Cartoon spin offs and video game tie-ins were part and parcel of the big studio movie machine back in the 90s. The proliferation of game systems in the home provided a golden opportunity to adapt, and sometime continue, movies beyond the credits rolling. Part of the marketing behemoth for Steven Spielberg’s 1993 dino caper involved a Jurassic Park cartoon. Artists were hired, a story bible drawn up, even a trailer was put together, and then…nothing.
Until now. The keen eyes from Jurassic
Last year a number of pieces of artwork for the show were revealed by a key player in the cancelled series. The concept pieces below are by artist William Stout who has spoken about the cancelled series with on his blog,
“Towards the end of all of [the Jurassic Park] merchandising I got a call…asking if I’d be interested in designing a Jurassic Park animated series. This was not going to be a kiddy show (although kids of all ages, including myself, could enjoy it). They wanted the show to be a mature prime time series with top writers and state-of-the-art television animation augmented with quite a bit of CG animation. Universal Cartoon Studios wanted a “graphic novel look” to the series”
The film’s sequel did indeed have a darker tone to its blockbusting forebear. And elements of the canned cartoon series did make it into the SNES game (and non-canon sequel) Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues. As for why the animated series never went beyond the initial phases of development, Stout has a possible answer,
“We made a trailer to communicate the look and feel of the series, also showing how we would combine computer animation with traditional animation. All we needed was Spielberg’s approval. I heard through the grapevine that he never bothered to watch what we had done. By that time the word was out that he was burnt out on Jurassic Park merchandising and all of the film’s commercial exploitation. So, it never got made. Too bad.”
Too bad indeed Mr. Stout. Check out these fantastic designs for the show.
The entire document has been written up at Jurassic Outpost and, the use of Comic Sans aside, this is a fascinating document. It contains elements that were used in The Lost World a year or so later, but the ending would have been quite something to see, with the park finally opening to the public.
It pushed the series in a direction that would not have been picked until Jurassic World and perhaps it was Spielberg’s dino fatigue, along with the potential chaos of multi-stranded narrative on a variety of media, which have needlessly confused future film productions.
Of course, the artwork aside, the series bible duplicated here was given over by an anonymous source or dug up in a less than transparent way. There’s no way of knowing if this is the genuine path the series would have taken. It would seem odd for a site dedicated to celebrating the world of Jurassic Park to invent this for clicks, so we’re taking it in good faith and have enjoyed returning to this, albeit never realised, Jurassic Park.