Ideas that became extinct.
Movies about resurrected dinosaurs and genetic engineering tend to have insane stuff in them, as the Jurassic Park series has proven over the years, but the parts you didn’t get to see are the most bonkers of them all.
When Steven Spielberg was adapting Michael Crichton’s novel for cinema in the early ’90s, there were scenes from the source material deemed too dark and expensive for the movie, so he backtracked on his initial plans to include them.
Although these scrapped ideas were condemned to extinction, fans got a hint at what might have been via storyboards and concept art that surfaced post-release.
Since Jurassic Park left a T-Rex-sized footprint in the box office in 1993, three successful sequels have stomped into cinemas, and the follow-ups also shed scenes that were dubbed too dark, outlandish or downright oddball during development.
As was the case with the original, life found a way to give the fans a good look at these aborted sequel ideas… and it’s called the Internet.
7. The T-Rex River Chase
One of the most intense scenes from Michael Crichton’s novel was cut from Jurassic Park because even Steven Spielberg movies have budgetary constraints.
The sequence in question looks like it would have been a real adrenaline fest. Alan Grant, Tim and Lex are rafting their way down a river when the T-Rex shows up to give chase, wading into the water to pursue the gang.
Spielberg and his creative team originally planned to include this pulse-racing set piece, but it was dubbed too expensive to film. The combination of practical effects and CGI required to pull it off raised a few too many pulses at the studio, which had already invested heavily in the movie. Bringing dinosaurs back to life isn’t cheap, you know.
Storyboards which surfaced on the Jurassic Time YouTube channel have given fans a look at how this scene would have played out. From the look of things, it was all Lex’s fault. The T-Rex was sleeping soundly until she decided to heckle it.
Fortunately for the group, a falling tree stops the T-Rex in her tracks, giving Robert Muldoon the chance to tranquillise the creature.
In an attempt to appease the hardcore Jurassic Park fans who would be outraged at this sequence’s omission, Spielberg padded out the scene where Rexy chases after the jeep. The original plan was to have it drive away as soon as the beast’s footsteps were heard, which isn’t nearly as exciting.
6. The Dramatic Helicopter Rescue
Jurassic Park fans will be well aware that at least one alternative ending for the film was scripted and storyboarded, but another has surfaced in recent years, and it was even more dramatic than the conclusion that was actually filmed.
One idea Steven Spielberg and his team kicked about was to have Alan Grant and the gang dramatically airlifted from the stricken theme park by helicopter, avoiding the jaws of the T-Rex with mere second to spare.
While fleeing from Rexy on foot, the gang leap into the chopper as it’s taking off. Grant just makes it and is left clinging onto a runner for dear life as the T-Rex lunges, inflicting toothy damage on the vehicle but not enough to knock it out of the sky.
Although this narrow escape would have made for a more dramatic ending than the one Spielberg used, including it would have deprived the world of that iconic final shot where the T-Rex roars in triumph while a banner reading ‘When dinosaurs ruled the earth’ floats to the ground.
5. Pteranodons Versus Raptors
Pteranodons didn’t manage to wing their way to the Jurassic Park series until the third instalment, but there were plans to introduce them earlier.
Scenes featuring the flying reptiles were written and drawn up for The Lost World: Jurassic Park, only to to end up going the way of the dinosaurs. One even involved them doing battle with a pack of Raptors.
During that sequence where Ludlow’s team are attacked by Velociraptors in the long grass, the script originally called for the survivors to hang-glide off a cliff to apparent safety, before a flock of Pteranodons set upon them.
One of The Lost World’s alternative endings also made use of the winged terrors, having them attack a helicopter while it airlifted survivors from Isla Sorna.
Dino fans finally got to see Pteranodons versus chopper in 2015’s Jurassic World. Spoiler alert! The helicopter didn’t win.
4. Mankind’s Potential Extinction
Jurassic Park III underwent sweeping changes during development, and it can only be assumed that some of the scrapped ideas would have been more interesting than the lukewarmly-received version that saw the light of day.
One of the early scripts bore the subtitle ‘Extinction’ and it was under serious consideration to go before the cameras, since the studio had official logos and posters drawn up, which were included on the DVD release.
This version of the screenplay is said to have depicted a scenario where man and dinosaur thrown into the mix together has caused a potentially cataclysmic disturbance in the planet’s ecosystem. Whether woman would have inherited the Earth in this scenario, like Ellie Sattler predicted, was never revealed.
They story picked up with Alan Grant and a small team heading up an investigation into Pteranodon attacks in Central America, and this idea was salvage for a subsequent draft of the script subtitled ‘Breakout’.
The final story selected by director Joe Johnstone included only a few cherrypicked elements from both drafts, but whether that’s a good thing the world will never know.
3. Dino-Human Hybrids
Fans who never warmed to the idea of Ingen creating an all-new breed of dinosaur in Jurassic World would have hated William Monahan’s Jurassic Park 4.
The Departed screenwriter tabled the idea of dino-human hybrids in his script for the fourth entry in the series, which he co-authored with John Sayles. The story was based around a secret genetic laboratory that has been mixing human and dinosaur DNA to create hideous reptilian supersoldiers.
The idea, which is surely better suited to bad Syfy TV movie, was eventually filed away under ‘too bats*** crazy for public consumption’ but it got further along than you might think, with official storyboards being drawn up.
A nugget of this concept survived when the project morphed into Jurassic World, which saw Ingen’s dino geneticists take their experiments to the next level.
Upcoming sequel Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom could explore this question more deeply, but hopefully not to the extent where these monstrosities become a reality.
2. Indominus Rex Versus Mechanical T-Rex
Leaked concept art from Jurassic World has given dino fans a peek at some of the scenes that were never filmed and one of them, in particular, looks all kinds of mental.
Presumably that’s merely a model the genetically modified dino is destroying, rather than some kind of robotic security guard build for the theme park, but either way, this looks like it would have been a memorable scene.
Another piece of shelved artwork shows the Indominus destroying a rope bridge while a volcano erupts in the background. It looks more like something from King Kong than Jurassic Park, but it’s cool artwork all the same.
Reports suggest Fallen Kingdom could involve a volcanic eruption on Isla Nublar, an idea that may have been carried over from its predecessor’s planning phase.
1. The Stegoceratops
Indominus Rex wasn’t the only hybrid dinosaur Ingen’s Frankenstein-esque lab tinkering cooked up – the others just didn’t make it into Jurassic World.
Stegoceratops, an amalgamation of of Stegosaurus, Triceratops, beetle and snake DNA, was supposed to appear in the film as the veggiesaurus equivalent of the I-Rex, but was nixed late into production.
Despite its failure to make the final cut, the hybrid dino did feature in the official Jurassic World toy line and Ludia’s mobile game based on the movie.
Director Colin Trevorrow removed Stegoceratops from the movie on the advice of his son, who felt its inclusion only made the I-Rex feel “less special”.
With the concept of hybrid dino now well established in the Jurassic Park universe, there’s always a chance this particular beast could make an appearance in Fallen Kingdom, along with Ingen’s other unnatural creations.