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"Life, uh, finds a way."
—Ian Malcolm's most famous line.(src)

Dr. Ian Malcolm is a mathematician who specializes in a branch of mathematics known as "Chaos Theory". Malcolm is one of the main characters of the Jurassic Park franchise as well as the main protagonist in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Malcolm appears in both novels by Michael Crichton. Malcolm serves as the mouthpiece of Crichton, who called Malcolm the "ironic commentator" on the action.[1] In the movies, Malcolm is portrayed by Jeff Goldblum. Malcolm also appeared in most other Jurassic media like comics, video games and toy lines.


Ian Malcolm was born on June 29th, 1955.[2] There is some information given in the novels and films about Ian's early life. In The Lost World, he is described as forty years old.[3] Elsewhere, he claimed to have been married multiple times and has 5 children, Kelly and 4 others that are never shown. In the first novel, Bob Morris mentions Malcolm is from Texas.


Jurassic Park[]

Ian Malcolm was invited to the park by Donald Gennaro as an insurance consultant as Donald apparently felt that Ian, as a fiduciary, would be able to notice any dangerous shortcomings the park had. On the helicopter ride to Isla Nublar, he met John's consults, Paleobotanist Ellie Sattler and Paleontologist Alan Grant, and travelled with them, along with John and Donald, into the park where he was stunned by the astonishing sight of a living Brachiosaurus. He then travelled to the Visitor Center and learned how the dinosaurs of the park were created and watched an infant Velociraptor hatch. While his colleagues remained in awe of the event, Ian expressed scepticism of the Park's ability to control the animals they were breeding, and explained to his colleagues that "life finds a way".

Jurassic park tyrannosaurus

Chased by Rexy

Ian later went on the tour through the Park only to express disapproval when none of the dinosaurs showed themselves. Bored, he took to flirting with Ellie, much to Alan's dismay, while attempting to explain chaos theory. After watching a sick Triceratops, he returns to the tour with Alan Grant, only to have it break down in front of the Tyrannosaur paddock. Rexy escapes and attacks the tour vehicle, which Donald had earlier abandoned with the children inside. In an attempt to lure Rexy away, Ian and Alan use flares to cause a distraction, but Ian deliberately keeps moving after throwing his flare in order to lure her further away so that Alan can rescue the children. Ian is chased to the bathroom, where he is tossed several feet and injures his leg before becoming unconscious.

Despite this, Ian was fortunate enough to be hidden from Rexy's sight after being covered in leaves following the bathroom's destruction, though the same cannot be said for Donald, who ends up being devoured by the Rex. Alan escapes with the kids and Ellie and Robert Muldoon arrive to help Ian, only to be set upon by Rexy. Having put Ian aboard the jeep, they escape after a short but intense chase. Eventually, Alan finds out that the dinosaurs are capable of breeding themselves in a single-sex environment thanks to the frog DNA, making him realize that Ian was correct about life finding a way.

Ian is brought to the control room where he helps formulate a plan to restart the power. Ian is brought to a bunker where he and John talk Ellie through the process of turning the power back on. After the systems come back online, Ian and John drive back to the visitor's center to pick up Alan, Ellie, and the kids, all of whom then drive to the helicopter, leaving the island.

After the incident, he was taken to a hospital in Costa Rica to treat his injuries. His girlfriend Sarah Harding went out looking for him.[4]

The Lost World: Jurassic Park[]


Malcolm in The Lost World

"The Lost World" takes place four years after "Jurassic Park". After the events of the Isla Nublar Incident, InGen and Ludlow made Malcolm a generous compensatory offer for his injuries. However, Malcolm attempted to go public about his experience on Isla Nublar, only to be discredited by Hammond's nephew, Peter Ludlow, who made Malcolm appear insane to the public. This was further complicated by Malcolm being in open violation of the non-disclosure agreement he signed prior to the Incident, further damaging his tarnished career. Malcolm also had his University tenure revoked for telling "wild stories" to the press. Despite these events, Malcolm managed to develop a relationship with an accomplished biologist named Sarah Harding. By the start of the second film, Malcolm is a shell of his former self, openly mocked in public and no longer expressing his beliefs in Chaos Theory.

