Back when Chris Pratt was still going through puberty, Jurassic Park was quickly becoming a critically acclaimed, record-breaking film. Universal Studios was eager to capitalize on the success of the movie, stuffing store shelves with quintessentially ‘90s merchandise including video games, figurines, coloring books, sleeping bags, trading cards, and pogs. (In the words of Donald Gennaro: “We’re gonna make a fortune with this place.”) They also had plans to make a prime-time animated TV series, though that clearly never saw the light of day—until now. Illustrator William Stout did early concept art for the abandoned production that he recently unveiled on his blog.
In one post, Stout explains why the project failed to take off:
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 indeed. It would have been interesting to see a few episodes, or at least the trailer for the series, but maybe it’s better this way. Don’t forget Free Willy, The Mask, and Jumanji all became animated shows at one time too. Nevertheless, the artwork by Stout is still pretty fantastic.