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Jurassic Universe: Exploring the world outside the movies

The forgotten multimedia Jurassic Park sequels

It’s more than a park or a world, it’s an entire universe. In 1990, the Michael Crichton novel Jurassic Park was published. The book told the story of a theme park filled with genetically recreated dinosaurs, captivating readers around the world. The novel inspired a blockbuster film adaption in 1993, which then spawned an expanded universe of comics, video games, television shows, and more. The Jurassic Park expanded universe might not be as cohesive or expansive as other franchises like Star Wars or Marvel, but there are still plenty of treasures. As Jurassic World Dominion wraps up Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic trilogy, let’s take a look at the forgotten sequels that kept us entertained between the films.

Jurassic Park novels

After the release of 2001 film Jurassic Park III, Random House published a trilogy of young reader novels called Jurassic Park Adventures. The first book was titled Survivor, and it focused on Eric Kirby, the teenage boy who served as a key character in the third film. Survivor details how he survived alone on Isla Sorna before his rescue in Jurassic Park III . Of the three books in the trilogy, Survivor is the most interesting, as it details some key events that were not included in the movie. Readers also get to meet some dinosaurs that weren’t included in the film, such as a Diplodocus and a Iguanodon.

Prey, the second book in the trilogy, takes place after the events of the Jurassic Park III film. Alan Grant decides to open a wildlife conservatory on Isla Sorna, and for some inexplicable reason Eric Kirby’s parents allow him to return to the island to assist. A group of teenagers sneak onto Isla Sorna, hoping to get rich and famous by doing a Blair Witch Project style dinosaur documentary. Naturally it’s up to Alan and Eric to save them. The book features an appearance by a Carnotaurus years before it would make its cinematic debut in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

The final book in the trilogy was titled Flyers. The story features a group of Pteranodons attacking Universal Studios Orlando. Alan Grant and Eric Kirby just happen to be at the park for a speaking engagement, so it’s up to them to help the tourists survive the prehistoric pandemonium. Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park and its Jurassic Park themed area are not mentioned, helping the novel avoid some difficult questions about how they would exist in the franchise’s fictional universe . However, theme park enthusiasts will love the references to defunct Universal Studios rides. Old attractions like Jaws, Kongfrontation, and Earthquake play heavily into this story, making this book a fun time capsule to what the Orlando theme park was like in 2002.

In 2018 Random House published another young reader novel, this time focusing on Claire Dearing, Bryce Dallas Howard’s character from the Jurassic World trilogy. The Evolution of Claire bridges the gap between the films Jurassic Park III and Jurassic World, flashing back to 2004 to show the construction of the Jurassic World theme park. Readers experience Claire’s earliest meetings with Jurassic World founder Simon Masrani, and learn how they were able to succeed where theme park had failed. The book reveals that the Masrani Corporation shipped all of the dinosaurs on Isla Sorna to Isla Nublar, resolving a common fan question. Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow and actor Bryce Dallas Howard both consulted on the novel, and it is considered canon.

This summer Random House will release two more young reader novels to tie-in with the release of Jurassic World Dominion. The books will focus on Maisie Lockwood, a young girl who was introduced in the 2018 film Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Maisie Lockwood Adventures #1: Off the Grid will be released on June 14, followed by Maisie Lockwood Adventures #2: The Yosemite Six on August 30th. While plot details haven’t been revealed yet, if it’s anything like Random House’s previous novels, it should be an interesting addition to the Jurassic mythos.

Jurassic Park comics

In 1993 Topps Comics obtained the license to publish comics based on Jurassic Park. They kicked things off with an adaptation of the movie, which included a zero issue serving as a prequel. One story focused on InGen’s lawyer Donald Gennaro witnessing the hatching of the Tyrannosaurus that would eventually kill him. Another story focuses on Dennis Nedry, the computer engineer who turned off the power in the film. The story shows Nedry’s earliest days on the island, and the events that led to him contacting InGen’s corporate rival BioSyn.

The adaptation was followed by a comic book miniseries called Raptor, which took place three days after the events of the movie. Dr. Grant and Dr. Sattler are somehow convinced to return to the island to help the government round up the dinosaurs. They wind up fighting a group of mercenaries that kidnap a pack of Raptors. This led to another mini-series called Raptors Attack, where a South American drug lord steals the Raptors and trains them to attack his enemies. This story featured the return of Robert Muldoon, the game warden from the original film. Despite his death scene from the 1993 film, Raptors Attack revealed that he had survived his dinosaur ambush, but no concrete explanation was ever given.

The serialized Raptor hunt continued with the Raptors Hijack mini-series, where Alan Grant, Ellie Sattler, Ian Malcolm, and Robert Muldoon searched for the dinosaurs in the South American jungles. The story continued in the series Return to Jurassic Park, which brought the original characters back to Isla Nublar. An annual was also published in 1995, featuring new characters in some forgettable stories.

