Jurassic Park Franchise: Every Lesser-Known Details You May Have Missed

9 minute read

By Riley Jones (@moviemanjones)

Based on Michael Crichton’s novel of the same name, the first Jurassic Park movie was released June 9, 1993. The science-fiction film went on to win more than 20 awards, including three Academy Awards. To this day, it is widely regarded as the benchmark for CG imagery and animatronics. Following the success of the original, the franchise has since gone on to make four successful sequels.

Steven Spielberg, director of the first films, is well known for including cleverly placed Easter eggs and the Jurassic Park franchise is no exception. So without further ado, here is every hidden we could find while watching the Jurassic Park films.

The Jurassic Park Phase

Interestingly enough, many scientists have confirmed that the study of paleontology took a massive spike following the release of Michael Crichton’s 1990 novel, Jurassic Park. When the film adaptation was released three years later, that interest only intensified. By the mid-90s, the number of people searching for fossils had grown so big that a time scientist dubbed it “the Jurassic Park phase”.

Steve Brusatte, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh, stresses the importance of the film to the scientific community. He told The Guardian that, “So many of my colleagues, people of my age, my generation, would tell you point-blank that Jurassic Park made them want to be a scientist, and it’s true that a lot of museums and a lot of universities started to hire paleontologists right after that film, because dinosaurs exploded.”

Source: Picture via Shutterstock

The Gyrosphere

Even if you weren’t a fan of Jurassic World, it’s hard to deny that the Gyrosphere, a sphere-shaped ride for tourists, was pretty darn cool. They had a built-in computer monitor to help tourists identify surrounding wildlife while still keeping them at a safe distance. The only drawback to the Gyrosphere is that they max out at five mph. Well, that and they don’t stand up very well to an Indominus Rex attack.

According to Colin Trevorrow, writer and director of Jurassic World, the Gyrosphere was actually Steven Spielberg’s idea. He wanted the film to feature “a way for people to get up close and personal” with the prehistoric wildlife within the park. Thus, the Gyrosphere was born.

Source: Screenshot via Universal Pictures

Jimmy Buffet Cameo

Singer Jimmy Buffet made an unlikely cameo in Jurassic World during the scene when the swarm of Dimorphodon attack the unsuspecting tourists. Buffett can be seen wearing a tangerine-colored shirt with a white hat and glasses. Best of all, despite being surrounded by flying beasts, Buffet remembers to save his drinks.

If you watch closely, you’ll also notice the restaurant is “Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville”. This is a real restaurant chain founded by Buffett in 1985.

The T-Rex and Rain Don’t Mix

According to Jurassic Park producer Kathleen Kennedy, every time it rained on-set, the iconic T-Rex would malfunction. The malfunction would cause the giant dino-puppet to completely freak-out.

Kennedy went on to recount the first few times it happened. She said that the experience was so unexpected that members of the cast and crew had the “crap” scared out of them on multiple occasions. Given the T-Rex stood roughly 18 feet tall and 36 feet wide, it’s no wonder people were so terrified when the robot entered what Kennedy referred to as the “heebie-jeebies.”

Source: Picture via Universal Pictures

Lions, Tiger, and Bears

Being that no one really knows what dinosaurs sound like, sound designer Gary Rydstrom had to get creative. He sampled sounds from penguins, tigers, alligators, baby elephants, and most surprising of all, Buster, his very own Jack Russell terrier.

Even stranger, when asked what he used for the iconic sounds of the Velociraptors, Rydstrom sheepishly admitted: “It’s a mating tortoise!”

Source: Screenshot via Universal Pictures

Ripple in the Cup

The ripple in a cup of water that precedes the T-Rex’s breakout is the most iconic scene of the entire Jurassic Park franchise. But how did the production team create this effect?

Well, Steven Spielberg came up with the idea for the “rippled water” illusion while listening to an unknown Earth, Wind, and Fire song in his car. Along with Michael Lantieri, the special dinosaur effect technician, they cleverly came up with the idea to place and pluck a guitar string attached to the underside of the dash to recreate the vibration illusion of a giant dinosaur closing in.

Source: Screenshot via Universal Pictures

Harrison Ford Was Almost Cast As Dr. Alan Grant

Initially, Steven Spielberg offered the role of Dr. Alan Grant to Harrison Ford, in large part because of his performance in The Empire Strikes Back. Spielberg thought he was perfect for the role, but Ford turned him down.

Fun fact: Harrison Ford has admitted on numerous occasions that he’s never watched Jurassic Park in its entirety. Keep doing you, Harrison.

Source: Picture via Canadian Press

Cretaceous Park

When asked why his book is called Jurassic Park even though it features a dinosaur that didn’t come into existence until after the Jurassic period was over, Crichton simply said it was the best design.

For those interested, the Tyrannosaurus Rex didn’t exist until after the Jurassic period had ended some 144 million years ago, in what is known as the Cretaceous period. The movie features dinosaurs from both periods. Considering they were all brought back using DNA, it really doesn’t matter what period they’re from.

Source: Screenshot via 20th Television

Michael Crichton Got Paid

The Jurassic Park franchise has earned billions at the box office. Even though Michael Crichton only got paid two million dollars for the rights to his first novel, it’s estimated that Crichton was worth roughly $175 million before passing in 2008.

I guess when you consider that Jurassic World earned about 1.67 billion worldwide and Fallen Kingdom did 1.3 billion, I think it’s fair to say that Crichton was underpaid.

