When Steven Spielberg first opened those gates back in 1993 and John Williams’ iconic score played, no one knew what a phenomenon Jurassic Park would become. Spawning a franchise of six movies, comic books, arcade games, and even its own topless Jeff Goldblum Funko toy, life, uh, sure found a way with this one. Something about Michael Crichton’s 1990 sci-fi novel came to life when Spielberg took Jurassic Park to the silver screen. Still one of the highest-grossing movies of all time, Jurassic Park was so successful it even prompted Crichton to write his first-ever sequel novel just so The Lost World: Jurassic Park could get made.
Admittedly, the franchise has had some highs and lows, but Universal took a bite out of the box office once again with Jurassic World's soft reboot in 2015. These days, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard have taken over from the likes of Sam Neill and Laura Dern to lead the series to greatness. With Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom including a cameo from Dr. Ian Malcolm himself, audiences should see the latest era as more of an evolution. With some 25 years of Jurassic history to go over, it is unsurprising that there are more than a few behind-the-scenes secrets that even the biggest fan won’t know.
With this in mind, here are 20 Crazy Facts About The Jurassic Park Movies.
20 Dr. Malcolm's cameo in Jurassic World
While Fallen Kingdom may herald Jeff Goldblum's return to the franchise for the first time in 18 years, that isn’t to say that the Chaos Theorist’s impressive reputation hasn’t lived on. Giving a much-needed breath of fresh air after Jurassic Park III, Jurassic World was an action-packed roller coaster that redeemed the ailing series. It may not have been perfect, but Jurassic World was a vast improvement and got back to what made the first movie such a genre-defining adventure. However, some think that one piece of key D.N.A. was missing from Jurassic World - Dr. Ian Malcolm.
Although Goldblum actually gets to return in the flesh for Fallen Kingdom, his handsome mug can be spotted in Trevorrow’s 2015 movie.
As the doomed Zara is traveling on the monorail with Zach and Gray, she is seen reading Malcolm’s book.
The aptly-named God Creates Dinosaurs is also a reference to his stirring speech in the first movie. Proving a popular bestseller, Malcolm’s book also pops up on the desk of Lowery Cruthers in the control room. With Malcolm briefly mentioned by Alan Grant in JP III as being "preachy" and "high on himself", the inclusion of God Creates Dinosaurs means he has had a nod in every Jurassic movie.
19 The Cast That Could've Been
To say that Jurassic Park has aged well would be an understatement. From its pioneering use of CGI to Spielberg’s imaginative storytelling, the first movie is still a favorite of people around the world. Among its best bits sare the all-star cast of loveable rogues that brilliantly brought the script to life. Alongside Hollywood megastars Goldblum and Samuel L. Jackson, the likes of Neill, Laura Dern, and B.D. Wong have all had their career highs and boast impressive CVs to this day. Casting any movie is a tricky process, and as with all these stories, Jurassic Park could’ve had a very different roster of talent.
After flying the Falcon and cracking his whip as Indy, Spielberg favorite Harrison Ford was the first choice for Alan Grant, but turned it down, according to Digital Spy. Robin Wright and Julianne Moore (pre-The Lost World) were both considered for Ellie Sattler, but Sandra Bullock was tapped for the part if Dern had said no.
Christina Ricci actually read for Lex Murphy before the part went to Ariana Richards, while Jim Carrey couldn’t change casting director Janet Hirshenon’s mind when it came to Goldblum as the mad mathematician. Finally, it could’ve been “Jurasshick Pahrk” if Sean Connery had landed John Hammond - apart from the fact he wanted too much money off the studio.
18 Was Chris Pratt In Jurassic Park?
Everyone loves a good fan theory and the MCU hasn't corned the market to out-there conspiracies. For those asking how a beer-swilling Raptor-lover like Owen Grady came to be in a place like Jurassic World, some clever theorist suggested that it’s all Alan Grant’s fault.
Heading back to 1993’s Jurassic Park aficionados will remember the cocky kid who mocked the abilities of a Velociraptor.
Cue Dr. Grant and his Raptor claw to explain how this chubby child would be no match for the "six-foot turkey."
