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The ‘Jurassic Park’ Cartoon That Never Was

Remember back in the 1990s when there was a cartoon spun off from just about every movie property? I’m talking about “The Real Ghosbusters,” “The Mask,” “Jumanji,” and “Men in Black.” Back in that day, spinning a film off was the ultimate cash grabby thing to do. Did you ever wonder why the idea for a “Jurassic Park” animated series name came up? Well, it turns out the idea did come up. 

Artist William Stout (“The Mist,” “Pan’s Labyrinth”) was hired back in the 90s to develop some concept art for the series. The notion of this having been in the works has been around for some time, and in fact, Stout himself wrote about it on his blog back in 2014. Here’s what the man himself had to say about the project (via From Director Steven Spielberg Tumblr).

Upon the success of Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park movie, all kinds of ancillary projects abounded: toys, games, novelties, apparel, etc.

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.

We made a trailer to communicate the look and feel of the series, also showing how we would combine computer animation with traditional animation. All we needed was Spielberg’s approval.

I heard through the grapevine that he 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.

Too bad.

It seems like a pretty cool approach to an animated series–definitely a lot different from the usual stuff we were getting back then, which were mostly skewed to a younger audience. It would’ve been interesting to see how a prime time cartoon like that would have performed, especially one that had a more graphic novel-esque feel to it.

It’s a real shame that we’ll never see this thing in motion. Apparently, Stout owns a copy of the trailer, but I doubt he’ll be throwing that up on his site anytime soon. Until then, we’ll just have to imagine these pieces in motion.

So why is this art finally seeing the light of day? Based on Stout’s blog entries on his site, he’s looking to the original pieces of his art. So if you’re in the market for rare art pieces, this could be a real find. Check some of the concept art below! 

All images via William Stout.

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