Behind the scenes


Becoming the Antagonist of Jurassic Park III

As the story was being created for Jurassic Park III, the filmmakers wanted another dinosaur to replace Tyrannosaurus from the previous two films[1] and they went through many candidates in their search for a replacement.[2] Originally the smaller Baryonyx was supposed to be the main dinosaur antagonist of Jurassic Park III, but Paleontologist Jack Horner suggested Spinosaurus to the filmmakers as a candidate to replace T. rex[3] and according to Joey Orosco a Spinosaur skull was discovered during the pre-production of the film, which inspired the filmmakers to use the larger Spinosaurus that was a relative of Baryonyx. Orosco described the finding as being similar to how the scientific description of Utahraptor was released during the making of the first film Jurassic Park.[4] Before it was scrapped, a storyboard[5] and a version of the logo for the film was made featuring Baryonyx. Though Orosco might have been referring to skull material scientifically described in 1998 that was assigned to the dubious species Spinosaurus maroccanus and the front of the upper jaw of the Spino animatronic has the trait seen in the fossils,[6] the film's depiction of Spinosaurus has a head that bears traits of the related Suchomimus that was described the same year than the actual fossils of Spinosaurus.[7]


Approxmentally 30 people worked on developing the Spinosaurus as a whole.[8]

Concept art of the Spinosaurus was created by Mark "Crash" McCreery who had previous done conceptual artwork for the previous two films. What is said to be the final concept art created my McCreery had several differences from the design seen on screen. These include the front snout resembling Suchomimus rather than the actual Spinosaurus as well as a smaller and seeming singular crest and seems to have a taller sail.[9] Though concept art is known to exist of a Spino with the upper front of the snout that looked like its real life counterpart.[10] Years after the film was released, McCreery considered the crocodile-headed dinosaur to be one of his favorite dinosaurs to design for the first three films due to its unique appearance and it being larger than Tyrannosaurus as well as how it was a challenge to make the animal look real rather than like a monster.[2]

In designing the coloration of the Spinosaurus, Stan Winston Studio aimed for a "venomous flavor" that was seen in animals like the coral snake.[11] Several designs of various color schemes of Spinosaurus were created by Ricardo F. Delgado,[12][13][14] but the final color scheme of the dinosaur came from sketches by Mark "Crash" McCreery that Joey Orosco drew over using colored pencils. Orosco was responsible for devising the red in its color scheme that the Spinosaurus bears in the third film with the aim of giving it a bold look that was shared with the other dinosaurs designed for the film. With a design chosen, Orosco, John Rosengrant, Trevor Hensley, Rob Ramsdell, and Paul Mejias created a 1/5 scale maquette that was later scanned in a computer[4] where it was then used to create the mold of the Spinosaur animatronic via rapid prototyping.[15] Orosco also supervised the construction of the life-sized sculpture.[16] For a reference for video games, advertising, and other merchandise for Jurassic Park III, a 1/16 scale maquette was also sculpted by Joey Orosco and Scott Stoddard with Mark Maitre painting the miniature.[4][17]




The animatronic of the Spinosaurus was made to be faster, more durable, and more water resistant than the previous Tyrannosaurus animatronics that had been built for the previous films. This animatronic was designed like that of the adult Tyrannosaurus animatronics for the previous film The Lost World: Jurassic Park in that the Spinosaurus was not full-sized—the length of the Spinosaur being only to the base of its tail—and was mounted on a motorized cart that ran on tracks. The animatronic Spinosaur built for Jurassic Park III was very powerful, running on 1,000 horsepower, higher than the 200 horsepower that the T. rex animatronics possessed. [4]