The character was played by a kid called Whit Hertford, who hasn’t popped up in a Jurassic movie since. The Huffington Post asked Pratt what he thought of the well-thought-out-theory that "Volunteer Boy" becomes Owen Grady, but the star said: "It's sweet though. And I love that kid, and I love the idea of that possibility. But I do officially say, as the bastion of Owen's backstory, but not the creator of the character, that's not true. It'd be cooler if it was."
Who knows, maybe Whit Hertford will pop up in Fallen Kingdom as an avid dinosaur fan and part of the Dinosaur Protection Group? Sadly, unlike the Peter Parker is in Iron Man 2 theory, this one has been officially debunked!
17 "The Lost World" Lost A Character
After the success of Jurassic Park at the box office, Universal offered Michael Crichton a huge sum of money to write a second novel and make it available for a sequel movie. Having never written a sequel before, Crichton begrudgingly accepted. However, with Spielberg announced to direct, he decided to move forward using only a few snippets of Crichton’s book and base his movie more on 1925’s The Lost World.
The finished product was an amalgamation of that movie and both of Crichton’s Jurassic novels. The scene of the little girl being attacked by the Compsognathus was originally written for the first book but ended up opening The Lost World. Elsewhere, scenes like the Pteranodon aviary and the river scene from Crichton's The Lost World eventually made their way into Jurassic Park III.
There were casualties along the way, meaning that the major book character Dr. Richard Levine doesn’t appear in the movie at all. Described as “the best paleontologist of his generation,” Levine was basically a souped-up Alan Grant. With a cast already bulging at the seams with Attenborough, Goldblum, Vince Vaughn, and Julianne Moore, Spielberg decided there wasn’t enough room for the egos of Ian Malcolm and Dr. Levine.
Instead, many of Levine’s parts were diluted down and farmed out to Attenborough and Moore’s characters. Moore's Sarah Harding slowly morphed into Richard Levine, and the rest, they say, is history.
16 The Golden Statue Easter Egg
What do you get when you mix Howard Hughes with Walt Disney? The answer is John Hammond. Brilliantly portrayed by Richard Attenborough in the first two movies, 1993’s Jurassic Park actually inspired The Great Escape star to come out of semi-retirement. A huge part of the first movie, Attenborough returned in a minor capacity for The Lost World: Jurassic Park and was fired as InGen CEO to be replaced by Peter Ludlow. Ludlow took a more villainous turn than his uncle when it came to running a dinosaur theme park and met his maker, however, with Hammond still alive, he was due to return for another outing.
Sitting out the maligned Jurassic Park III, Attenborough had expressed an interest in Jurassic Park IV but sadly passed away before Jurassic World finished filming. Thankfully, Colin Trevorrow saw his legacy live on through the movie. Speaking to Radio Times, Trevorrow explained how Attenborough’s iconic character was always going to play a part: “In the context of the movie, he hadn’t [passed] yet when we shot the film, and we always planned for him to have a presence in it.”
Eagle-eyed viewers will have noticed Hammond Creation Lab in Jurassic World, with a golden statue of the man himself stood outside.
Just as Disney had his own statue outside his park, Hammond was remembered as the man who made the dreams become a reality.
15 Alan Grant Is Hiding on the island, living with the dinos?
Sam Neill was always set to return as the grumpy paleontologist for Jurassic Park III. The third chapter somehow lured Dr. Grant back to the island with some flimsy story about giving a guided tour from the air, but the original plan for JP III was to have Alan more in touch with the dinos and becoming his very own Jane Goodall. Director Joe Johnston told Movieline that Steven Spielberg’s brief attachment to the project came with his own idea: “It was a pretty simple idea, and very little of it is left. It was Steven's idea to have Sam Neill's character discovered living on the island. He'd snuck in, after not being allowed in to research the dinosaurs, and was living in a tree like Robinson Crusoe. But I couldn't imagine this guy wanting to get back on any island that had dinosaurs in it after the first movie."
Considering Neill did such a good job of playing a crotchety loner in Taika Waititi’s Hunt For The Wilderpeople (pictured above), it is relatively easy to imagine Grant living out his twilight years on the Isla Islands. As for Alan coming back now, Neill shattered everyone’s dreams of a cameo in the future of the franchise.
Saying that Dr. Grant would do anything in his path to avoid those carnivorous critters, he told ShortList that the other option is that Alan has already passed on - talk about cheerful!
