (Martin Ferrero) and his visions of dollar signs with park admission in the 1993 original were an inspiration.

Confirmed by Trevorrow himself, this is why the park's main street looked so flush:

[Gennaro’s] talking about how much you can charge people. You know, $1,000 a day. It felt like the motivations of that character would never be put in check in 2015, the way they were in 1993.

Whether you see it as cheeky brand placement or social commentary, having Jimmy Buffett running from his own restaurant with two margaritas is a moment that no one will soon forget. The proof is already out there thanks to the enduring legacy of Margarita Man throughout the landscape of internet pop culture. As you'll see in the conclusion to our story, it didn't take long for Jim Buktu to find his foothold in the imagination of the entire planet.

Jimmy Buffett entertains a guest with a dinosaur toy in Jurassic World.
Jimmy Buffett entertains a guest with a dinosaur toy in Jurassic World.

The Legend Of Jurassic World’s Margarita Man Lives On

If you find yourself playing a character who's cosplayed far and wide, that’s a pretty good sign that you’ve made an impression. Even as early as San Diego Comic-Con in 2015 (via Reddit), people spotted Jurassic World’s Jimmy Buffett cameo in the wild.

Should you want to actually want to dress as Jim Buktu: Margarita Man yourself, there are tons of guides available to help you style that same look. Not to mention, Margaritaville had a limited run of merchandise from its Isla Nublar location, so you can always try to track down the shirts from that inspired promotion as well.

Then there’s the fact that Margarita Man has popped up in various trivia videos and memes that his legend still lives on for those that seek it. But perhaps one of the funniest offerings in this realm has to be the clip shown below, which takes this Jurassic World scene and sets it to “Hero” from the soundtrack to 2002’s Spider-Man:

What began as a perfect storm of friendship and consumerist commentary turned into a moment that lives on with fans of this series. As Jimmy Buffett has done pretty well for himself as a musician and businessman, he can also use his spot as the official bartender of Jurassic World as a claim to fame.

Life may find a way, but sometimes memes are quicker. Those who want to revisit the rise of Margarita Man, as well as the rest of Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard’s first adventure together in this fictional world, have options.

Currently, you can stream Jurassic World for free with ads on Freevee, or you can go ad free through the use of your Prime Video subscription. That latter option would be quite handy if you want to buy Jurassic World: The Ultimate Visual History, as that tome is also available for purchase. In the meantime, if anyone wants to share the recipe for a Margaritaville Indominous Rex Burger, my door is always open.