The Topps Comics stories may have been a bit silly, but they featured work from some of the most distinguished names in the comics industry, including Steve Englehart, George Perez, Gil Kane, and Walt Simonson. Some of the events from these comics were contradicted by The Lost World: Jurassic Park, making them non-canon. After publishing an adaptation of The Lost World: Jurassic Park in 1997, Topps Comics officially folded the following year.

In 2010 IDW Publishing began releasing Jurassic Park comics, starting with the mini-series Jurassic Park: Redemption. The story focused on the grown-up versions of Tim and Lex Murphy, the child characters from the original Jurassic Park film. Now a successful business tycoon, Tim tries to redeem his grandfather’s legacy by opening a dinosaur theme park in Texas. He figures that the best way to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past is to only clone docile herbivores. His scientists clone carnivores anyway, and as you can imagine, things go horribly wrong. The mini-series features the return of Lewis Dodgson, and Peter Ludlow, corporate raiders who served as antagonists in the films. Ludlow revealed that he had survived his dinosaur mauling from The Lost World: Jurassic Park. The events from this comic were contradicted by the 2015 Jurassic World film, making it non-canon.

This series was followed by Jurassic Park: The Devils in the Desert, which focused on a group of escaped Pteranodons causing chaos. This mini-series was written and illustrated by industry veteran John Byrne. Jurassic Park: Dangerous Games was published in 2011, and it told the story of a drug cartel taking over Isla Nublar. Once an undercover CIA agent is unmasked, he’s forced to dodge dinosaurs and drug lords as he makes his way through the island. During a 2016 San Diego Comic Con panel IDW Publishing announced plans to produce more Jurassic Park comics , but nothing has materialized in the past ten years.

Jurassic Park video games

There have been too many Jurassic Park video games to fully chronicle here, so for the purpose of this article we will only be focusing on games that tell original sequel or prequel stories. This means that movie adaptations and basic shooters won’t be mentioned. While the world was eagerly awaiting the first Jurassic Park sequel, fans were able to get the next best thing with video games. In 1994 BlueSky Software released Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition for the Sega Genesis console. The game was a sequel to BlueSky’s movie tie-in game, which let gamers play as Alan Grant or a Raptor. This feature was retained for Jurassic Park: Rampage Edition, which attempted to tell a sequel to the 1993 film.

According to the game manual, after boarding a helicopter to escape Isla Nublar during the conclusion of the film, Alan’s aircraft crashed back onto the island. Dr. Grant spends the game fighting off dinosaurs, while going up against inGen workers. Apparently inGen is looking to collect dinosaur samples so they could start another park, something Alan is understandably against. Since this was a ‘90s side-scroller, the story wasn’t too elaborate.

Gamers who didn’t own a Sega Genesis got to experience their own sequel with Jurassic Park 2: The Chaos Continues. The Super Nintendo game (also released for the Game Boy) features an opening cutscene setting up the storyline. InGen’s competitor BioSyn is trying to take over Isla Nublar, hoping to profit off of the dinosaurs. Naturally John Hammond sends Alan Grant to the island to stop them, because that’s just the type of thing paleontologists do. In addition to fighting dinosaurs, the players must combat BioSyn’s mercenaries. This gives players a weird visual of Dr. Grant shooting up an army of men as if he was Rambo.

The 1998 PC game Jurassic Park: Trespasser takes place a year after The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and focuses on a woman named Anne who must survive after being stranded on Isla Sorna. The game is notable for featuring Richard Attenborough reprising his role as John Hammond. Throughout the game, Anne recalls information from Jurassic Time, an in-universe memoir written by Hammond. The book, which is read by Attenborough throughout the game, chronicles the rise and fall of Jurassic Park, with details that weren’t included in the movies. Fans have spliced these audio vignettes together on Youtube, creating an audiobook.

In 2011 Telltale Games released Jurassic Park: The Game for multiple platforms. The episodic point and click game took place during the events of the first movie. Players follow Gerry Harding (a veterinarian briefly seen in the 1993 film) and his daughter Jessica as they survive the dinosaur breakout. Part of the game centers around BioSyn agents trying to retrieve the stolen embryos hidden in Dennis Nedry’s Barbasol can. The game also reveals that a cure for the dinosaur’s lysine deficiency was placed in the water supply, resolving a plot thread that had left fans theorizing for years.

Jurassic Park theme park attractions

When Universal Studios opened its Islands of Adventure theme park in 1999, it launched a Jurassic Park themed area with some interesting backstory lore. According to ride queue videos, and a documentary about the making of Islands of Adventure, the Jurassic Park area of the Orlando resort is canonically meant to be an island known as Isla Aventura. The idea is that sometime after the Isla Nublar disaster, Hammond (who obviously learned nothing) built another theme park on an island in Orlando, Florida. Of course, most Floridians know that Orlando is midland, hours away from the ocean, but nevermind that.

