The John Hammond featured in Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster Jurassic Park is a completely different character than in the original novel, and these changes helped set up the whole Jurassic Park franchise. Jurassic Park was first published in 1990, becoming an instant best-seller and the most famous novel of author Michael Crichton. Spielberg would adapt the book for the big screen in 1993, with Crichton co-writing the script alongside David Koepp.

Jurassic Park, while following the overall structure of Crichton’s original novel, still makes some notable changes to it. The film is much less violent and has more of an adventurous feel compared to the considerably darker tone of the novel. The film also greatly modifies the man behind the fictional Jurassic Park on Isla Nublar, John Hammond, famously played by Richard Attenborough.

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The monumental success of Jurassic Park turned it into the world’s preeminent dinosaur-centric franchise, in both movies and every other entertainment medium. Though Hammond would only be seen briefly in the 1997 sequel The Lost World: Jurassic Park, he’s begun one of the most crucial pillars of every movie in the series. As it turns out, the significant changes made to him as a character in Jurassic Park are what facilitated that.

How Jurassic Park Changed The Book’s John Hammond

In the Jurassic Park novel, John Hammond is the epitome of a stereotypical greedy billionaire type of villain. Hammond treats the Jurassic Park staff with little affection and has no concern for the loss of human life when the dinosaurs escape captivity. His singular goal is to build Jurassic Park into the biggest, most lucrative corporation in the world. In the novel, Hammond’s greed and lack of foresight prove to be his undoing, with Hammond being killed by a pack of Procompsognathus (colloquially known as “Compies”). Though Hammond may have been an evil rich villain to rival Mr. Burns in Michael Crichton’s novel, the Jurassic Park movie completely re-vamped him.

In the film, Hammond is a giddy and enthusiastic showman who can’t wait to show his dinosaur creations to the world. Hammond also has none of the avarice the novel gave to him, with this trait mainly given to lawyer Donald Gennaro (Martin Ferrero). Hammond does retain some of his obstinance from the novel, believing that the park’s failure can be avoided with the right upgrades. By the end, Hammond comes to realize his mistake in building the park, replying to Alan Grant (Sam Neill) finally declining to endorse Jurassic Park with “So have I.” With the complete 180-degree change Jurassic Park gave to Hammond, this set up the entire franchise to travel its own path.

How Jurassic Park’s Hammond Changes Altered The Franchise

Hammond’s death in the Jurassic Park novel kept him from returning in Crichton’s 1995 follow-up The Lost World. However, Hammond’s return in 1997’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park sent the film series in a new direction. In the film, Hammond’s new mission to set up Isla Sorna a.k.a. Site B as a natural preserve led to The Lost World ending with the dinosaurs thriving. Hammond has gone, in Ian Macolm’s words, “from capitalist to naturalist in just four years“. With Hammond’s vision for Isla Sorna eventually coming to be, it’s another contrast to the novel’s ending of the dinosaurs facing extinction once more due to prion poisoning. This would allow the franchise to continue with Jurassic Park III in 2001.

When the Jurassic Park franchise got rolling again with 2015’s Jurassic World, it was positioned as a direct continuation of the original Jurassic Park. While Hammond has died by the time of the Jurassic World movies (Hammond’s death having inspired some conspiracy theories), he has more of a spiritual presence over the new series. Specifically, the Jurassic World series also builds on Hammond as having a greater capacity to understand that some lines shouldn’t be crossed. This is seen in the reveal of his former business partner Benjamin Lockwood (James Cromwell), who ventured into human cloning with his daughter Maisie (Isabella Sermon). Despite Hammond’s absence from the Jurassic World movies, his presence is still felt thematically, Hammond’s likeness even seen in a statue honoring his contributions to InGen.

Hammond’s Changes Helped Set Up The Jurassic World Movies

In Jurassic Park, Hammond acts as an avatar for man transgressing the boundaries of nature and playing God. After Hammond, there would almost certainly be others who would follow his research to make another attempt at building a park full of dinosaurs, a fact once shown by Lewis Dodgson. Though Hammond entrusted his research to InGen CEO Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan) Jurassic World shows how much excess would inevitably creep in with the creation of the Indominus Rex. Despite being designed as a bigger, better dinosaur to boost Jurassic World’s declining attendance, the creature’s rampage through the park shows the dangers of genetic tinkering.

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After Jurassic World is shut down, Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) try to follow Hammond’s previous idea of setting of a preserve for the dinosaurs to occupy. However, their efforts to transport them from the island in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom are co-opted by a dinosaur auction on the mainland. By the end of Fallen Kingdom, the dinosaurs are freed upon the world once more, just like the T-Rex’s transportation to the mainland and arrival in San Diego in The Lost World. The constant in every Jurassic Park and Jurassic World movie is that Hammond realized the error of his ways, but also recognized that others would be enticed by the same ambition he had. Hammond simply tries to act as a voice of reason steering his successors away from the abyss he once ventured into. Unfortunately, the wisdom he’s gained isn’t similarly learned by others, with Fallen Kingdom setting up a true Jurassic World ahead of Jurassic World: Dominion.

The re-invention of Hammond was possibly the single best change Jurassic Park made from Crichton’s novel. Putting aside how much the evil tycoon villain had already been done to death, Hammond’s transition also changed the Jurassic Park franchise into something that it otherwise couldn’t have become. In Jurassic Park, John Hammond learned firsthand the dangers of resurrecting extinct lifeforms into the modern world. In Hammond’s later dino conservationist efforts, he set the example for his successors to learn from, but all would fail to take heed. The changes made to John Hammond made him into a completely different character, but it ended up making the Jurassic Park and later Jurassic World franchise into the cultural touchstones they are today.

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