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WARNING: This article covers the "Velociraptor" as it in the films
Velociraptor is the 3 to 5 meter long, 6-foot tall dromaeosaurid theropod carnivore that appears in all Jurassic Park films and film-based media. The Raptors are the main antagonists of the first film and the secondary antagonists of the second and third films. In the fourth film, they become anti-heroes as they assist their trainer, Owen Grady, in defeating the vicious Indominus rex. In the fifth film, the Raptor Blue becomes a supporting protagonist as she helps Owen defeat the Indoraptor.
Velociraptors are highly intelligent pack hunters. They could run 40-60 mph (65-100 km/h) at full sprint - fast enough to outrun many other dinosaurs. They have a primitive level of vocalization which enables them to direct attacks and call for help. They are also capable of setting traps for their prey.
Although it is called Velociraptor, it also shows characteristics of other dromaeosaurs, like Deinonychus and Utahraptor. A raptor in real life that vaguely resembles the dinosaurs in the film is the newly discovered Achillobator, a close Mongolian cousin to Utahraptor. In 2015 another discovery had born resemblance to Jurassic Park's Velociraptor, the North American dromaeosaurine, Dakotaraptor which was very close in size and shape to the animals featured in the films. Interestingly and by coincidence no less the Dakotaraptor was found in the state of Montana, the same place where the film's Velociraptor was found. It is also noteworthy that Crichton's source material for Jurassic Park dinosaurs, Predatory Dinosaurs of the World, authored by Gregory S. Paul, used the name Velociraptor antirrhopus to describe Deinonychus antirrhopus, and this is believed to be why the Velociraptors are referred to as such. Michael Crichton also supposedly met with Gregory Paul several times during the writing process to consult about the accuracy and physical descriptions of the dinosaurs.
The Velociraptors in the films appear to resemble Deinonychus and are 6 ft tall (making them more similar in size to the larger Utahraptor) with their signature sickle claws being 6 inches. They had a resonation chamber located in their skull. According to Dr. Alan Grant, they were highly intelligent, being smarter than whales and even primates, which would make the film's Velociraptor the most intelligent dinosaur that would have existed as the intelligence of Troodon, the world's smartest dinosaur in real life, is comparable to the modern day opossum. So far, multiple specimens of the film's Velociraptor have been found in the state of Montana in North America.
Dr. Grant theorized that a raptor pack would trap their prey. If potential prey saw a member of the pack it would freeze in place with the raptor would just looking back at them, as if in a standoff. Then the attack would come, not from the front, but from the flanks by other members of the pack.
Though it is popularly assumed that the film's Velociraptor is a reclassified Deinonychus (and out of universe the raptors were to be and were based on this dinosaur), the Holoscape attraction of the Jurassic World Innovation Center suggests otherwise with Velociraptor and Deinonychus being listed as entirely separate dinosaurs. Furthermore, when a little girl selected the Velociraptor hologram of the Holoscape, she selected the Velociraptor icon rather than the icon for Deinonychus. A dinosaur that in real-life resembles the film Velociraptor would be Dakotaraptor, a large raptor comparable in size that was said to have a skull similar to Deinonychus
Among all the variations of the clones were pronated forelimbs which theropods lacked in real life.
In nearly all of the variations, both sexes were fully scaled. However, males of a crested variation seen wild on Isla Sorna had quills on the top of their heads.
Physical appearance and biology
This variant that is first one seen on-screen was closest to the fossils of Velociraptor that were found in Montana. They were sexually dimorphic, females were a brown color with translucent green eyes similar to crocodiles while the males had a coloration similar to that of a tiger with yellow eyes.
When they are born, they imprint on the first creature they come in contact with, even if this creature is not of their own species, and would be loyal to this individual. According to Jurassic Park game warden Robert Muldoon, the raptors were "lethal" at eight months of age. Muldoon also claimed that the raptors were able to reach speeds of 50-60 MPH in the open and were “astonishing jumpers”.
In terms of behavior, these raptors did not vocalize as much as the other variants when hunting with the only instance of this behavior when a female individual called for her subordinate when hunting Tim and Lex Murphy. It has been observed they relied primarily on stealth when hunting, which might explain the limited vocalizations. The trapping method that Dr. Grant theorized for the non-clones was also once employed by the clones that lived in Jurassic Park.
Like with wolves, this variant would sometimes display aggressive behavior towards packmates, usually for or to remain in control of the pack, though other factors might be involved. The Big One notably displayed aggressive behavior when she killed nearly all the raptors being kept in the Velociraptor Paddock for control of the pack sparing only two members of her species.
