Amid the reign of selective sequels in recent years, few could have expected Jurassic World to revitalize interest in the Jurassic Park franchise so heartily. Certainly, the original incarnation permeated its share of culture with endless merchandising tie-in, but did you know we almost got a “mature” Jurassic Park animated series, before Spielberg permanently caged the project? We even have the concept art to prove it.

As reported over on Collider, Universal Cartoon Studios had years ago gone into development on an animated Jurassic Park, not necessarily among the more lighthearted TV tie-ins from era, but rather a “mature prime time series” with state-of-the-art visuals and a “graphic novel look.” Artist William Stout even put together some impressive concept art, sharing it on his blog along with insight into Spielberg shutting the project down:

 

Towards the end of all of this merchandising I got a call from artist Will Meugniot, asking if I’d be interested in designing a Jurassic Park animated series. This was not going to be a kiddy show (although kids of all ages, including myself, could enjoy it). 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. […]

I heard through the grapevine that [Spielberg] 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.

 

Stout even shared that they’d made a proof-of-concept trailer for the effort, but not one we should expect to see under the light of day anytime soon. It’s of interest to contemplate how much more diluted the Jurassic Park franchise might have become with an animated tie-in, though Jurassic World may yet give us the opportunity to find out all over again.

In the meantime, you can check out Stout’s art above (and even purchase some), and wonder what might have been.

 

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