Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film Jurassic Park launched a blockbuster franchise that’s collected a worldwide box office gross of $3.64 billion to date – a sum that will only grow substantially, when Jurassic World 2 from director J.A. Bayona (A Monster Calls) hits theaters in 2018. Fans of the original Jurassic Park will recall how it ends: with the film’s six human survivors leaving the T-Rex behind in the park’s welcome center without a chase, and safely making it off the island via helicopter, with Dr. Grant (Sam Neill) firmly deciding after careful consideration not to endorse the park.
There was, however, an alternate finale to Jurassic Park planned at one point. That ending would have seen Grant, Lex and Tim running from the still-charging T-Rex in a tour vehicle without Ellie, Malcolm and Hammond. When a fallen tree crashes in front of the car, they would have been forced to flee the charging T-Rex as they try to make the departing helicopter that’s carrying the others.
Storyboard panels detailing the alternate Jurassic Park ending have been posted on the film’s Facebook fan page Jurassic Time Memories (h/t to /Film), and reveal one feisty final battle between the T-Rex and the escaping helicopter. This sequence differs from the film’s iconic ending, in which we last see the T-Rex roar triumphantly in front of a falling “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth” exhibit banner in the Jurassic Park visitors center.
The T-Rex’s last chance grab for the helicopter’s bulkhead results in tearing off its right runner, as you can see in the storyboards in the gallery below. It’s a sequence that mirrors, possibly on purpose, the shark vs. helicopter sequence towards the end of Jaws 2. That particular battle didn’t end well for the helicopter or its pilot, but the credibility of the Jaws franchise has never been the same since.
Presumably, this storyboard sequence was never actually filmed and/or left on the cutting room floor. The sketches nevertheless highlight the T-Rex, one of the more groundbreaking visual effects of the original Jurassic Park. Subsequent sequels have included more screen time for the dinosaur, with advances in technology, from both Hollywood and the franchise’s storyline, allowing for even larger, genetically-developed hybrids to join in on the fun.
Devoted fans of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park novel will recognize that this storyboard sequence is still not the true “original ending.” In fact, there are several changes in the 1993 film adaptation that never made their way into the movie, including an extensive pterosaur aviary which would find its way into Jurassic Park III. The book’s Hammond, of course, is not the jolly grandfather played by Lord Richard Attenborough either. The park creator meets a nasty death in the original Jurassic Park novel by the compys, dinosaurs that didn’t make their first screen appearance until The Lost World: Jurassic Park in 1997.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary next summer, in time for the release of Jurassic World 2, the first entry of the franchise is still the reigning Rex of the film series, when adjusted for ticket price inflation. Jurassic Park is also a fan-favorite film that shows no sign of extinction, as far as its place in the hearts of Jurassic Park fans go.