It is never explained in Jurassic Park III as to why the raptors that appeared in the film looked so different from the packs seen in the first two films.
The closest official explanation for these differences comes from John Rosengrant who worked on the practical effects of the four films thus far. Rosengrant has implied that the raptors had biologically evolved since their appearance in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Though this does provide somewhat of an official explanation, it is unclear if it is canonical.
Physical appearance and biology
The skulls were longer and had crests located on the nasal bone of their skull, traits which are absent in the first variant and the fossils seen in the film. Furthermore, no known dromaeosaurid in real life has been found with crests.
Like with the previous variation, sexual dimorphism was present. Males were a grayish blue color with light blue horizontal striping from the start of the neck to the end of the tail. Their eyes were red and small with a blue ring around the socket. Males also possessed quills on the top of their heads as well as having red crests. The females were a beige color and had yellow eyes. The females' head crests were also less pronounced and not red, unlike the males'. Both sexes had either vertical or round pupils in their eyes.
Unlike the first variation, the second vocalized and trapped more in hunting. Their traps were rather complex, an example of this being when a male stalked the rescue team for Eric Kirby throughout the InGen Compound and putting its head inside one of the empty tanks, pretending to be one of the dinosaur fetuses found in the laboratory waiting for one of the members of the rescue team to encounter him. Another example is when the pack the previously mentioned male pinned down rescue team member Udesky to draw out his fellow teammates that were seeking refuge high in a tree.
From the only pack observed, they were highly respectful of each other, especially their leader. Aggression among packmates, such as to usurp the leader, is relatively unknown in this variant with no observations of this behavior.
Their nests were created close to other nests of their kind. Whether these groups of nests all belonged to more or just one pack is unknown. When one or more eggs were taken from the nest, the pack who owned that nest would relentlessly pursue whoever stole their eggs.
IBRIS Project Variants
The IBRIS Project raptors were each created uniquely, with every raptor having their own unique skin color and in the case of the Jurassic World Velociraptor Pack, unique heads for every member of the pack. Physically, they were a mixture of traits from both the sexes the previous two variations. It is known from behind the scenes and promotional material that the raptors Blue, Delta, Echo, and Charlie were each created with DNA from another animal, these being the Black-throated monitor,. Green iguana, and birds respectively. These traits were mostly cosmetic, only affecting skin color except for Delta whose added avian DNA made her behave more bird-like. Though tie-in media depicts Delta with round pupils, the reason given as her having Gecko DNA in addition to the increased avian DNA used in her creation, but all the raptors on-screen have amber colored eyes with slit pupils. Interestingly, Subject V-2 has eyes identical to females of the first variation.
As with their physical appearance, the behavior of the IBRIS Project's raptors was a mixture of the previously encountered variations. All raptors known in the project each had their own personalities, a trait seemingly unknown in many of the raptors encountered by humans besides The Big One.
Like with the first variation, they bonded with whoever imprinted on them at birth and be greatly loyal to whoever did this. Even though they would abandon their leader if they encountered something larger and stronger, such as when Owen Grady's raptors change their allegiance to an Indominus rex, they could easily return to be under the command of the individual who had imprinted on them at birth due to the bond they have together.
As observed in the pack seen in the film Jurassic World, the raptors generally vocalized like the second variation. They also displayed a significant amount of aggressive behavior usually towards packmates. On-screen, this is seen when Blue briefly snaps at Charlie while they are in their enclosure. Other off-screen examples include Subject V-2 who was "rejected" for aggressive behavior, Blue and Echo's fight for control over the pack, and the LEGO Jurassic World website claims that Blue is the most aggressive of her pack.
Velociraptor, like all of the dinosaurs, was created by InGen scientists inside a compound on Isla Sorna. First cloned in 1986, it was the first dinosaur that InGen had successfully cloned. In 1991, InGen scientists created Subjects 4X, 6X, and 7X that were clones with yellow-banded poison dart frog added to their genomes, but while they were still blastocysts succumbed to karyolysis believed to have been caused by the dart frog DNA being incompatible with the cloned raptor genome. After being suggested by Dr. Henry Wu, the Common Reed Frog was used instead and was eventually used in all of the dinosaur and pterosaur clones from that point on, which caused said animals to have the ability to change sex, thus being able to breed.
In 1992, Dr. Wu studied the raptors and discovered their great intelligence and their language.
26 of these raptors were created on Sorna, 8 of which were moved to Isla Nublar for Jurassic Park. The pack lived in the self-titled Velociraptor Paddock. Eventually, a raptor that Jurassic Park Game Warden Robert Muldoon called "The Big One" was created and sent to live with the pack. The Big One soon took over the pack, killing all but two of the park's raptors, which lead to InGen having to relocate them to another enclosure. Before their deaths, however, one of the raptors killed by The Big One changed sex and bred with one of the females who in turn laid eggs.