Malcolm is eventually summoned to John Hammond's mansion, where he meets Hammond, who has resigned as founder and CEO of InGen. Hammond reveals to Malcolm the nature of Site B; a separate island where the dinosaurs were bred before being moved to the main island. Hammond then unveils his plan to send a team of researchers to the island to photograph the animals in their natural habitat in order to create public sympathy and discourage corporations, such as Ludlow's InGen, from profiting off the island. Malcolm, who is invited along, initially declines but changes his mind when Hammond reveals that Sarah was also hired and has already left for the island. Malcolm then meets up with Hammond's other men, Eddie Carr and Nick Van Owen, and makes preparations to leave for the island.

Upon arrival, the team immediately begins searching for Sarah using a satellite phone, and eventually find her following a herd of Stegosaurus. After a brief encounter with the creatures, they return to the trailer, where Malcolm finds out that his daughter, Kelly, has stowed away on board. He attempts to convince Sarah to leave with him but is interrupted when a fleet of helicopters bearing the InGen logo and carrying various automobiles arrive over the island. The team follows the new arrivals and watch as they chase down various dinosaurs in jeeps and capture several of the creatures. That night, they watch as Ludlow, who is in charge of the group, gives a presentation with a live stream to his shareholders and announces his plan to recreate Jurassic Park in San Diego. He is interrupted however when Sarah and Nick set the captive dinosaurs loose from their cages, destroying the camp. In an attempt to avoid the chaos, Malcolm takes Kelly back to the trailer, and later, to the high-hide when Sarah and Nick arrive at the trailer with an injured infant Tyrannosaurus. However, after hearing the unmistakable bellows of the infant's parents, Malcolm leaves the safety of the High Hide and runs on foot back to the trailer just as the adult Tyrannosaurs arrive, and helps return the healed infant to its parents. However, the Tyrannosaurs remain unimpressed and, seeing the trailer and its inhabitants as a threat, promptly push the trailer until it hangs precariously over a cliff. After barely saving Sarah from falling, Malcolm and Nick are rescued by Eddie Carr who, in the process, is brutally devoured by the Tyrannosaurs.

The three are then helped back onto the cliff by Roland Tembo, who is in charge of Ludlow's team. With all of InGen's equipment and automobiles destroyed, Roland decides that an uneasy alliance is the best method for escaping the island. Reunited with Kelly, Malcolm and his team agree to trek to the abandoned facility at the island's center. Along the way, Malcolm attempts to coerce Ludlow into realizing the error of his ways, but is unsuccessful. That night, the team is set upon by the Tyrannosaurs, who followed the smell of the infant T.rex's blood on Sarah's jacket. The team is separated in the chaos, with most of them being chased in a massive stampede to a waterfall. Malcolm, Sarah, Kelly, and Nick end up separated from the InGen group, who are ambushed by Velociraptors in the long grass surrounding the facility. The four make it through the grass unharmed, but Ian is briefly hurt and Nick goes on ahead to call for help. Eventually Ian, Sarah, and Kelly follow, only to be attacked by three raptors. They eventually escape the compound where they board a helicopter that Nick called in, departing the island for good.


Unfortunately, however, their troubles are not yet over as they eventually find that Tembo has tranquilized the buck Tyrannosaur, and the team are bringing it back to the mainland. Ian and Sarah try to visit the dock where Ludlow is holding a press conference when the freighter (S.S. Venture) holding the animal suddenly crashes through the dock at extreme speed, releasing the Rex. As the animal goes on a rampage through San Diego, Malcolm and Harding drive to the site of the new Park and retrieve the infant. They then find the father and lure him away using the infant. After a brief chase, they bring the animals back to the freighter and drop the infant in the cargo bay, where it is followed by an embittered Ludlow, as well as the adult Rex, who mutilates Ludlow with the infant finishing the process of executing him. Malcolm then re-boards the ship and closes the cargo bay, locking the beast inside.

In the aftermath, Malcolm is last seen resting on his couch with Sarah, while Kelly watches a news program showing the freighter returning to the island and Hammond convincing the governments to keep Isla Sorna as a private natural reserve for the dinosaurs. With the truth about the dinosaur incidents finally exposed to the public, Malcolm's reputation is restored and he is praised as a hero.

Jurassic Park III[]

Dr. Malcolm is mentioned by Alan Grant and Eric Kirby in a conversation. Eric admits to Grant that he disliked the book that Malcolm had published, calling him "preachy" and "high on himself". Eric also states that Malcolm talked too much about "chaos". Alan smiled and remarked "that's two things we have in common", though his tone indicates he is not being entirely serious.[5] Previously, while giving his lecture on raptors during a press conference, Dr. Grant is aware of the San Diego incident that Malcolm himself witnessed and denounced speculations that he was also a witness to.

