The Jurassic Park franchise began in 1993, with Steven Spielberg directing the first movie, which was based on a novel by Michael Crichton. Telling the cautionary tale of a corporation who genetically breeds dinosaurs to inhabit a theme park, only for disaster to strike when a group of scientists have a test visit, the movie was a massive success. Financially, it became the highest-grossing film ever at the time, and would keep the title for four years, while critics enjoyed the writing, action, and groundbreaking special effects.
The franchise would continue for another thirty years, into the present, with more movies and TV shows. It’s often split into the original movies, which were released from 1993 to 2001, and the reboot trilogy with new characters, which was released from 2015 to 2022. However, before the original trilogy gave way to the reboot, there were plans for a fourth film. The original script ideas weren’t used, and the plan saw major changes when it became the reboot trilogy. Details of the original script have been made public in recent years, so let’s take a look at the original script for what would have been Jurassic Park 4.
Jurassic Park 4 was planned to follow Jurassic Park III, which was released in 2001. Jurassic Park III did well financially, but got mixed reviews; it was better than the previous film, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, but still not as good as the original. Steven Spielberg’s ideas for the fourth film began during the third movie’s filming period, with an estimated release date in 2005. The original drafts were discarded and new ideas with a new screenwriter began in 2004, pushing the potential release back to 2008. This was further pushed back due to the writers’ strike in 2008, and put on hold indefinitely. Ideas were restarted and rejected up until 2013, when an early draft was completed and Colin Trevorrow was appointed as the director for the movie, which would come out in 2015 with a new premise and a new name – Jurassic World.
The first premise for Jurassic Park 4 started in a way similar to the franchise’s previous installments. It was supposed to feature the return of Sam Neill’s Alan Grant and Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm, as they traveled to Costa Rica to stop the spread of dinosaurs that had escaped the islands from the previous movies and were breeding.
Later drafts took this premise and changed some things in a weird manner. According to ScreenRant, one of the drafts that writer John Sayles began in 2004 focused on a mercenary named Nick who finds the dinosaur DNA that was left behind in a shaving cream can in the original movie. While getting the can, Nick faces danger from the left-behind dinosaurs, and must fight to survive.
After obtaining the can, Den of Geek shares that Nick was then kidnapped by a Swiss corporation named Grendel, and taken to their headquarters in the Swiss Alps. Grendel is experimenting, and has bred a new dinosaur that partly contains human DNA. They intend to control the dinosaurs by sending signals into their brain chemicals, and use the dinosaurs as soldiers. Nick is made a trainer and leader of one of the dinosaur groups, and uses them on rescue missions. The success of these missions would come to a halt when the dinosaurs turn on the humans controlling them, setting up another man-and-beast conflict seen in the other movies.
Though many ideas in the original script, like human-dinosaur hybrid soldiers, might have seemed ridiculous, parts of them were altered and adapted into the new Jurassic World trilogy. For example, the idea of training dinosaurs is a big part of the first movie, as Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) trains a group of velociraptors, and even has a bond with one of them. Grady himself, as a Navy veteran, could be seen as a variation of the original mercenary character, Nick. In addition, the movie’s villain, Vic Hoskins (Vincent D’Onofrio), is head of the InGen Corporation and wants to use the trained raptors for weaponized purposes. This parallels the use of dinosaurs as soldiers in Jurassic Park 4’s early drafts.
Though it doesn’t feature dinosaur-human hybrids, the second movie, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, features more conflict about DNA and genetics. It marks the premiere of the Indoraptor, which has been bred from mixing Indominus rex and velociraptor DNA. It also features Maisie (Isabella Sermon), granddaughter of Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), who was John Hammond’s partner. Maisie is revealed to be a clone of her dead mother, again addressing the science of genetics and cloning. Finally, Jurassic World: Dominion again features the idea of dinosaurs being used as weapons, when Owen must run from dinosaurs that have been trained to follow and kill a target. He also infiltrates BioSyn’s headquarters in the Italian mountains – not far from the original Grendel’s Swiss Alps headquarters.
Jurassic Park 4 might not have happened as originally intended, but it’s clear to see how some of its ideas influenced the later Jurassic World trilogy. While the franchise seems to have reached a conclusion for now, it will be interesting to see if it returns, and how much further it will take its conflicts of man, nature, and science.