Source: Picture via Canadian Press

God Creates Dinosaurs by Ian Malcolm

Even though Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm was left out of Jurassic World, his famous — and completely made up — book, God Creates Dinosaurs, shows up twice in the film. First, it shows up on Lowery Cruthers’ desk and later on in the hands of Claire’s assistant, Zara.

Fortunately, Ian Malcolm made his celebrated return to the franchise in Fallen Kingdom.

Source: Screenshot via Universal Pictures

The Jeep Wrangler Staff Vehicle

In Jurassic Park, every time John Hammond is transported from location to location, he’s in a Jeep 29.

22 years later in Jurassic World, the very same Jeep Wrangler is found by Zach and Gray, covered in vines and dirt. After miraculously repairing it, the boys jump in and drive it back to Main Street.

Source: Screenshot via Universal Pictures

Chaos Theory Strikes Again

During the original Jurassic Park, Ian Malcolm describes chaos theory as two drops of water rolling down someone’s hand in different directions.

During Jurassic World, just before the Indominus Rex attacks the members of the ACU squad, two drops of blood hit the arm of one of the members, each going in opposite directions. It was a clever way of paying homage to the original, while also foreshadowing the teams’ impending doom.

Source: Screenshot via Universal Pictures

Sam Neill Got Burned

Remember the iconic scene from the first Jurassic Park where Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) waved the flare in order to get the attention of the T-Rex?

Well unfortunately for Neill, during one of the takes, some of the phosphorous dropped from the flare and got trapped under his watch. This resulted in a significant burn that saw Neill lost a significant chunk of his arm. This is probably why Neill chose to switch hands, and hold the flare with his right arm during the film.

Source: Screenshot via Universal Pictures

R.I.P. Six Flags

After only a few years of operation, Six Flags New Orleans was forced to close due to the fallout of Hurricane Katrina. On the bright side, nowadays the abandoned park has become the ideal spot for high-budget films. The park has hosted Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Jurassic World.

Jurassic World spent a total of nine weeks shooting on location at Six Flags, so next time you watch it, be on the lookout for the deserted theme park.

Source: Picture via Wikimedia Commons

The S.S. Venture

In The Lost World, the S.S. Venture is an InGen cargo vessel responsible for transporting the T-Rex from Isla Sorna to San Diego. Interestingly enough, the S.S. Venture is also the name of the ship that brought the notorious King King to New York from Skull Island.

Source: Picture via Universal Studios

Who is Jack Horner?

Jack Horner is a world-renowned Paleontologist and main inspiration for Dr. Alan Grant. Steven Spielberg was a big fan of Horner’s, frequently calling on him to provide incite throughout the first three Jurassic Park films.

In fact, without Horner’s input, the raptors would’ve had snake-like tongues. Horner’s research suggested that velociraptors were related to birds. Because of this, he suggested that the movie should scrap the idea, which they did.

Thanks, Horner!

Source: Picture via Wikimedia Commons

Vintage Jurassic Park Merch

Jake Johnson’s Lowery, the hilariously quirky programmer from Jurassic World, can be found wearing a vintage Jurassic Park T-shirt throughout the film.

When asked about the decision to wear the throwback shirt, Johnson said that Lowery is the kind of guy that thinks vintage is cool and everything that comes after is garbage. Sound familiar?

Source: Screenshot via Universal Pictures

Brad Bird Is The Word

As the story goes, Colin Trevorrow got the Jurassic World gig in large part because of fellow director Brad Bird’s recommendation. As a way of saying thank you, Trevorrow asked Bird if he’d voice the monorail featured in Jurassic World. Bird happily agreed.

Fun fact: Brad Bird is responsible for directing the well known Pixar hits The Incredibles and Ratatouille, as well as The Iron Giant.

Source: Picture via Shutterstock

Dr. Henry Wu Returns

In an effort to soften the tone of Jurassic Park, Steven Spielberg felt that he needed to lessen the influence of characters like Dr. Henry Wu (B.D. Wong), Ray Arnold (Samuel L. Jackson), and Robert Muldoon (Bob Peck). While still great characters, the book paints a much different picture of their motives.

In Jurassic World, Wong was asked to reprise his role as Henry Wu, only this time around was given a much bigger role. Motivated by financial gain, Dr. Wu and his team of scientists created the Indominius Rex — a highly dangerous hybrid responsible for destroying the new park.

Source: Screenshot via Universal Pictures

Rexy Lives

Did you happen to notice that the T-Rex in Jurassic World had some pretty substantial scars on its neck? Well, the story behind those scars is actually pretty cool. The T-Rex got them while fighting off velociraptors during the original Jurassic Park film – I’m sure you remember the scene. This means the T-Rex from Jurassic Park and Jurassic World are one and the same, making her the oldest dinosaur in the franchise.

Fun fact: In the books, Robert Muldoon nicknames the female Tyrannosaurus Rex, “Rexy”. However, that’s never mentioned in the films.

Source: Screenshot via Universal Pictures

Riley Jones (@moviemanjones)


Riley is the Managing Editor of Goliath. When he's not at the movie theatre or binging some new tv series, he likes to spend his time shooting hoops and play MTG. He doesn't like 'Breaking Bad,' loves 'The Simpsons,' hates mayonnaise, and has been repping the Toronto Raptors since '95. Follow him on IG and Twitter @moviemanjones.