Jurassic World[]

After Zara had collected Claire Dearing's nephews, she briefly read one of Malcolm's books, during their trip to the hotel. Another one of his books is seen inside the Control Room.

Ian Malcomn's Book

Ian's book in Jurassic World.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom[]

"How many times do you have to see the evidence?! How many times must the point be made? We're causing our own extinction. Too many red lines have been crossed and our home, in many fundamental ways, has been polluted by...avarice...And political megalomania. Genetic power has now been unleashed and, of course, that's going to be catastrophic. This change was inevitable from the moment we brought the first dinosaur back from extinction. We convince ourselves that change is something that happens outside of the natural order of things like a car crash. Or that it's beyond our control like a fatal illness. We don't concieve of sudden, rapid, radical, irrational change change as woven into the very fabric of existence. Yet I can assure you, it most assuredly is. And it's happening now. Humans and dinosaurs are now going to be forced to coexist. These creatures were here before us and if we're not careful they're going to be here after. We're going to have to adjust to new threats we can't even imagine. We've entered a new era. Welcome, to Jurassic World."
—Ian Malcolm in the film's closing momenta and saying its final line.(src)

Ian Malcolm appears for the first time in 21 years, testifying before a congressional committee. He talks to the committee about whether Nublar's dinosaurs should be rescued or not from Mt. Sibo's eruption. Malcolm then confessed that the dinosaurs should not be rescued because doing so would lead more untold chaos to the mainland, stating that the humans have this great technology in cloning extinct animals in their hands and that they are unable to control it.

Despite this, the dinosaurs ended up in the mainland, and untold incidents start to occur due to the dinosaurs' presence. Malcolm reappears at the committee in the end, stating a new era will arrive and the dinosaurs will have to coexist with the humans (and other animals), otherwise they will all go extinct. Malcolm states that the dinosaurs are inbuilt survivalists who survive off of nature, but humans expect things to stay the same and are resistant to change whereas animals and dinosaurs can adapt which means they must adapt, or nature will continue as the humans die off. As a bit of intentional irony, harkening back to both John Hammond's famous greeting and the name of the former park, he then delivered the film's final line. "Welcome to Jurassic World."

Jurassic World: Dominion[]

Malcolm book How The World Will End

Ian's 2022 book, How The World Will End

Ian now works as an in-house philosopher for Biosyn and his theories have become incredibly popular given the current state of the world with the dinosaurs. He has published a book titled How The World Will End. Ian invites his old friend Ellie Sattler to the Biosyn Sanctuary where he proves himself to be knowledgeable about the threat of the giant locusts and Biosyn's role in it. Ian helps Ellie and Alan Grant sneak into the labs to get a DNA sample. Ramsay Cole later reveals to the two that he had told Ian the truth about Biosyn's plot and enlisted his help to stop it.

After Alan and Ellie's actions are discovered, Lewis Dodgson quickly deduces Ian's role in things and fires him for it. Ian publicly berates Dodgson in front of his employees, revealing to them Dodgson's greed and the lengths that he will go to in order to fulfill his plans, later causing them to turn on Dodgson. Ramsay helps Ian escape and rescue Alan, Ellie and Maisie Lockwood from a group of Dimetrodon in the Sanctuary's Amber Mines. Linking up with Owen Grady's group as the sanctuary catches on fire, they come under attack by a Giganotosaurus and Ian successfully distracts it away from the others using a flaming locust.

Returning to the control room, Ian and Ramsay work together to guide Ellie and Claire Dearing through shutting down the primary systems in order to reactivate the ADS so that they can escape in a Biosyn helicopter, although Ian has trouble conveying the correct directions to the two women. Reuniting with the rest of the group, Ian is less than pleased to see Dr. Henry Wu again, angrily complaining that "it's always him." During the escape, when Rexy is nearly killed by the Giganotosaurus, Ian joins his friends in distracting the Giganotosaurus in an effort to save Rexy's life. The distraction gives a Therizinosaurus time to join the fight and help Rexy kill the Giganotosaurus.

