Explore the expanded Jurassic universe
Michael Crichton’s “Jurassic Park” hit bookstores in 1990 and became an instant best-seller. By that time, Steven Spielberg was already hard at work planning his blockbuster adaption. Crichton then went on to develop the 1995 literary follow-up, “The Lost World.” Those two books may be the DNA upon which the entire “Jurassic” franchise is built, but not even a chaotician could have predicted the many forms the story would take over the next two-plus decades.
In June 1993, the same month that “Jurassic Park” first hit the big screen, Topps Comics began publishing a four-issue adaptation of the film from comic legends Walt Simonson, Gil Kane and George Perez. It was followed by a special “zero issue” with two short stories set before the film. The first charts Dennis Nedry’s betrayal while the second goes back even further to explore John Hammond and the park’s genesis.
Naturally, comic book fans were quite fond of “Jurassic Park,” and that December Topps launched a new series touted as “the official continuation.” Split into several miniseries (“Raptor,” “Raptors Attack,” “Raptor Hijack” and “Return to Jurassic Park”), the books follow Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler, Ian Malcolm, John Hammond and, bizarrely, Robert Muldoon (who is revealed to have secretly survived) as they try to help contain the fallout from Jurassic Park.
Over the course of 19 regular issues and a prequel annual, the Topps series tackled everything from Colombian crime lords training velociraptors as attack animals to the evil machinations of the BioSyn Corporation and their efforts to build their own park. Unfortunately, Topps was only able to publish one more series, a four-issue adaptation of “The Lost World,” before the company went extinct in 1998.
It would be more than a decade until “Jurassic” comics returned, this time with three five-issue miniseries from IDW. “Redemption” catches up with Lex and Tim Murphy 13 years after the original film. Boasting story and art by John Byrne, “Devils in the Desert” introduces all-new characters as dinosaurs begin wrecking havoc in a remote southwest American city. “Dangerous Games” sees Isla Nublar coming into the possession of a Nicaraguan drug lord.
Jurassic Park: The Ride
In 1996, Universal Studios dedicated a section of their Hollywood theme park to “Jurassic,” allowing fans to get up close and personal with the franchise’s reptilian stars. The titular ride, inspired by a river sequence from the original novel that didn’t make it to the big screen, has since expanded to international Universal locations and even received its own online game.
T. Rex Cameos
Usually referred to as either “Rexy” or “Roberta,” the franchise’s biggest star has popped up in a couple of non-“Jurassic” films. Just two years after “Jurassic Park,” a much, much smaller Roberta appeared in Frank Oz‘s “The Indian in the Cupboard,” where she got to do battle with Darth Vader. More recently, she re-teamed with director Steven Spielberg for “Ready Player One.”
Jurassic Park Adventures
The release of “Jurassic Park III” in 2001 brought with it the only narrative books not written by Crichton. The first of three young-adult books, “Survivor” begins shortly before the events of the third film and follows young Eric Kirby as he fights to survive on Isla Sorna. “Prey” follows up the film as he and Alan Grant return to the island. Finally, “Flyers” has both heroes come under attack from pteranodons while visiting Universal Studios to discuss their experiences.
Hasbro’s early “Jurassic Park” action figures were always somewhat removed from the film itself. Ellie Sattler was packaged with her massive neon green grappling hook gun, while Alan Grant carried his aerial net launcher and trusty nuclear smart bomb. Things got even weirder in 1998, however, when Hasbro introduced “Chaos Effect.”
Spinning out of “The Lost World,” the “Chaos Effect” toy line was planned to arrive alongside a “Jurassic Park” cartoon. The cartoon was canceled, however, and fans were instead introduced to a strange toy continuity wherein Ian Malcolm wears “Dino-Mech” armor to face off against deadly new genetic creations, built by splicing existing dinosaur species.
The theatrical release of “Jurassic Park” was followed by video game adaptations for just about every gaming system. It wasn’t until 1994, though, that the games began to expand franchise lore. Sega’s “Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition” served as a sequel of sorts, bringing Dr. Alan Grant back to Isla Nublar. The following year, Nintendo explored a similar storyline with “Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues.”
“The Lost World” received its own flurry of cross-console games before “Trespasser” arrived in 1998. Set one year after the events of the sequel, the storyline follows a young woman, Anne (voiced by Minnie Driver), who survives a plane crash on Isla Sorna. At the time a state-of-the-art production, “Trespasser” also featured the return of Sir Richard Attenborough as the voice of John Hammond.
More games arrived tied to the third film in 2001, including the PC-based “Dino Defender,” which sees people return to Isla Nublar following a catastrophic earthquake. That same year, another PC game called “Dinosaur Battles” has a government agent sent to Isla Sorna to recover a lost expedition.
Other tie-in games released that same year include the PC game “Dino Defender” and Game Boy Advance’s “The DNA Factor,” both of which see all-new characters arriving on Isla Sorna and facing off against the island’s scaly inhabitants.
Over the next few years, “Jurassic” games would turn back the clock with 2005’s “Operation Genesis” and 2011’s “Jurassic Park: The Game.” The former lets gamers work with Hammond in designing the original park, while the latter overlaps with the events of the first film and follows veterinarian Gerry Harding and his daughter, Jess. If you’re curious about what happened to the original movie’s infamous Barbasol can, “The Game” is where to look.
The theatrical release of “Jurassic World” brought with it a LEGO take on the entire franchise, and its sequel is bringing several new games to the market. The park-building “Jurassic World Evolution” is now available along with the AR-based mobile game “Jurassic World Alive.” Virtual reality fans can also get close to the action with the free cinematic experience, “Blue,” which follows the new movie’s dinosaur hero as she tries to survive on Isla Nublar years after the last film.
The Evolution of Claire
Just days after “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” hits theaters domestically, fans are invited to take a step back in the narrative with author Tess Sharpe‘s “The Evolution of Claire”. Hitting bookshelves on June 26, the young adult novel begins more than decade before the events of the first “Jurassic World,” following a young Claire Dearing as she begins working as an intern on Isla Nublar.
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