Every Single Jurassic Park Sequel That Never Got Made

"Jurassic Park" started as a sci-fi novel by acclaimed author Michael Crichton. It was a novel that, before it was even released, wound up becoming the subject of a great bidding war in Hollywood. Ultimately, it was Universal Pictures and Steven Spielberg who got the rights to make the film, which was a groundbreaking blockbuster achievement released in 1993. The rest, as they say, is history. Sort of. It didn't end there as, with the release of "Jurassic World Dominion," we've now had five sequels as well as an animated series in the form of "Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous." Plus, there could still be more in the future.

Believe it or not, as wild as things got at certain points, like the dream-talking velociraptor in "Jurassic Park III" or the entirety of "Fallen Kingdom," things could have been even wilder at various points throughout the history of this franchise as many, many different versions of the films were developed over the years before audiences saw the finished products. We're going to go over every unmade "Jurassic Park" sequel, in chronological order (as best we can) ranging from the original pitch for the first movie up through the script that finally got "Jurassic World" moving in a meaningful direction.

Before truly diving in I just want to add that I am only including movies that there is any meaningful amount of information about online. There could be many, many other iterations that happened more behind the scenes, but these are the ones that have come to light over the years. With that said, let's dig in.

Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park

David Koepp is the man who partnered with Spielberg to actually turn the "Jurassic Park" novel into a timeless blockbuster. But initially, it was Crichton himself who took a crack at adapting his own material. The author was given a rich deal for the book rights and then was paid an additional $500,000 for his script. Various drafts of his screenplay made their way online over the years but, long before the movie ever even entered production, he teased that the movie would allow "Spielberg to work somewhere between the poles of 'Jaws' and 'E.T.'" Crichton's versions hewed much closer to the novel while attempting to make the story suited better to the medium of cinema.

At one point, production designer Rick Carter was attempting to take all of his notes and begin work based on Crichton's script. Carter, however, then took a crack at it himself, more or less, infusing some ideas from his notes with that script. It was radically different than what we saw in theaters, with the opening of the novel involving a lab and the Costa Rican government still intact, Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler being recruited by John Hammond to work at the park rather than evaluate it, lava fields on the island, and all sorts of ideas that never made it to the screen.

Ultimately, Spielberg needed to do what he needed to do to make this movie work and Koepp was the man who was able to crack the code on the page. But for those who are interested in getting a better sense of what Crichton had in mind, you can read the full script here.

The first outline of The Lost World

After "Jurassic Park" became one of the biggest hit films of all time, Universal's thoughts quickly turned to a sequel which would eventually make its way to theaters in the form of 1997's "The Lost World," which had very little to do with Crichton's book of the same name. Koepp would return to collaborate with Spielberg on the sequel but, as is often the case, their first outline for the follow-up differed greatly from what actually ended up happening.

Some of the things that are not included in this early draft include the T-rex being let loose on San Diego, no group of hunters looking to capture dinosaurs, no Roland, no Peter Ludlow, the man trying to wrestle control of InGen away from John Hammond, and no introductory scene that sees a little girl being attacked by Compys. So, to put it mildly, much changed between this version's inception and the final shooting script.

One interesting thing that was included in that first outline was, amongst other things, a camouflaging dinosaur, which is something that would later be revisited in "Jurassic World" with the Indominoux Rex. Another thing is that Biosyn, the rival genetics company that was a huge part of "Dominion," would factor into this first draft. The plot roughly involved a journey to Site B that centers on an espionage mission with Biosyn looking for dinosaur eggs. The opening involves a plane crashing onto the island and this version would have included a T-rex attack on a boat on the water, mirroring an infamous scene that never made it into the original "Jurassic Park" that never made it to film.

Steven Spielberg's original idea for Jurassic Park 3

"Jurassic Park III" truly started with Spielberg, even though he didn't end up directing the film. While his initial ideas for the third entry were almost entirely scrapped by the time the cameras started rolling, we do know some of what he had in mind. Director Joe Johnston explained in 2001 that, oddly enough, there were some comparisons to be drawn between Alan Grant and Robinson Crusoe in this early concept.

