What Could Have Been in Dinosaur.
General abandoned concepts:
- The original goal was a film without dialogue but with a narrator; then the writers decided it would have been too docu-like without talking animals.
- The animators struggled to find a way for the characters to conceivably talk, and it was considered for the dinosaurs to speak without moving their mouths (like the 2013 Walking with Dinosaurs would eventually do to much derision). However, Disney CEO Michael Eisner nixed this, suggesting that the animals speaking without moving their lips represented a failure on the part of the animators, and eventually the animals' speaking was decided upon.
- Paul Verhoeven and Phil Tippet were originally considered for the director's chair, with the film being initially planned as a go-motion heavy project. Then Jurassic Park came out...
- The villain was actually originally going to be a Tyrannosaurus rex instead of a Carnotaurus. This is still evident in the final film, due to the Carnotaurs being essentially the same size as adult Tyrannosaurus, thus making them two to three times bigger than real life Carnotaurus.
- The original "star" species of the movie was originally Styracosaurus before being changed to a Iguanodon, and the main protagonist was named "Woot".
- This draft would've also featured Suri in some capacity, with one extreme idea having a live-action actor portray her in a suit. They considered using an actual lemur at one point but the idea was scrapped.
- Originally the film would've ended with the KT extinction, killing most of the cast. Except for the lemurs and some primates including Suri.
- Several species floated around for inclusion in the movie included Triceratops, Utahraptor, Craterosaurus, and Amargasaurus.
- The only characters to survive the vast majority of the film's production (bar the Styracosaurus-focused draft) are Aladar, Zini, Kron, Neera, and the Carnotaurs.
- Feathered theropods were originally going to be included. Particularly interesting cases included alvarezsaurids displacing the Oviraptor as the token egg thieves, while the Oviraptors would instead be scavengers who joined the herd and acted as a deconstruction of the Scavengers Are Scum trope—the Oviraptors would've been "undertakers" in the herd, eating the dead and dying herd members who would slow the herd down. Their job is described as Necessarily Evil, but they're detested by the rest of the herd. At least one of them was intended to have a posh, aristocratic demeanor, meant to contrast with its habits as a bottom feeding scavenger and possibly suggesting that it was going to play a similar role to Baylene.
- Not just feathered theropods; the Stygimoloch were going to have feathers too. And keep in mind, all of this was being planned in the mid-90s, when the idea of any feathered dinosaurs, period was largely unheard-of in popular culture.
The Noah Draft:
- An early draft of the film, perhaps the earliest functional draft given it's in one of the earliest completed proof-of-concept videos on the Collector's Edition DVD, would've had a more religious take on things, as Aladar was named "Noah" here, and had visions of the future, making him a prophet but also an outcast.
- Noah traveled with Adam (later Zini) and his two grandparents.
- Kron was named Cain for a time, and sought to rule all herds of dinosaurs.
- Neera was originally conceived here as "Chukka".
- The world was much more lush, and finding food and water did not seem to be a big problem as it is in the final film.
- Some scenes included:
- Kron (the name having been changed from Cain by this point in development) leading the herd across a river filled with predators that wiped out many unfortunate members of the herd.
- Aladar's grandfather became too weak from the journey, and could not get himself up from a marsh. His mate sadly bids him farewell, and does not resist when the Carnotaur arrives, as they will slow it down. Noah and Adam would realize what has happened from the predator's roar. Click here for the scene.
- This scene which most likely takes place at the start of the movie has Noah deciding to use his visions to find the nesting grounds, along with some pep talk from Adam. Adam volunteers to help Noah, saying that he won't be doing it alone.
- This scene, which has a more religious tone, has Noah rescuing dinosaurs from a fire, but Cain still doesn't believe in his visions and slanders him as crazy. Cain storms over while Noah talks with Adam and tells Noah that no "young magicians with delusions of grandeur" will tell him how to save his herd. Adam briefly calls Cain out and taunts him about being scared of how Noah will change his future (at the cost of nearly getting chomped). Thus, Cain casts Noah out of the herd and leaves him and Adam alone.
