If you were a kid in the 1990s, you are no doubt aware of the trend of turning successful live-action films into animated Saturday morning kids' shows. Men In Black, Ghostbusters, The Mask, Evolution, Godzilla, even Free Willy; they got the animated treatment. But did you know Jurassic Park was also going to join this rather long line-up?
According to concept artist, William Stout, Universal Cartoon Studios toyed with the idea of a Jurassic Park animated spin-off towards the mid-1990s. Although the project never fully hatched, Stout does have some concept art which shows off the style of animation we could have expected. Check them out below:
As well as character concept art, Stout created some artwork for potential scenes that would have appeared in the animated series.
Of course, the Mosasaur eventually got his screen-time, 20 years later, in the recently released Jurassic World.
According to Stout, Jurassic Park wouldn't have been your average animated series. Instead of going out to the captive Saturday morning kid audience, Jurassic Park: The Animated Series planned to do battle with the big boys in primetime. Due to this, the series would have a more mature tone, and an animation style mimicking graphic novels. Stout explained:
"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. I came in, showed my portfolio and was hired."
Everything seemed set for launch and all that was required was permission from Steven Spielberg himself. However, this was not forthcoming and the production around the series went the way of the dinosaurs. Stout added:
"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.
I'm not really sure if this is "too bad." I can't really see how a Jurassic Park animated series could have really survived amongst the established live-action big hitters of the prime time market for very long. But who knows, maybe life would have found a way?