"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."

Johnston has a point and, for all its flaws, "Jurassic Park III" doesn't feature a willing Dr. Grant getting back on the island.

The early version of Jurassic Park 3

"Jurassic Park III" had a famously messy production and it had several scripts that were written and then thrown away before production actually got underway. The earliest versions dating back to 1998 of the film actually involved Crichton coming back to help craft a new storyline and write the script. But the first actual draft of the screenplay that any substantial information was revealed about was written in 1999 by Craig Rosenberg and director Joe Johnston didn't exactly speak highly of that initial draft.

"Craig Rosenberg wrote the first draft of all, and that was about five teenagers who are stuck on the island. It read like a bad episode of Friends, just not that good. (Laughs) We just took one look and it and went, 'Okay, we just got start over.'"

And so, even though a full script was written and storyboards had been cooked up, this draft was tossed out in favor of something else entirely.

The Peter Buchman version of JP3

Once the filmmakers decided to move on from Rosenberg's draft, it was Peter Buchman who was brought in to take a crack at writing the first "Jurassic" sequel that would not have Spielberg in the director's chair. In an interview from 2003, Johnston discussed the various interactions that existed before the film as it exists. At this time, he broke down Buchman's version, which would have been wildly different with a parallel storyline not taking place on Site B.

"It involved a family with a kid and [Alan] Grant and Billy crash landing accidentally on the island. It had as a parallel story a whole Costa Rican mainland thing where dinosaurs were getting onto the mainland and killing people and they didn't know who, what or why it was doing it. It turned out to be pteranodons. It was a completely different story but Steven was involved in sort of helping to conceive all the different stories."

The biggest thing here is that the movie we got almost takes place entirely on Site B. However, this abandoned version would have been a murder mystery thriller of sorts taking place in part in Costa Rica. But once the rescue mission was cooked up, that's where they ultimately went with it.

Steven Spielberg's initial Jurassic Park 4 idea

"Jurassic World" hit theaters in 2015 — a full 14 years after the relative disappointment of JP3. It went on to become one of the biggest movies in history and seemingly came at just the right time. But, originally, Spielberg hatched plans for a fourth film way back in 2001 and those very early ideas do not at all resemble the film that came to be. Back in 2002, Sam Neill revealed that a version of "Jurassic Park 4" was in development and that Alan Grant may well be in it.

"Yes, another Jurassic Park is in the developmental stages at the moment. I think I can say that without being arrested, or eaten by one of those scary dinosaurs (laughs). As for my involvement, it's a possibility. I certainly had a ripper of a time doing the previous two, so I have no objection in that respect. Steven (Spielberg) has spoken with me briefly about the new story they are working on, which is remarkably inventive and intriguing, by the way....Steven has indicated I may have some part in the film, but I'll leave it at that."

Obviously, that didn't pan out. The following year, visual effects wizard Stan Winston discussed Spielberg's earlier version of JP4 as well, giving a very broad sense of what moviegoers could expect come the summer of 2005.

"All I can say at this stage is that it's extremely exciting. Expect to see many new dinosaurs, as well as some old favorites from the last three movies. There are also several previously unfilmed scenes from Michael Crichton's novels which Steven is looking to adapt, plus a whole bunch of really creative new stuff. It's all coming together to create what should be a remarkable cinematic experience. If you thought we sent the world into dino-mania back in 1993, hah! You ain't seen nothin' yet. If dinosaurs are big now, they're going to be huge come 2005."

Yes, at one point Universal had plans to have this film in theaters in 2005. They would miss that target by a full decade.