14 Sam Neill And Laura Dern Survived a Hurricane During Filming
Some might not have heard of Hurricane Iniki, but as the most powerful storm to hit Hawaii in recorded history, the crew of Jurassic Park certainly remember it. A 2009 episode of Storm Stories recalls how on September 11, 1992, Spielberg looked at the news and was forewarned that Iniki was raining down on Hawaii. With the final day of Jurassic Park filming taking place on Kauaʻi, it was one of the islands that was affected most by Iniki.
Speaking to USA Today, Neill remembered that Iniki was so serious, he stood on a beach with Dern and questioned whether they might lose their lives.
Interestingly, the path of destruction left by Iniki led to Samuel L. Jackson’s Ray Arnold having a significant portion of his part cut.
Audiences were left scratching their heads on how Ray went from chain-smoking tech guy to severed arm in a power shed. Scenes of Ray making his way to the shed and his untimely demise were due to be filmed until Iniki destroyed that part of the set. When the hurricane passed, the crew were given "I Survived Hurricane Iniki" t-shirts as a memento of the incident. The hurricane was even mentioned in the comics when the character Derrick wore an Iniki t-shirt in Return to Jurassic Park V and VI.
13 The Dennis Nedry Hologram in Jurassic World
“Ah, ah, ah, you didn’t say the magic word.” Forever topping the list of Jurassic Park characters everyone loves to hate, Wayne Knight was brilliant as Dennis Nedry in Jurassic Park. As the movie’s human villain, Nedry was the slimy computer programmer who was a little too smart for his own good. Stealing embryos to sell to the highest bidder, Nedry’s hacking disabled most of the park’s security systems and sent the movie on its path to being a bloodbath where staff and visitors had to fight to stay alive.
Given one of the most iconic ends in the series, Nedry came afoul of his own scheming and was famously devoured by an acid-spitting Dilophosaurus. One poor victim can be seen wearing a Nedry-inspired coat and meeting a doomed fate in Fallen Kingdom, but Dennis also got a nod in Jurassic World.
Dilophosaurus rightly seemed too dangerous to keep around a family-friendly petting zoo in Jurassic World and the species wasn’t listed as one of the Isla Nublar attractions. That being said, it can be seen in the movie’s runtime. As the remaining survivors headed out of the visitor center following Hoskins’ demise with the Raptors, Gray used a hologram of the Dilophosaurus to confuse Delta. Instead of filming new footage, Trevorrow recycled Jurassic Park’s moment when the dinosaur rattled its frills and took down Nedry. R.I.P. Dennis, never forget!
12 Lex Collects Dino Bones in Real Life
Those Jurassic Park kids managed to escape the curse that has befallen to so many child actors. Ariana Richards used the first movie as one of her last roles before quietly bowing out of actuing. Already famous for Tremors, Spaced Invaders, and Timescape, Jurassic Park was her big beak and earned Richards a slew of Young Artist awards. She briefly reprised her role as Lex Murphy for The Lost World, but hasn’t been seen near an Isla Island since. Richards’ interests lie elsewhere these days, with her most recent acting credit being 2013’s Battledogs.
Now a skilled painter with a degree in art, Richards was also once a budding paleontologist.
Stan Winston’s animatronics and ILM’s VFX work on the dinosaurs made Jurassic Park lightyear’s ahead of its time when it came to visuals, however, Spielberg also wanted a sense of historical realism. Famous paleontologist Jack Horner consulted on the Jurassic movies and Richards apparently took a shine to him. Speaking to Den of Geek, Richards revealed how she went on a dig with Horner after filming had wrapped and now has a Velociraptor bone at home: “I remember walking around the dry hills of Montana with him, and at one point he said we were walking on Cretaceous soil, and he ended up walking down and pointing out a ‘raptor forearm that was actually sitting on the surface of the ground… and he gave it to me! So I have a ‘raptor forearm in my collection!”
11 How they filmed The Lost World's trailer scene
Like the differences between Alien and Aliens, Jurassic Park and The Lost World were two completely different beasts. While Jurassic Park was a sunny vacation that went bad, The Lost World was a much much grittier trip to Site B. The InGen grunts were picked off one by one as the hardened team of experts waded through mud and still realized they weren’t prepared for the razor-tooth menaces coming their way.
