Why Ian Malcolm Didn't Return In Jurassic Park 3
Jeff Goldblum was noticeably absent in Jurassic Park III after starring in the first two franchise films. Here are the possible explanations for why.
Dr. Ian Malcolm starred in the first two installments of the Jurassic Park film series, but the character was notably absent for Jurassic Park III. Jeff Goldblum portrayed the cocky mathematician and quickly became a fan favorite for his snarky dialogue. Malcolm was the sole lead character that returned for 1997's The Lost World: Jurassic Park, but rather than get the gang back together for the third movie, only Sam Neill and Laura Dern reprised their roles as Dr. Alan Grant and Dr. Ellie Sattler, respectively.
Malcolm was one of the experts invited to Isla Nublar in the 1993 original film to determine whether John Hammond's new theme park was safe or not. He, along with Grant and Sattler, toured the dinosaur park while questioning the operations and morality of the source of entertainment. Malcolm, being an expert in "Chaos Theory," was the key source of criticism. His worry was later justified when various dinosaurs broke out of their confines and wreaked havoc throughout the park. Even though Malcolm's reputation took a hit prior to The Lost World, the character agreed to join a team of researchers on a special mission on Isla Sorna (Site B), the island where dinosaurs were bred. The group then came into conflict with InGen who were trying to bring dinosaurs back to the United States. Their plan went awry as predicted, and a Tyrannosaurus went on a rampage through San Diego.
Malcolm managed to clean up the mess made by InGen, and his reputation was restored in the process. Even though Jurassic Park III also took place on Isla Sorna, Malcolm wasn't involved. Instead, a divorced couple tricked Grant into helping them find their son who was lost on the island. Grant briefly mentioned Malcolm and his latest book, but that was the extent of the character's role. The reasoning for Goldblum's absence was never made clear. In fact, there are a few conflicting reports suggesting why Malcolm wasn't involved in Jurassic Park III.
The Contradicting Rumors Surrounding Goldblum's Absence In Jurassic Park 3
The first rumored explanation claimed that Goldblum was never invited to reprise his role as Malcolm in Jurassic Park III. It's important to note that the installment was the first Jurassic Park movie not to be directed by Steven Spielberg. New director Joe Johnston may have felt that since Malcolm was a primary figure in The Lost World, it was time to shift focus. A contradicting rumor suggested that Goldblum was set to return for Jurassic Park III, but injured his leg shortly after filming started. The rumor also claimed that Goldblum then decided to drop out of the movie since his role wasn't crucial to the plot. If that was the case, Goldblum probably had a brief cameo like Dern's reprisal as Dr. Sattler.
Either of the scenarios is plausible, but in the end, it didn't really matter. Following Jurassic Park III, the franchise took a 14-year hiatus before opening a new chapter with 2015's Jurassic World. B.D. Wong's Dr. Henry Wu was the only character to return, but Goldblum memorably reprised his role in the sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Not only is the actor set to appear in the next film, Jurassic World: Dominion, but he will be joined by a few original costars like Grant and Sattler.