‘Jurassic Park’ Had 2 Alternate Endings That Were Scrapped

Jurassic Park might be the most important blockbuster event in cinematic history. Steven Spielberg’s dinosaur thriller wasn’t the first film to utilize computer-generated effects, nor was it a pioneer of making them look realistic.

However, it showed just how far Hollywood had come since King Kong, Godzilla, and other monster projects. Along the way, however, Spielberg had to make some tough decisions about the story that could help bring these masterful effects to the big screen. 

‘Jurassic Park’ has a strong legacy

A scene from ‘Jurassic Park’ | Murray Close/Getty Images

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Based on a novel by Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park was a story about a dinosaur-based theme park. Rather than bringing animatronics and making a prehistoric Disneyland, however, the fictional theme park used real dinosaurs’ DNA to give people an up-close and personal look at the extinct species. Of course, everything goes awry after doing so, 

The result was a disaster involving carnivorous creatures terrorizing the humans in the park. Suddenly, humanity was not at the top of the food chain. Instead, they had knowingly unleashed a new generation of giant monsters out into the world. Now, the film has spawned four sequels with a 5th on the way. Despite the mixed results of every ensuing movie, however, the original still holds a special place in people’s hearts. 

The film worked on many levels. Not only did it revolutionize the way that Hollywood made blockbuster films in the future, but it certified Spielberg’s legacy as one of the most audacious, daring filmmakers on earth. The same blockbuster genre he helped create with Jaws was now an industry staple, with films like Jurassic Park helping to lead the way.

One of its crowning achievements, a thrilling final scene in which raptors chase down the human characters only to be stopped by the film’s iconic tyrannosaurus rex, was almost very different. 

How did ‘Jurassic Park’ end?

Jurassic Park shows that while humanity might have all the brains within the animal kingdom, they’re still low on the food chain once their protections go away. While the film is about dinosaurs attacking unsuspecting people, it is also about the hubris that could cause them to create creatures who are known for being big, violent, and in many cases, carnivorous. 

All of this is on full display in the final sequence, which starts with Hammond’s grandchildren eating a meal after all of the horrors they had witnessed and ends with a chase throughout the park’s main building. After getting cornered by the raptors, the t-rex saves the day, and the protagonists escape via a helicopter as pterodactyls fly nearby.

It is one of many iconic sequences in the film and helped show Spielberg’s masterful way of making a scene drive the effects rather than making the film a mere showcase. However, while the film was a loose adaptation of Crichton’s novel, this final sequence was almost different. 

The finale involved some trial and error

Jurassic Park was an experiment on how far they could stretch the premise while making it look good. This experimentation was part of what made it so special. Spielberg spoke about how important it was to get the dinosaurs made through practical effects and CGI alike, shine more than their human counterparts. 

“Here’s what was scary: We were creating the title characters of a film. These were the stars of the picture, these dinosaurs. And if that didn’t work, nothing about Jurassic Park could have worked. So that was daunting, because I was using Universal’s money to basically make an experimental ­dinosaur picture,” the director told Entertainment Weekly.

This experimentation meant some trial and error, reports CBR. While the film as a whole is considered a classic, it was far from a surefire hit at the time of its production. To Spielberg and his team, it was necessary to nail the finale, particularly, and it went through several drafts before they did so.

One draft of the end had the t-rex latch on to the helicopter as it tried to escape. While thrilling, this ending would have meant another expensive set piece in a film already filled to the brim with them. 

A second ending, which gave Hammond the final fight as the raptors closed in on them, was a smaller, less memorable way to wrap it up. While Jurassic Park is unique for many reasons, the t-rex is its crowning achievement. This is what makes the ending that we got so special. It painted the creature not as a villain but as a king who triumphs over all the other creatures. While the helicopter ending would have added to this, it may have taken away some of the ambiguity that makes the real finale so memorable to this day.