The animatronic utilized state of the art "hot-rod" hydruallics[4] with some of the hydraulic hoses of the animatronic even being NASA approved.[3] The hydraulic hoses were estimated to be 2,200 ft (671 meters) long and it contained 42 hydraulic cylinders. Overall, nearly all of its mechanical systems were hyrduallic.[8] It also had more sturdiness than the Tyrannosaur animatronics due to the Spinosaur being constructed solid-state.[4] To make the animatronic waterproof, a silicone-based product was used in waterproofing camping supplies was painted onto its foam rubber skin.[18] In addition, the skin of the head[2] was made of hard rubber, which was more durable and water-resistant than foam, and its eyes were controlled hydraulically as opposed to electronically.[18] Because the Spinosaurus would be taking a lot of abuse during filming that could cause its teeth to potentially break, Stan Winston Studio made additional copies of the estimated seventy-six teeth in its palate.[4] The robotic Spino was controlled by telemetry devices and eight puppeteers controlled its movements, each controlling portions of its body. These portions were the basic head/body, tongue slide levers, eye joystick control, the front arms, the cart/body, breathing potentiometer, the tail, and the body raise slider.[8] On a minor note, the design of the eyes of the Spinosaurus of Jurassic Park III was based on that of a crocodile.[19]

In conclusion, the Spinosaurus animatronic created for Jurassic Park III was the largest, heaviest, and fastest animatronic that Stan Winston Studio had ever made.[4] It was so large that it was unable to get through the door of the studio. The only way that it could be transported was by removing a wall of their own building[3] to allow the door to open all the way up to the ceiling so that it could pass through.[19] The animatronic was then transported to Universal Studios Stage 12 via a flatbed truck.[3] It was transported at night before 7 AM in the morning because the City of Los Angeles said that it could potentially block traffic and on a certain path due to the robotic dinosaur's size making it unable to go under bridges.[19]

In addition to the use of CGI and Spino's animatronic, a full-scale physical foot prop whose construction was oversaw by John Rosengrant was also used during the plane attack scene. It was suspended by two poles that were operated by two Stan Winston Studio puppeteers and was used to step on a prop of the plane's fuselage designed by Michael Lantieri that was full-scale as well.[3] Also, 250 gallons of oatmeal was used to portray the Spino dung.[20]

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In Ricardo F. Delgado's concept art for the plane attack scene after the plane's body falls to the ground, the pilot (or co-pilot) in the body of the destroyed plane makes a dash toward the plane's nose that is nearby to evade the advancing Spinosaurus, but the dinosaur notices the movement of the pilot and approaches the removed nose. In retaliation, the unlucky human desperately hides inside the plane part he/she has reached as the Spino begins rolling the plane's nose before using its head to push the plane part onto its tip. The sail-backed dinosaur then sticks its head inside the front of the plane where it finds the pilot and flings him/her up in the air where the human falls into the Spino's mouth.[21] Furthermore, instead of the Spino losing the protagonists via getting its head stuck in between two trees, Delgado's concept art shows that the Spino was to be trapped in a group of fallen trees apparently caused by a mudslide.[22][23] During the filming of this scene, the Spino animatronic malfunctioned. When it was sticking its head inside the body of the plane, it instead began slamming into the plane "like a jackhammer" as director Joe Johnston described the malfuction.[24]

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Director Joe Johnston created the famous Spino vs T. rex as an homage to Ray Harryhausen's go motion dinosaurs and wanted to recreate a modern version of those fights.[25] One piece of concept art of the fight showed several Compsognathus scurrying beneath the feet of the two giant carnivores, though these Compies never appeared during fight in the released film. The fight with the T. rex was one of the last scenes to be filmed for JPIII.[4] The film crew brought out both the animatronics of Spinosaurus and a refurbished Tyrannosaur Buck for the shooting of the battle.[26] Due to how powerful the mechanical Spinosaur was, the Spino destroyed the Tyrannosaurus with one final blow that broke its neck which in turn caused its head to collapse, releasing hydraulic fluid that John Rosengrant described as being "almost like blood spewing".[4] Over 20 seconds of footage of the fight, particularly of the animatronics, was cut from the film.[27] Despite this, a shot of the animatronic fight where the Spinosaur slaps the Tyrannosaur was still present in the theatrical trailer.[28]

The scene where the Spinosaurus attacks the boat of Dr. Grant and the Kirbys is taken from the Jurassic Park novel chapter "The Park" where the Tyrannosaurus known as Rexy attacks the raft of Dr. Grant and the Murphy children.[29] This scene was originally planned for the first film before it was ultimately cut before production when David Koepp was writing the final version of the script.[30] There were two scenes that were cut from this sequence. The first removed scene is a CGI shot of the Spinosaurus emerging out of the water during its attack on the group's boat,[31] and the other is an alternate conclusion to the skirmish in which Dr. Grant uses the Velociraptor resonation chamber replica to summon the film's pack of Velociraptors which attack the Spinosaur and kill it, unlike in the final where Grant uses a flare gun found on the barge to scare away the Spinosaur.[32]