- The film would've originally opened in space, having Plio's intro speech over a scene of several small meteors zooming through space, followed by the asteroid that would later impact Earth after the courtship scene, showing the approaching extinction event years before impact. It was cut due to ending up being too similar to the opening of Armageddon (1998).
- A Parasaurolophus character would've been among the elderly misfits as evidenced by this brief appearance during this storyboard-to-film comparison at 0:40.
- In the sequence with the herd after the cave attack, Neera would've been attacked by raptors while trying to save the orphans, and was saved by Kron, who warned her to never again forget his ways.
- A light-hearted scene would've taken place right before the group finds Bruton, and would've had Eema stubbornly give up the journey and her position as the group's guide, only getting back up when Yar was offered her job. The scene was nixed for pacing issues and the Plot Hole that resulted from Eema supposedly losing track of the herd when they could follow their many, many footprints.
- An alternate version of Aladar's family joining the herd featured the family being met with hostility by other members of the herd when they try to find a resting place, and looking on in disgust watching the herd fight each other for one. They then eavesdrop on Eema and Baylene's conversation as in the final cut, but the dialogue is slightly different.
- An alternate scene showing the Carnotaurs scaring off the raptors, who are still eating the Struthiomimus they've picked clean in the final cut.
- The ambush on Bruton originally featured a third Carnotaur on the herd's trail, and an additional scout who would've been killed.
- An abandoned backstory for the Nesting Grounds, in which Eema tells the story of Old Gatoma, a long dead Iguanodon who was the first to find the valley and led the herd to it every year.
- The ending of the film would've been Aladar and Neera teaching the young orphans about Old Gatoma and his legend, and the lemurs looking on in happiness as the chorus of bellows of the herd begins.
- Concept art on the Collector's Edition suggests Url could've been much larger, about the size of Eema even! And there would've been more sauropods in the herd.
- The Brachiosaurus character was originally a young male named Sorbus, voiced by Chris Farley, who would've been afraid of heights despite his gigantic nature. However, when Farley suddenly died in 1997, the character was rewritten as Baylene, with a working name of "Chastain".
- A backstory for Kron and Bruton as children was dropped.
- The film would’ve ended with a "Pan Up to the Sky" Ending where after the final shots of the main cast, the camera would follow a Pteranodon as it flew up into the sun’s light. This was intended to provide Book Ends with how Aladar’s journey started with a Pteranodon’s flight.
Changes made late in production:
- The scenes involving Bruton and a scout being ambushed, Aladar and Neera's talk, and the misfits being left behind originally took place at night, partly explaining why the herd is fast asleep at dusk (and the fact they're, y'know, tired after their long march). The change in time was late enough that a screenshot of it can be seen as title screen of the PSX level "Confronting Kron".
- A Mosasaurus was going to appear, and a finished model of it can be found on the Collector's Edition DVD, suggesting it was cut rather late in development. The head of the model also appears in The Essential Guide on the page covering the journey of the Pteranodon to Lemur Island, with the caption indicating that it would've attacked the pterosaur on her way to the island.
- A finished model of a prehistoric tortoise appears in the Collector’s Edition DVD as well, but so far no clues as to when it would’ve appeared in the film have been uncovered.
- We would've seen the Stygimiloch (the Pachycephalosaur that we see the Carnotaur eat while Aladar hides from it) collapse from exhaustion.
- A piece composed by James Newton Howard, known as "Enough for Everyone" takes its name from Aladar's line when he tries to stop the herd from stampeding to the water he's found, but is not heard anywhere in the film. The second part of the track accompanies Bruton and the scout being ambushed, however.
- Another cut piece, "Pushing And Shoving", is also not heard in the film, but the track's title implies it would've accompanied the scene where the film properly introduces Baylene, Eema, and Url before they meet Aladar's family.