Universal Studios’ Jurassic Park Attractions May Be Doomed, New Report Suggests

in Movies & TV

Guests ride Jurassic Park River Adventure at Universal Studios

Credit: Universal Studios

Jurassic World 4 (2025) is set for release next year, but there’s another prehistoric project on the horizon — and we aren’t talking about movie theaters.

Though it’s a bold statement, the closest we’ll probably ever get to seeing a real dinosaur is Jurassic World: The Exhibition. Of course, there are many moments in the original Jurassic Park (1993) in which the dinosaurs look frighteningly realistic (particularly when practical effects are in use), but the exhibition, which is currently on tour, brings you up, close, and personal with those jaw-dropping animatronics unburdened by the filter of a screen. The dinosaurs on the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World theme park attractions at Universal Studios are impressive in their own right (particularly the Tyrannosaurus Rex on Jurassic Park: The Ride and Jurassic World: The Ride), but they’re a far cry in terms of quality.

But are animatronics and CGI really the closest we’ll ever get to seeing extinct animals brought back to life? Do we really need to go out of our way to visit one of the five Universal Studios resorts just to see a dinosaur? Jurassic Park inspired countless scientists to actually explore the possibility of cloning dinosaurs using fossilized DNA, but 31 years later and these great minds are no more confident about bringing them back than they were in 1993. Talks of cloning the extinct woolly mammoth, on the other hand, usually come with alarming confidence — it’s something many scientists have discussed candidly over the last 20 years.

Jurassic Park entrance gate at Universal's Islands of Adventure in Universal Orlando Resort
Credit: Discover Universal Blog

Related: ‘Jurassic Park’ Official Sequel: Everything We Know

Every few years, a repeating story that tells us we’re close to the “de-extinction” and rewilding of these prehistoric animals becoming a reality emerges. But now, we really are closer than ever, as a US company named Colossal Biosciences — which already sounds like something out of Jurassic Park — is “100% confident” it will bring back the massive Pleistocene beast, which went extinct 10,000 years ago as a result of major environmental changes, with human hunting potentially serving as a contributing factor.

No, this isn’t the premise for the upcoming sequel Jurassic World 4 (2025) — this is the real thing, and it could happen just three years after the seventh installment in the franchise hits theaters next July. “It is just a focus of time and funding,” Mr Ben Lamm, chief executive of Colossal Biosciences which is based out of Dallas, Texas, tells Sky News. “But we are 100% confident [we can bring back] the Tasmanian tiger, the dodo, and the mammoth.”

Yep — the dodo and the Tasmanian tiger are also on their radar (but no signs of Tyrannosaurus Rex just yet, so your best bet is either Jurassic World: The Exhibition, but if that’s not currently touring in your region, then Jurassic Park: The Ride, whose “third-act” Tyrannosaurus Rex comes very close to movie quality).

Henry Wu (BD Wong) in his office in 'Jurassic World' (2015)
Credit: Universal Studios

Related: Upcoming ‘Jurassic Park’ Sequel Confirms Several Dinosaurs

Unlike the Jurassic Park movies, the science of bringing back extinct animals doesn’t involve carefully extracting preserved DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) from prehistoric mosquitos encased in fossilized amber. “Amber is not a good holder of DNA,” Lamm explains. “But it’s a very entertaining movie and I think Jurassic Park made a lot of people interested in science. I saw it when I was younger and I was like: ‘Wow genetics is cool’. It did a lot to explain to the masses that genetic engineering is a thing and something that can be used in powerful ways, and I do think more people understand Colossal [Biosciences] because of that.”

So, how are they bringing back the woolly mammoth, the dodo, and the Tasmanian tiger? Well, they certainly won’t be using the DNA from African bullfrogs. “We’ve got all the technology we need,” Lamm says. “It’s almost reverse Jurassic Park. In the film, they were filling in the holes in the dinosaur DNA with frog DNA. We are leveraging artificial intelligence and other tools to identify the core genes that make a mammoth a mammoth and then engineering them into elephant genomes.”

John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) leaving the island in 'Jurassic Park' (1993)
Credit: Universal Studios

Related: ‘Jurassic World 4’ Everything We Know: Plot, Cast, Release Date, Trailer, and News

In the most simple terms, the genes of the extinct animal need to be replicated using the DNA of that animals’ closest living relative. In the case of the woolly mammoth, it’s an Asian elephant, which will be used as a surrogate to birth the prehistoric creature, a process that could take up to two years as elephants have a gestation period of up to 22 months.

But where will these prehistoric animals be placed once they’ve been successfully brought back to life? A remote theme park in Costa Rica (“Pleistocene Park,” perhaps)? Universal Studios’ theme park resorts? Will a herd of woolly mammoths be placed on the Islands of Adventure? Will guests see them with all the herbivore-dinosaurs in the lush watering hole on Jurassic World: The Ride? None of the above — Colossal Biosciences will skip the first four Jurassic Park movies entirely and bring the de-extinct animals into the wild. “Our ultimate goal is to put all the animals we make back into the wild,” Lamm revealed.

So, it sounds like the only thing that will be going extinct are the Jurassic Park/Jurassic World attractions at Universal Studios. With real prehistoric animals potentially populating our landscapes in just a few years’ time, people may no longer want to waste their time with theme park animatronics. This whole thing might sound like something out of Jurassic Park, but to echo Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum), we’re sure “life will find a way.”

In the much less terrifying world of fiction, there are three Jurassic Park/Jurassic World sequels currently in development. There’s an animated series titled Jurassic World: Chaos Theory (2024) heading for Netflix on May 24, and there’s a first-person, action-adventure video game titled Jurassic Park: Survival (TBA) in development.

Jurassic World 4 hits theaters on July 2, 2025.

There’s no release date for the woolly mammoths.

What do you think about this story? Are you onboard for bringing back extinct animals, or are you currently quoting Jeff Goldblum in the original Jurassic Park? Let Inside the Magic know your thoughts in the comments down below!

View Comments (3)