By now, you've probably seen the most recent global phenomenon known as Jurassic World. The summer blockbuster is trampling over the competition and raking in the bones, so it's easy to forget about the long, long road it took to get to Chris Pratt as the alpha-raptor.
Back when the franchise was still pumping out sequels every few years, there were some early rumblings about a Jurassic Park IV, and put simply, we could have gotten a very different fourth entry into the franchise. Take a look below for a brief timeline from the start of development to release as well as a breakdown of an earlier leaked script.
In 2002, Joe Johnston (director of Jurassic Park III) was slated to direct another sequel
Only one year after the release of Jurassic Park III, Universal started gearing up for another entry in the franchise. We would wait another another 13 years before finally getting Jurassic World, but there was quite a bit of dino-sized activity behind the scenes.
In 2004, screenwriter John Sayles turned in a version of the script unlike anything you've seen before
This story shares some early similarities with the final version of Jurassic World including an ex-Navy Seal protagonist, genetically modified dinos (which you can see in all this disturbing concept art), and an effort to train previously unpredictable beasts.
In this script, the main character Nick Harris meets John Hammond, the original owner of Jurassic Park
Old man Hammond had long been deposed, and his beautiful island became property of a new company known as the Grendel Corporation. Though Grendel maintains that the island has been cleared of all dangerous dinosaur life, Hammond knows that at least some smaller species like the compsognathus have survived and may have made it off the island.
Hammond hires Nick to head back to Isla Nublar
His mission is to retrieve the canister of dinosaur embryos left behind by Dennis Nedry (a.k.a. Newman). With those, Hammond plans to create a new infertile species that can hunt down the remaining nuisances
When it comes to genetic testing, however, Grendel is way ahead of the creepy game
Nick gets captured and transported to Grendel Headquarters. There, he comes face-to-face with monstrous hybrid creatures made from dinosaur (specifically deinonychus), human, and canine DNA.
Their evil plan is to use these creations as mercenaries
And guess who gets roped into training them? You got it!
Just like Owen (Chris Pratt) works to wrangle the velociraptors in Jurassic World, Nick would have been responsible for ensuring that these terrors could one day be fighting machines.
Ultimately, this version underwent crushing revisions
According to special effects artist Stan Winston, none of the scripts satisfied Spielberg because they did not effectively balance the elements of both science and adventure.
By 2007, stars from the original Jurassic Park started talking about potential casting in the supposedly upcoming sequel
Sam Neill (Dr. Alan Grant from the first and third movies) said that he was not approached to come back, but Laura Dern (Dr. Ellie Sattler) was asked to return.
Starting in 2009, rumors set the Internet ablaze that this long-delayed project is back on
But we fans don't rest easy until Colin Trevorrow is announced as the director taking the helm in March 2013. From there, the Jurassic World that has taken the world by storm and broke goliath records was begun.
Still, I think this version could have been amazing (especially as a horror movie)
Sure, it might not have been as much of a crowd-pleaser or started a new trilogy of films, but this humo-dino hybrid version of Jurassic Park IV could have been an absurdly good time.
In the end, we got a great movie, so I'm certainly not complaining. It's just astounding when you look back at once hopeful possibilities that went prematurely extinct.