After reaching an airfield, Ian gives an interview to reporters on the situation alongside Ramsay. He also joins Ramsay, Ellie and Alan in testifying before the Senate on Biosyn's actions.


In the first film, Ian is shown to be overconfident, ironic and a bit of an aggravating know-it-all, described as a "rockstar" by John Hammond. He has an irreverent sense of humor, even in times of great danger, which is rarely appreciated by others. He also has a flirtatious side, playing with Ellie’s hair in the first film and commenting on her legs in the book. However, at times he shows his solemn side, most notably during the incident.

In the second film, his personality has been dragged more down-to-earth, resulting in his attitude growing more earnest, persuasive and sensible. It is likely that the trauma he suffered in the first film, combined with the resulting fallout from his public discrediting, drastically shifted and dulled his personality. He is also shown in the films to be not completely dependable in the past, and not realizing that people did not trust him because of that until very recently.

In Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, an aged Ian has grown very weary and less unconventional, though retains his sense of dramatic flair to prove a point.

Ian (to a degree) may be considered a voice of reason, as he was the first to voice his concerns over the ethics of resurrecting dinosaurs. Despite this, he eventually concedes to the fact his warnings were ultimately neglected, and believes that mankind has brought down its own destruction by ignoring the obvious danger of toying with nature; even Dr. Grant and Hammond fully concurred to Ian's belief that life itself can find a way to break free and continue on.


Ian Malcolm is a Caucasian man in his mid to late 60's, standing 6'4 1/2", with dark brown eyes and grey hair (black in his youth). In the first film and throughout most of the franchise, his attire is primarily dark: leather jacket over a black buttoned sport shirt, black chino pants, and black Chelsea boots. Sometimes, he wears black glasses as well, which he often takes off.


This section is a stub. You can help expand this section by adding some information.

Alan Grant[]


Ellie Sattler[]


John Hammond[]


Lex Murphy[]


Tim Murphy[]


Kelly Malcolm[]


Sarah Harding[]


Claire Dearing[]


Owen Grady[]


Ramsay Cole[]


Lewis Dodgson[]



Jurassic Park Wiki has a collection of quotations related to Ian Malcolm.


Jurassic Park Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Ian Malcolm.


  • He is the only character in the entire series to have appeared in every movie to date in one way or another. With Henry Wu as a close second, appearing in four movies.
  • Malcolm appeared to have died in the first novel, but in the second novel, it is revealed that he was merely unconscious and still alive, likely to correspond with the film canon, in which Malcolm survived. He revealed that he was only 'slightly dead'. It took about 6 months to recover from his injuries and he walks with a cane more often than not. It is also worth noting, there are only 2 (3 at a stretch) comments on his death in the first novel, all of which are characters points of view, more than reports of true events.
  • The trauma experienced in the first film, combined with the resulting fallout from his public discreditting, have improved Malcolm's personality drastically in the second movie, though he retains his sense of humor and sarcasm.
  • Malcolm was to return in Jurassic Park III, although Goldblum dropped out from the film early, feeling there was no reason for his character to take part in the events of the film.[6]
  • Kyoryu Black of Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger (a Super Sentai series), Ian Yorkland is named after him.
  • Malcolm's quote "There haven't been any visitors on this island. There's no reason for it to fear man." in The Lost World was later used by Robert Burke in The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
  • Excluding dinosaurs, Ian and Henry Wu have made the most appearances of any characters with a total of four films, as well as being referenced in Jurassic Park III and Jurassic World.
  • In the official trailer of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Malcolm recites his famous "Life finds a way" quote, although this did not make it into the final cut of the film.
  • According to information from John Hammond's computer screen that was cut from the final version of The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Malcolm was born on June 29th, 1955, making him almost 38 years old during the 1993 Isla Nublar incident, 42 years old during the 1997 Isla Sorna incident, 63 years old around the time of Fallen Kingdom, and 67 years old by the time of Dominion.
  • Before Jeff Goldblum was cast, Jim Carrey was considered.
  • Michael Keaton, Bruce Campbell, Johnny Depp, Ted Danson, Steve Guttenberg, and Michael J. Fox were screen-tested for the part of Dr. Ian Malcolm.
  • Malcolm's alternate speech at the lecture theater on Jurassic World: Dominion would have been closer to his line in the seventh iteration on Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park novel.[7][8]
  • Malcolm's actions have led to the deaths of two people, Donald Gennaro and Peter Ludlow.

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