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Wow, Jurassic Park’s Original Dinosaur Plan Would’ve Sucked

Michael Crichton’s original plan for Jurassic Park was much worse than what his novel and movie adaptation ended up becoming. 1993’s Jurassic Park is one of the most beloved films of all time, and one of many crowning achievements in Steven Spielberg’s long career. It also made author Michael Crichton and his novel a household name thanks to his thrilling story combined with Spielberg’s VFX acumen rewriting how movies were made.

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Before Michael Crichton wrote the novel about a dinosaur theme park featuring real dinosaurs that escape their enclosures and go on a rampage throughout the park, he wrote several drafts that were quite different (via Michael Crichton). Instead of an entire island full of dinosaurs, such as the Tyrannosaurus Rex and Spinosaurus, Michael Crichton’s plan would’ve only involved one winged dinosaur; originally, his story was about a single cloned pterodactyl. Rather than telling the story of Jurassic Park from the point of view of the movie’s Alan Grant (Sam Neill), Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern), Crichton’s original idea for the story was also told from the point of view of a young boy.

While Crichton’s original plan was creative, it wouldn’t have been nearly as great as his final story that became Jurassic Park. Part of what made Jurassic Park such an exciting story was the theme park, which was located on a huge island full of diverse species of dinosaurs. Having only one cloned pterodactyl would’ve reduced the scope of Michael Crichton’s sci-fi story to a monster story than the imagination-fueling adventure epic it became. In addition, changing the main characters of the novel and subsequent movie from a child to adults allowed for more maturity within the story. The movie adaptation did a good job of incorporating the childlike point of view with the inclusion of Tim (Joseph Mazzello) and Lex (Ariana Richards) without sacrificing any of the layered ethical themes of the book.

How Jurassic Park Changed To The Theme Park Setting
Alan Grant faces off against a T-rex in Jurassic Park
One of the most important aspects of writing is receiving insightful and honest feedback from peers. This truth was no different for Michael Crichton, who was able to develop the Jurassic Park story thanks to the feedback he received from his friends who read through every single one of his many drafts for the project as he developed it over the years. Originally, it started out as a screenplay about a single pterodactyl, but it was just never that convincing. Eventually, it turned into the first draft of a novel with the setting moved to the theme park and more dinosaurs, but with a little boy as the protagonist. This first draft of the book is what he sent out to his peers, only to be told they hated it. None of them were sure why, but they hated it. Crichton ended up rewriting the draft three more times, still receiving the same negative feedback.

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