The Jurassic Park area is meant to be a fully immersive experience, where guests can imagine they’re visiting the Isla Aventura theme park. Tourists can go to the Discovery Center where they can watch a dinosaur hatching, and learn how InGen brought dinosaurs back to life. The ride queue videos contain some fun Easter eggs from the Crichton novels, with characters like Michael Bowman popping up. Of course, if you go on the Jurassic Park River Adventure ride, the dinosaurs break out, proving that a theme park full of ferocious predators was always a bad idea. For more on Isla Aventura, check out this deep dive from Syfy.

In recent years the area has slowly been re-themed to match the Jurassic World movies. In 2021 the VelociCoaster launched to great fanfare, building on the mythology from the recent films. The ride queue video features new footage with Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard reprising their roles as Owen Grady and Claire Dearing. Their conversation seems to indicate that the roller coaster’s storyline takes place on Isla Nublar sometime before the events of Jurassic World.

Jurassic Park cartoons

In 2018 NBC aired a two-part special called Lego Jurassic World: The Secret Exhibit. The television mini-series was a CGI-animated adventure, with all the characters and dinosaurs appearing as Legos. The story takes place a few years before Jurassic World, and focuses on Owen Grady and Claire Dearing trying to ensure that a dinosaur transfer goes smoothly. One of the subplots involves a park worker named Danny Nedermeyer trying to sabotage operations on the island. It turns out that he is Dennis Nedry’s nephew, and he wants revenge for the death of his uncle.

The special took a more humorous tone, as most Lego films do. The two-part television movie was followed by a 13-episode series called Lego Jurassic World: Legend of Isla Nublar. Ian Malcolm and Alan Grant each visited the theme park in separate episodes, which leads to them interacting with Owen Grady and Claire Dearing for the first time in the franchise. Of course, none of this should be considered canon, so don’t be surprised if they don’t remember each other when they meet in Jurassic World Dominion.

If you’re a fan of the Jurassic Park franchise don’t sleep on Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous. The Netflix original animated series is not only the most consequential piece of expanded universe media for the franchise, but it’s also really fun. The series follows a teenage boy named Darius who gets the chance to be one of the first kids to sample Camp Cretaceous, a new experience at Jurassic World. Darius is joined by an influencer named Brooklynn, a farmgirl named Sammy, an athlete named Yasmina, a rich boy named Kenji, and a skittish introvert named Ben.

The first season takes place during the 2015 Jurassic World film, which means that the campers are in for a world of trouble when everything goes wrong. Separated from their counselors, the teens dodge predators and fight for their survival. When the island is evacuated, the kids are left behind, forcing them to survive on their own. From here, the series becomes a horror version of Gilligan’s Island, as the campers look for ways to escape the island while evading death at every corner.

The series also expands on Jurassic Park lore in a big way, with the introduction of a third island in season 4. After finally escaping from Isla Nublar, the teens find themselves marooned on a mysterious island owned by Mantah Corp, a nefarious conglomerate seeking to exploit the dinosaurs for profit. This island is separated into different manmade biomes ranging from desert to artic. The island introduces the teens to new predators to evade, including a Smilodon, the first non-Mesozoic prehistoric animal to appear in Jurassic Park media.

Not only is Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous explicitly canon, its consequences will be seen in the upcoming movie Jurassic World Dominion. While speaking with io9, showrunner Scott Kreamer revealed that Jurassic World Dominion director Colin Trevorrow was very involved in the production, consulting on designs and story concepts. During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Trevorrow teased that the upcoming movie will build on some of the concepts and revelations from the animated series.

Jurassic Universe

If you’re a Jurassic Park fan who is hungry for more content, you’ll be pleased to learn that there is an entire Jurassic universe to explore. Some of these stories might be subpar, but they served a very important purpose. As we waited for the release of the next Jurassic Park/World movie, these comics, novels, and video games gave us their own sequels, quenching our dinosaur hunger. Dinosaurs might be extinct, but the Jurassic Park saga will live on for years to come.

Want to learn more about Camp Cretaceous? Check out this recorded panel with the writers of Jurassic World - Camp Cretaceous or read this article on why Jurassic Park Camp Cretaceous has the finest dinosaur act.

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About the Author
Joshua Lapin-Bertone avatar

Joshua Lapin-Bertone

Contributing writer

Joshua is a pop culture writer specializing in comic book media. His work has appeared on the official DC Comics website, the DC Universe subscription service, HBO Max promotional videos, the Batman Universe fansite, and more. In between traveling around the country to cover various comic conventions, Joshua resides in Florida where he binges superhero television and reads obscure comics from yesteryear.