Love it or loathe it, everyone remember The Lost World for one scene in particular - the trailer!
It was one of the few moments from Crichton’s book that Spielberg decided to keep, and thank God he did. Right in the middle of the movie, the heart-pounding trailer scene that trapped Ian, Sarah, and Nick was just what The Lost World needed. However, instead of a jolly holiday to Costa Rica to capture Isla Sorna’s rocky cliff face, Jurassic Outpost reports that the movie’s most daring stunt was filmed using a multi-storey car park at Universal Studios.
As the stars and stunt actors clung on for dear life, they were actually teetering over the edge of a concrete structure in Orlando. However, with the mega trailer that the crew used weighing in at an impressive 12 tons, a car park and some blue screen is a much safer way of filming the moment.
10 Hammond and Muldoon swapped roles
The Jurassic Park movies had a famously flimsy approach when it came to adapting Crichton’s novels. With characters cut and new ones added, the books were a rough guide, to say the least. Even those who did make it to live-action weren't guaranteed the same fate as those from the pages of Crichton’s imagination.
A fan-favorite character in the first book and movie was the character of Muldoon. Depicted as an alcoholic game hunter in the first novel, he is remembered for Bob Peck’s stoic portrayal and that iconic “clever girl” line. In contrast, Hammond from the books is much more of a villain and a million miles away from Attenborough’s grandfatherly persona. Crichton even went as far as describing his Hammond as "the dark side of Walt Disney."
Whichever version of the character fans prefer, their endings were switched around between book and screen. In Crichton’s Jurassic Park, Muldoon wasn't as friendly as Peck but escaped with the rest of survivors instead of becoming Raptor chow. Hammond eventually paid the price in the book and was devoured by a small pack of Procompsognathus after falling down a hill and breaking his ankle. Hammond’s book swan song is saved for Peter Stormare’s Dieter in The Lost World. Why such drastic changes were made is unknown, but at least it means John Hammond returned for the sequel.
9 Laura Dern filmed Jurassic Park III in just one day
Laura Dern has come a long way from playing Dr. Ellie Sattler in 1993. A frequent collaborator with David Lynch, she recently rose to prominence once again thanks to playing Renata Klein in HBO’s Big Little Lies. However, Hollywood will always remember her as the woman who inherited the Earth.
Many were left gutted that Ellie and Alan didn’t have their happy ending in Jurassic Park III.
Though they were clearly still close friends in the movie, she had moved on to start a family while Alan was left as a fossil of a bygone era.
Although Dr. Sattler didn’t get to step foot on Isla Sorna (why would she want to?), she became influential in the rescue of the doomed survivors and her former love interest. A piece of trivia from the movie is that Dern filmed her scenes in just one day. Speaking to DVD File, Johnston confirmed that the star didn’t have much time to chat with the rest of the cast and was only ever there for a minor role: “Laura (Dern) knew it was just about a day's work; we shot all of her stuff in one day.”
There have been talks of Sattler returning alongside Ian Malcolm for the sixth movie, so who knows, maybe it isn’t all babies and marriage for the doc?
8 The Indiana Jones Connection
With both being grumpy history men who think they know it all, it is easy to pull comparisons between Dr. Indiana Jones and Dr. Alan Grant. As a nod to their similar traits, Joe Johnston even stuck a bit of Indiana Jones into Jurassic Park III. After being duped by the Kirby’s to go on a sightseeing tour of Isla Sorna, there is a classic Indy moment as Dr. Grant turns to Billy and says, “wake me when we get there.”
The two adventurers sleep in exactly the same way: with a fedora to cover their eyes.
The scene echoes Spielberg’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom from 1984. Considering Harrison Ford was once a frontrunner to play Grant, Johnston was likely poking fun at what could’ve been. The main difference is that Indy usually gets the girl.
On the surface, Jurassic Park III was just a popcorn movie to while away the time but underneath was actually a lot smarter. As well as the Dr. Jones connection, Billy also talks about his lucky bag with a lucky strap that saved him. For those thinking it sounds a little familiar, that’s because Julianne Moore’s Sarah Harding was saved by a bag strap when tumbling from the trailer in The Lost World.
