Though Steven Spielberg’s 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park certainly did not lack for merchandising opportunities, one property that never saw the light of day was an animated series based on the dinosaur theme park. This blows my mind for a number of reasons. One, I had no idea there was an animated series planned in the first place. Two, it’s even more surprising that the Universal Cartoon Studios project didn’t go forward, especially during the era of cartoon cash-grabs. And thirdly, the fact that veteran artist William Stout put together the concept art for the failed series.
With thanks to the From Director Steven Spielberg Tumblr, we’ve got a look at the original concept artwork for the Jurassic Park animated series from Stout. The images come from Stout’s own blog, where he also shares a bit of behind-the-scenes details on how this artwork came about:
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.
I love the idea that this was going to be a more mature take on Jurassic Park, but hate that it never came to be. And while I’d also love to share Stout’s trailer for the animated series with you, he seems to have the only copy and isn’t sharing it any time soon.
Take a look at some of Stout’s artwork from the Jurassic Park animated series below, and since it’s for sale, be sure to head over to his site if you’re inclined to make a purchase:
As a bonus, here are some concept art images of movie posters Stout whipped up for Spielberg’s Jurassic Park: