The DNA of Jurassic Park

We spent a day at Frontier Developments in Cambridge and played Jurassic World: Evolution!

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Velociraptor (Film Universe)
There are three distinct variations of Velociraptor which were cloned by InGen, not counting sexual dimorphism seen within each individual version. However, despite the surface level variations, each sub-species remains relatively similiar in terms of physical attributes. Each species is roughly 6 feet tall…

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New concept art from Jurassic World reveals a much scarier Indominus Rex

The Indominus Rex went through many revisions – and names – as it was developed for 2015’s Jurassic World. As many know, the Indominus Rex was initially called the Diabolus Rex, but before that was the Malusaurus.  Thanks to concept artist Seth Engstrom, we have a look at one of her drastically different early designs!

Seth Engstrom

What I find immediately fascinating is her sail running down the back – my immediate thinking is she was part Spinosaurus rather than Tyrannosaurus at this point. The colors are also quite remincent of the JP3 Spinosaurus maquette – perhaps with a little JP3 Ceratosaurus for good measure. The nasal crest is quite curious as well, whether or not it was inspired by hybrid DNA from another creature, or simply an artistic choice is unknown. Either way, this design is incredibly cool and looks quite a bit more like a monstrous hybrid than a real dinosaur when compared to the final Indominus.

Seth Engstrom

While this version is simply a different color scheme variation of the other posted above, it does seem to have a different, protruding chameleon like eye. Either way, the art is an incredibly cool glimpse into the design process that led to the final creature we know and love in the film. Further, here are two other early iterations that ditched the fin on the back, and crest on the nose:

Seth Engstrom
Seth Engstrom


Check out a few other versions of the Indominus from various artists in concept art form below!

Aaron McBride via ILM
Artist unknown – via JW Blu Ray
Seth Engstrom
Artist unknown – via JW YouTube
Art via Gadget-bot

As you can see, the design fluctuated quite a bit over time – who knows what other wild iterations may exist, like the sail back designs shared by Seth Engstrom! If only Universal had released an art book – perhaps one will be made for Jurassic World 2, and will include the development of Jurassic World – as long as it’s incredibly long, detailed and filled with great images I won’t complain!

Seth also shared an early look at a Velociraptor named “Red” – many fans have speculated that this was a Velociraptor due to many toys and merchandise featuring a red Velociraptor. It’s cool to have an early glimpse at her – I really love the natural colors, and how they pop – and the inspiration from the Jurassic Park 3 design is awesome to see!

Apparently feathered designs were attempted early on, but after much debated it was decided to go retro. I think that’s best for species that are already established in the franchise, but I would certainly love to see newcomers sporting plumage in the future!

While you’re here, take a look at some other new artwork from Seth Engstrom, providing a look at a alternate park and control room design!

Be sure to check out Seth’s website here!


18 thoughts on “New concept art from Jurassic World reveals a much scarier Indominus Rex

  1. I’m always fascinated, yet disappointed, when I see concept art for the film, because the finished product just does not compare to the earlier ideas at all. I still wish Trevorrow and Connolly hadn’t come in and rewritten the script to make everything “bigger”, because it feels like they did the exact opposite and scraped a lot of nice little story details that Silver and Jaffa wanted to include.

    1. What story details do you mean? Is there any early draft of the script by Jaffa and Silver available to read?

      IMHO Trevorrow and Connolly did really great job with the script. They’re fans of this franchise and they basically know how this franchise works. For example there were Chaos Effect hybrids toyline. They was just crazy and ridiculous. And now we have hybrids in the movie part of this franchise. When the first plot details from Jurassic World leaked many people thought about how ridiculously that hybrid thing plot sounds. Yet, after the movie release everything somehow worked and even fit to the legacy of Jurassic Park. Indominus weren’t look like strange and ridiculous monster. It was just theropod dinosaur with many different creature features. Even her final design looks imho much better than that Malusaurus half-monster half-animal early concept art by Seth Engstrom.

          1. Yes, actually there were ideas. Nothing of the script sadly. But storyboards exist where the Indominus was called the Majulasaurus and there were scenes like the Raptors being on a leash, a T-Rex attacking the Brachiosaurus locations, the Mosasaur attacking the Transit system and such.

            Some really cool and crazy ideas.

  2. Why? Why was it better for the franchise? (To not develop plumage variations of the dinosaurs.)

    It’s been scientific fact for actually over a decade that a lot of dinosaurs, most notably the T-Rex and raptors, actually had down, if not some full blown quills.

    The creative teams were lazy in my opinion. You had the opportunity, with Jurassic World, to undo a lot of the scientific inaccuracies that the original novels and movies used, because of lack of established evidence. We’ve known for years and years now, that a lot of theropods had plumage to some degree, which would’ve opened up a world of amazing (and rather terrifying) creative possibilities to make terrifying ancestors of modern day birds.
    With JWorld, the company had the premise of a huge time gap which could’ve easily explained the changes, say, with incomplete gene sequencing or that by mixing the dna, it negated some of the original genetic information and that with newer, more advanced technology, the company successfully created creatures closer to the original living dinosaurids that once existed.
    Sadly, we saw a franchise continue to perpetuate to the world, old and new alike, that these magnificent animals from the distant past were nothing more than overgrown reptiles. (Regardless, some were more reptilian than others.)

    In conclusion, it’s clear that I was one paleontology enthusiast that was rather disappointed in the lack of some degree of accuracy in the new depiction.

      1. Yes, the film specifically states that the dinosaurs of JP/JW were always a genetic mish mash of different animal DNA. The reason for why their creators didn’t make them accurate was obvious from the start, they simply didn’t care since they already had “a product” that was making money. That doesn’t cancel out possibilities though. It is still possible for the franchise to establish feathery species in the future installments, perhaps more intelligently than a mere retcon could have managed. Feathers or no feathers, there will always be complaining about the tiniest asinine details since, let’s be honest, it is IMPOSSIBLE to please everyone.

    1. They’re genetic hybrids from the beginning. They’re not supposed to look and behave 100% accurate with actual fossil based science. IMHO as long as we’re not able to see how actual animals looks and behaves as long they will be shown like this in future movies.

    2. I don’t think they were lazy, I think they were scared. Sure, now things like Saurian and Beasts of the Mesozoic prove that feathers can and do sell, but when JW was in early development it was (and probably still is) seen as a huge risk to make the dinosaurs fluffy. Not because they wouldn’t be scary, but because studio executives may fear that people will be less excited for a sequel that strays too far from the original. JW was built on a foundation of nostalgia, removing the iconic butt-naked dinosaurs would take a huge whole out of that foundation.

      I would personally love feathered dinosaurs, but I’m a bit of a cynic. We probably aren’t going to see any feathered dinosaurs in the series until it inevitably gets rebooted around 2040.

    3. Well, First of all Tyrannosaurus Rex has not been proven to have had plumage, many scientists theorize that T.rex had feathers because of phylogenetics, but there are too many variables to conclusively say Tyrannosaurus Rex had feathers

      Second of all, why make the established dinosaurs in the canon have plumage?
      I can understand stand a new Dino, like Yutyrannus or Microraptor but why change established canon?

      The last thing is that just because an animal is covered in scales doesn’t mean it’s not avian,
      The dinosaurs in the JP universe are dynamic animals not slow lumbering lizards. Also, technically birds and avi are reptiles. Since they are descendants of a specific theropod branch and dinosaurs in general, they would have to be archosaurs since dinosaurs are archosauria

  3. I love the fact that they designed a JP3 Sorna Male Raptor ‘Red’ for the film. It’s sad how they utterly judt disrgarded Johnston’s attempt at trying to update the Raptor designs with more accurate bird-like pupils, complex neck and head movements and those quills at the back of their heads. The JP3 Raptor designs were by far the most interesting and scary. They could’ve at least included one Raptor that had bird-like pupils which would’ve been correct since birds were descended from dinosaurs. I wish that they include those Raptors in the future movies but I shouldn’t have my hopes up.

    1. If you look at some of the commonly used merchandise/press images(as well as the Lego model) of Delta she actually has round, bird-like pupils very reminiscent of the JP3 Raptor eyes. Why they weren’t like that in the movie is unknown.

      1. Overall, it’s a shame they haven’t used JP3’s raptor design. They were beautiful and deadly intelligence was being emanated from them, because of their avian eyes. They were way more prettier and scarier than bulky raptors we got in JW.

        Regarding Delta’s eyes, I was surprised that she didn’t have her avian eyes, even though all viral infromations said that she has ones. I guess they couldn’t bother making another unique eyes and they just copy lizard ones to her :/

  4. I think it is good that the Malusaurus concept was rejected. It’s too close to dragon design (it actually reminds me a lot of Wyvern creatures in Witcher 3 game) and it seems too weird for an animal to me.

    From what I recall – when Jaffa and Silver duo were responsible for the script, the main animal antagonist was supposed to be a newly discovered theropod whose DNA was extracted and used to recreate the animal for Park purposes. When Colin Trevorrow stepped in, the hybrid Diabolus/Indominus was introduced. That would mean, the name for this “newly discovered” dinosaur in Jaffa/Silver script was in fact Malusaurus.

    Regarding Red the raptor – name itself is very close to Robert T. Bakkers novel – “Raptor Red”, so this and the will of making changes from the previous script could be the reasons for introducing Blue.

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