William Monahan's Jurassic Park 4

Between 2002 and 2003, novelist William Monahan, who would go on to write "The Departed," was penning an actual draft of the "Jurassic Park 4" screenplay. This version would have again revisited the idea of dinosaurs attacking Costa Rica. However, this time, the dinosaurs that John Hammond created are more of an urban myth more than a decade removed from the events of the first film. The dinosaurs were breeding rapidly and were threatening the mainland. This version, it seems, may well have brought back Jeff Goldblum as Ian Malcolm, as the actor revealed in a 2003 interview.

"I have to admit I was instantly taken with [Spielberg's] vision for the movie. Completely ingenious, and totally wonderful. It puts such a clever spin on the whole thing, while at the same time returning to the scientific intrigue and fascination of the first film. Steven gave me strict instructions to stay available, because it's not entirely impossible that the services of my character will be required."

Another interesting wrinkle came from producer Kathleen Kennedy, the now-head of Lucasfilm, who stated in July of '03 that a first draft had been completed that "takes place someplace else," and that "It will not be green. We will not go back to the jungle." That kind of lines up with the alleged plot details with the Costa Rican plot line but Kennedy, at the time, was being cagey. One last interesting little wrinkle is that Richard Attenborough, who played John Hammond in the original, had apparently been contacted by Spielberg about the film and was willing to return.

John Sayles' Jurassic Park 4

Perhaps the most infamous of all unmade "Jurassic" films is the John Sayles ("Alligator") iteration of "Jurassic Park 4" that came about after the production moved on from Monahan's version. This is the version that became famous for generating human/dinosaur hybrid concept art that made the rounds online several years back. Though it is very important to note that the version of Sayles' script that circulated online does not include these elements (but it does have dog/dino hybrids) because it was more of a stand-in script that had not at all been finalized. Concept artist Carlos Huante explained at one point:

"There was only a stand-in script. We were fleshing it out and making it more interesting. Those two hybrids were offered to the director so that we could have a big fight at the end of the film. The script that exists, as far as I know, was not the movie script yet."

This version of the story is truly wild but it does contain early shades of what we would ultimately see in "Jurassic World." Our protagonist is an ex-military man named Nick Harris who mirrors, in some ways, Chris Pratt's raptor trainer Owen Grady. The early parts of the script see Harris recruited by John Hammond to rescue the infamous Barbasol can from Isla Nublar to create new creatures that could wipe out the remaining dinos. A Swiss corporation had since taken over the dino-filled islands.

Eventually, Nick is captured by a villain named Baron Von Drax who gets him to train the new dino named Deinonychus that can carry out missions, much like was planned with Owen's raptors in the actual films as they exist. But we see missions carried out in this script before the dinosaurs turn on everyone in a bloody finale. This version based on all available information was, in a word, bonkers.

The marine reptiles / Alex Proyas version of JP4

Following Sayles take on the material, another version of "Jurassic Park 4" started percolating around 2004. This version is far less defined but it might have involved director Alex Proyas ("The Crow") and was still seeking to bring back both Alan Grant and Ian Malcolm, as well as John Hammond. There was also a lead part that had Kiera Knightley in mind, though it was eventually written out. Emmy Rossum ("The Day After Tomorrow") and Jeremy Piven ("Entourage") were also apparently being eyed for roles in this version of the film.

As for the dinos? This is where things get interesting as it was largely going to focus on marine reptiles, with the Spinosaurus also making a comeback following its introduction in JP3. Even though it was largely going to focus on water-based dinos, which is certainly interesting to consider, the famed raptors were also going to be part of the action. So, why did things stall out around this time? Stan Winston explained in 2005 that the script simply wasn't satisfying.

"Things have somewhat slowed on the development of the film, as Steven [Spielberg] wasn't very enthused with the first couple of screenplay drafts. I think he felt neither of them balanced the science and adventure elements effectively. It's a tough compromise to reach, as too much science will make the movie too talky, but too much adventure will make it seem hollow. So we're sort of on hold at the moment, just waiting for the written word to be in place, and then it's full steam ahead, baby!"

And so, the project delved further into development hell.

Joe Johnston and Jack Horner's Jurassic Park 4

Around 2006, yet another incarnation of a fourth entry in the "Jurassic" series was coming together with Joe Johnston and Jack Horner, the famed paleontologist who helped craft the original trilogy, working on a screenplay together. In 2006, Horner explained that a draft had been rejected by Spielberg but that he and Johnston were working on yet another version. Frustratingly few details are available about this incarnation, only that it definitely didn't involve anything from Sayles' version. One intriguing bit of connecting dots comes into play when, in 2007, Laura Dern revealed she had been contacted about reprising her role as Ellie Sattler once again. "I'm told it's happening and I'm told they're calling me," she said at the time, hinting strongly that Spielberg got in touch with her directly.

"Well a certain fellow is the one that called me and it's hard to say no to him cause he's always got something totally genius up his sleeve so we'll see what they have in mind. But I don't know anything about it at this point."

So it seems that Ellie would have returned in the version that was being cooked up around this time. By 2010, things had languished in the background for a while but ideas were seemingly coming together when Joe Johnston was still waiting in the wings to helm the film. Johnston said at the time:

"There is an idea now for number four that is different from the first three, and that is more or less the beginning of a new trilogy, in that it sends the whole franchise off in a new direction. It's not about the dinosaur park anymore. It's about all-new characters. So Steven's busy right now with the stuff he's doing and I've got to do 'Captain America,' but hopefully afterwards, we'll find time to develop it. And really... it's something different that we haven't seen before in the 'Jurassic Park' world."

So, even then, the idea that this would kick off a new trilogy was on the table.

The 2011 Mark Protosevich JP4 draft

The frustrating thing about this period of time is that the script was being worked on but precious few specific details were coming to light. What kept being said is that there was this great idea floating around and there was much talk of moving in a new direction that would kickstart a new trilogy. But it's not like before when drafts were leaking, or when Joe Johnston was spilling the tea on unproduced versions of the films. It was far less specific. To that point, in June of 2011, it was reported by THR that Spielberg was working with Mark Protosevich ("Thor") on yet another version of the script for a fourth "Jurassic" film. Spielberg would go on to confirm at San Diego Comic-Con that year that they "have a story" and that the hope was to see the film in the next two to three years.

In October 2011, speaking with Empire, Spielberg said the most encouraging thing we had heard about JP4 to date proclaiming, "We have a good story. We have a better story for four than we had for three." While virtually nothing is known by way of specifics about Protosevich's draft, this seems to be when and where the tide started to truly turn in favor of actually getting this movie made.

The Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver version of Jurassic World

In some ways, this is the version of JP4 that really, truly led to "Jurassic World" getting made. Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, coming hot off of "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," were hired to pen a new version of the film in 2012, and this one would be much closer to the one that would actually be filmed by Colin Trevorrow. Not a ton is known about this version of the script but it did differ quite a bit from what Trevorrow and Derek Connolly ultimately wrote. Speaking in 2015, he explained that they mostly started from scratch when he got the job.

"We started from scratch. There were three very fundamental ideas that Steven had mandated to Rick [Jaffa] and Amanda [Silver] and we kept those. The park is open, there is a raptor trainer and the dinosaur that breaks free and threatens the park. The only other thing that we kept from the Rick and Amanda script was that there were two boys. In their script, they were Chinese and were the sons of a Chinese paleontologist that was going to the park because the DNA of a dinosaur she had found had been stolen. So, obviously, very, very different movie. But, that was about it."

So, however it may have differed, Jaffa and Silver's script had some core ideas that gave Universal and Spielberg enough confidence to press forward. Though there were huge differences, such as the hybrid dinosaur being called the Malusaurus, as opposed to the Indominous Rex. And, for what it's worth, Jaffa and Silver did ultimately receive a screenwriting credit on "Jurassic World," signaling that whatever differences may have existed in that draft, they at least teed up the ball for Trevorrow to finally get the job done.