Also, one of the alternate endings included a battle between Spinosaurus and the Marines.[citation needed] This alternate ending seems to have been reworked into the ending of the Jurassic Park III levels of LEGO Jurassic World where the Spinosaurus arrives at the beach with the Velociraptor pack of those levels just after the arrival of rescue team, though the soldiers do not fight the Spinosaur.


The roars of the Spinosaurus in Jurassic Park III were created by mixing together the low guttural sounds of a lion and an alligator, a bear cub crying, and a lengthened cry of a large bird that gave the roars a raspy quality.[33]


The ringing of the phone in the Spinosaurus stomach is likely an homage to the crocodile from Peter Pan, who had swallowed an alarm clock that went off every time it was near, thus alerting others to its presence.

Several designs of the logo for Jurassic Park III did not feature Spinosaurus, instead featuring Velociraptor (represented as Deinonychus), Pteranodon, a Lourinhanosaurus embryo, a human embryo (usually depicted as a skeleton), and finally series veteran Tyrannosaurus rex.


The reason for the Spinosaurus' absence from the list of the dinosaurs created by InGen and its overall existence on Isla Sorna is left unanswered in Jurassic Park III. One theory is that InGen scientists mistook the juveniles that lacked their famous sail seen in the adults for its relatives Baryonyx (which was planned to have its own paddock in Jurassic Park) and/or Suchomimus. This could hold true as the Suchomimus type specimen is a sub-adult and the holotype of Baryonyx is commonly believed to not have been fully grown. Furthermore and as stated above, the film's Spino's snout is similar in appearance to Suchomimus. Interestingly, Ricardo F. Delgado created concept art of an incubator for Spinosaurus that is never seen in the film.[34] This could indicate that the mysterious existence of the film's Spinosaurus was to be explored further in an older draft of the script.

Spinosaurus is the only dinosaur in the films that is able to survive or at least win in a fight with a Tyrannosaurus rex. Though the dinosaur hybrid Indominus rex could be deadly enough to kill a Tyrannosaurus as well because in Jurassic World the Indominus that was in the film was able to overpower the Tyrannosaurus rex Rexy before the Velociraptor Blue intervened.

Spinosaurus is a controversial dinosaur in the Jurassic Park franchise because of its portrayal in Jurassic Park III. Particularly when it was shown to be more powerful than the fan favorite Tyrannosaurus rex. A discussion on who would be the victor of a fight between Tyrannosaurus and Spinosaurus can be read here. The destruction of the mounted Spinosaurus in Main Street from the Tyrannosaurus Rexy in the fight at the end of Jurassic World is a reference to his infamous fight. When a fan on Twitter sent Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow a link to a Facebook fan group petitioning for a rematch between the two theropods, Colin replied "noted, my friend."[35]


If one listens closely and are good at hearing, the Spinosaurus uses some of the sounds of the Suchomimus from Warpath: Jurassic Park, and the Carnotaurus from Disney's Dinosaur, this is highly proven since sound designer, Christopher Boyes previously worked on Disney film a year ago.[citation needed]


In the 2005 Chinese edition of the Jurassic Park novel, Spinosaurus is featured on the cover despite never appearing in any form or mention in the book.

In a 2013 commerical for the Jurassic Park: River Adventure, the roar of the Tyrannosaurus featured in the ride is of Spinosaurus.

The design of Papo's Spinosaurus figure seems have been based on its Jurassic Park III depiction, most notably do it being double-crested.

One fan theory is that the Spinosaurus skeleton mounted in Main Street actually belongs to the Spinosaurus from Jurassic Park III. However, it's unlikely because the Spinosaurus fossil has the nose comb that real Spinosaurus had whereas the one from Jurassic Park III did not have the same comb and the teeth of the mount is straighter than the one seen on Isla Sorna.

The placard for the Jurassic World Spinosaurus mount has the image of its depiction from the Jurassic Park Institute's Dinopedia.

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