7 Chris Pratt Predicted his Role in Jurassic World in 2008
After making a name for himself as Andy Dwyer in Parks and Recreation, Chris Pratt hit the big time thanks to his role as Peter Quill in the MCU. Almost immediately after, he also took the Jurassic franchise somewhere new when he hopped on a motorbike to play Owen Grady.
Beating the likes of John Krasinski, Henry Cavill, and fellow MCU alumni Josh Brolin to the part, Pratt’s Owen has all the dinosaur skills of Alan Grant and the animal magnetism of Dr. Ian Malcolm - it’s a win-win situation. While Pratt seems made for the series, he managed to predict his upcoming casting several years before.
Shown in a behind-the-scenes Parks and Recreation video from 2008, Pratt joked that he had just got a call from Steven Spielberg about Jurassic Park IV: “I have no shame, as you know by the endless gift baskets. I'll have to get back to you later about Jurassic Park 4.”
Seven years later, a decidedly buffer Pratt famously took the role of the Jurassic World dino trainer. The ideas of Jurassic Park IV eventually evolved into Trevorrow’s Jurassic World, but does the video prove that Chris Pratt is from the future? Maybe he used Doctor Strange’s Eye of Agamotto.
6 There are only 15 minutes of dinosaurs in Jurassic Park
It’s a close call on whether dinosaurs or their human adversaries are the main characters of the Jurassic series - after all, the clue is in the name. While humans are constantly battling for survival in the movies, it just wouldn’t be the same without dinosaurs around every corner, so it seems a little odd that Jurassic Park only contained 15 minutes of dinosaurs during its 127-minute runtime.
The first movie contains 9 minutes of Winston’s realistic animatronics and a measly 6 minutes of ILM’s genre-defining computer effects.
Considering most movies Pre-Jurassic used stop-motion instead of SFX, let’s not take away from the fact that the original was still one of the first blockbusters to use these modern techniques. With just 15 minutes of dinosaurs, cinemagoers sure got a lot of bang for their buck.
Considering the dinos are effectively in the background of Jurassic Park, there was still the T-Rex barrelling down on Tim and Lex, Nedry’s demise, the “Clever girl” scene, Raptors in the kitchen, and that iconic final showdown. With Fallen Kingdom boasting the most dinosaurs to ever grace the series, fans can bet there is more than 15 minutes of toothy terror and a lot more than 6 minutes of CGI in the latest installment.
5 From Rags To Riches
It's a struggle to find anyone who didn’t enjoy Spielberg’s first romp around the park and the original movie still holds a dear place in the heart of many fans. It is this fuzzy feeling that arguably makes Universal’s series as popular today as it was back in 1993. In fact, if audiences didn’t love Jurassic Park as much as they do, chances are there would be a lot more empty seats when it comes to watching Fallen Kingdom. However, not everyone had the luxury of seeing Jurassic Park’s cinematic revolution when it first hit theaters. In fact, one of the stars of Jurassic World couldn’t even afford a ticket to the show.
Effectively becoming the “new” John Hammond, Irrfan Khan’s Simon Masrani managed to do what Hammond never could and actually open his own working dino theme park. Masrani may have owned a multi-billion dollar corporation, but Khan admitted to The Express Tribune in 2015 that he was nothing like his on-screen counterpart back in the ‘90s.
“When the first Jurassic Park came out, I barely had the money to see it, and now I’m playing a part.”
With the Bollywood star’s dreams coming true, Khan has now seen Jurassic Park and also has the prestigious honor of adding his name to the franchise’s alumni. Sadly, Masrani only briefly appeared in Trevorrow's movie before meeting his maker at the hands of the crafty Indominus Rex and a poorly-placed aviary.
4 Jumanji beat The Lost World
Although Joe Johnston finally got his claws into the series with Jurassic Park III, he could’ve entered the Dinoverse much earlier.
Johnston has arguably done it all. Handling SFX on the Star Wars movies, he also had various jobs on Indiana Jones and directed Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. As Universal searched for potential directors for The Lost World, Johnston’s name was top of the list. Eventually passing so he could go and direct Jumanji, it meant The Lost World reverted back to the capable hands of Spielberg.
According to About, Johnston also stepped aside because he was promised a third Jurassic movie if one was ever going to get made. While he admits he was a fan of The Lost World, he claims it was a victim of its own hype: “I actually liked the second one. I think that if the second film had been done by anyone other than Steven Spielberg it would have been much more well-received. I think Steven has a pressure on him that no one else in this business has. There is so much expected of him and so much that he has to live up to, all self-inflicted of course.”
Johnston eventually got to bring JP III to life in 2001, but while Jumanji is a beloved piece of ‘90s nostalgia akin to Jurassic Park, The Lost World is remembered less fondly.
3 The Lost World's Musical Reference
New to The Lost World were Vince Vaughn and Pete Postlethwaite as Nick Van Owen and Roland Tembo. Van Owen was basically a blueprint for Chris Pratt’s Owen, while Tembo was the no-nonsense hunter similar to Robert Muldoon from the first movie.
Many will have missed the joke, but both are a nod to Warren Zevon’s 1978 song “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner.”
In an interview with Roger Ebert, screenplay writer David Koepp confirmed the subtle ‘70s reference: “I'm so happy somebody picked up by Warren Zevon reference. 'Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner' is one of my favorite songs, and since Roland is a mercenary in the song, that seemed like a good name for the hunter-for-hire in our movie. While I was at it, I thought it would be fun to make his nemesis' last name Van Owen, like in the song.”
Both characters managed to make it out of The Lost World with their lives but haven’t appeared in the series since. Vaughn has risen up the ranks of Hollywood and Postlethwaite sadly passed away in 2011. While Tembo turned out to be a reasonably innocent party in the movie, he and Van Owen didn’t quite lock horns like in the song. Nevertheless, it is a cool piece of movie trivia for Jurassic fans.
2 Jurassic Park IV's Weird Drafts
With an extensive delay between Jurassic Park III and Jurassic World, Universal was undeniably burned by the harsh criticisms of Johnston’s movie. However, with plans of a fourth movie where the army strapped guns to a Stegosaurus and the other dinosaurs, things could’ve gotten a lot worse. Admittedly, plans of weaponizing the animals have appeared in Jurassic World and Fallen Kingdom - albeit a little more realistically.
Another early plan for Jurassic Park IV was to tie back to the first movie by rediscovering Dennis Nedry’s embryo can. Spielberg has always wanted to revisit the shaving foam plot point after it was presumed lost when Nedry met his sticky end. No writer managed to weave it into their script - well, except one.
According to Den of Geek, writer William Monahan had turned in an early script that would cast Keira Knightley as a new character while bringing back Malcolm and Hammond. As the writer of 1978’s creature feature Piranha, John Sayles reworked Monahan's script and wanted to rediscover the Nedry can from all those years ago. Sayles’ script had Nick Harris, a “currently unemployed soldier of fortune," hired by Hammond to bring back the embryos to breed a new crop of dinosaurs. The rest of the script is a bizarre trip to a castle in the Swiss Alps, saving a girl from terrorists using trained dinos, and a villain called Baron Von Drax.
Sounding more like a Bond film than a classic Jurassic, this one thankfully went extinct.
1 The Lost World 2.0
With one of the most divisive movie climaxes of all time - apart from the spinning totem in Inception - The Lost World: Jurassic Park went completely off-track when it brought dinosaurs to San Diego. There was something odd but satisfying about seeing an adult T-Rex stomp through the leafy suburbs and unleash its rage on the streets of San Diego. Some saw it as a jarring contrast to the islands that the movie had become famous for and others found a T-Rex roaring across the city skyline a little too far-fetched. That being said, the scene is a neat homage to 1925’s The Lost World.
For decades, monster movies have had the likes of King Kong and Godzilla roaming cities, so why would Jurassic be any different? The climax of Harry O. Hoyt’s ‘20s The Lost World saw a Brontosaurus escape in London and cause havoc after swimming down the River Thames. It may have worked as the end of a movie back then, but fans in 1997 weren’t as convinced when The Lost World: Jurassic Park swapped the Costa Rican jungle with a concrete one and ended the movie with an action sequence that didn’t quite fit with the first 90 minutes.
Funnily enough, the idea of dinos off-island remained unpopular and they haven’t reached the mainland since - well, until Fallen Kingdom
Which is your favorite Jurassic Park movie fact? Sound off in the comments below!