During the transportation of one of the remaining three raptors, the caged Velociraptor charged its cage just as a Jurassic Park Security member Jophery Brown was raising the gate to the Raptor Pen. As Jophery was on the ground, the Velociraptor began pulling him towards her and despite Muldoon's attempt to save him, Jophery was killed by the raptor. Angered, Muldoon commanded the security with him to shoot the raptor. Even though gunshots are heard, the raptor was not euthanized, leaving one to speculate what might have allowed the raptor's survival.
Tour of Jurassic Park
After watching a video about how the dinosaurs are cloned, the Jurassic Park Endorsement Team were immediately taken to the Isla Nublar Laboratory where they and John Hammond witnessed the birth of a Velociraptor. They then proceeded to travel to the Raptor Pen where they witnessed the park's pack be fed a cow.
- "And that's when the attack comes. Not from the front, but from the side. From the other two raptors…you didn't even know were there."
- —Alan Grant talking about raptors to a boy.(src)
Unlike the other paddock fences, Dennis Nedry kept the fences active for the Raptor Pen when he initiated Whte rbt.obj, knowing how dangerous they were. In Nedry's heist, he stole a Velociraptor embryo from the Cold Storage Room.
Dr. Grant and Hammond's grandchildren, Tim and Lex Murphy, discovered the nest laid by the raptors on the island when they were traveling to the Visitor Center after the outage. By the time they had found the nest, the eggs had hatched with the hatchlings leaving behind a trail of small footprints. With this finding, Dr. Grant discovered that the dinosaurs were indeed capable of breeding.
But eventually, the power to the Raptor Pen's fence inevitably gave out when the mainframe was reset by John Arnold. The raptors then managed to bite their way out and patrolled the area to the electric bunker. Arnold eventually came through to turn the power back on, only to be killed and eaten inside the bunker by one of the Raptors, leaving only one of his arms. Ellie Sattler and Muldoon eventually came through the same way in an attempt to finish Arnold's work, walking into a trap set by two of the raptors. Fortunately, Muldoon saw through the raptor's ruse and held a gun on one of them while Ellie ran ahead into the bunker. Muldoon then attempted to hunt the raptor in the bush, but he underestimated the creature's intelligence and was ambushed by one of the pack members, who had been using the other Raptor as bait, leading to Muldoon's demise. Meanwhile, Ellie managed to turn the power back on to the park, only to be attacked from behind by the third raptor. Fortunately, she managed to escape with only a foot injury, closing the shed's door to prevent her pursuer from chasing her any further, though this would not last very long.
Two of the raptors then migrated to the Visitor Center where they followed the scent of the kids, Lex and Tim, into the kitchen. After a brief hunt around the kitchen, one of them managed to find Lex, only to attack a metal cabinet that showed her reflection and hit the cabinet. The second raptor then chased Tim into the freezer but slipped on the ice, as Tim escaped and locked the door behind him. The stunned raptor, however, managed to regain consciousness and followed the children, along with Alan and Ellie to the computer room. After a brief struggle, Lex managed to fix the locks and shut the door on the raptor. However, it broke through the glass, which forced them to climb into the vents.
At some point, the third raptor broke free from the electric bunker. She then chased them to the front of the visitor's center, where it jumped on the sauropod skeleton, causing it to collapse as they climbed onto it. The humans attempted to escape but are cornered by the Raptor. The third raptor then took its opportunity and lunged for the humans, but is then seized out of the air by the T. rex of Isla Nublar. While the others escaped, the remaining Velociraptor jumped on the rex's neck, only to slide into its jaws and be tossed violently into a decorative Tyrannosaurus rex model skeleton, presumably being killed by the impact.
It is unknown if there were any surviving populations on Isla Nublar after the incident and if the wild raptors survived long enough to breed in the wild. The 2014 San Diego Comic Con Jurassic World poster drawn by Mark Englert that depicts a mother raptor with her nest just as the Jurassic World theme park is being constructed, though it is unknown if this is canon to the films themselves.
Wild on Isla Sorna
After the incident on Isla Nublar, Hurricane Clarissa struck Isla Sorna, causing the workers to evacuate and ultimately abandon the island. Just as they were departing, many of the dinosaurs were freed by the workers, including Velociraptor.
In the wild, the raptors defeated the Lysine contingency by eating lysine-rich animals. Like all the carnivorous dinosaurs, Velociraptor lived in the center of Isla Sorna. In particular, they were known to have resided in the Long Grass and the Village, the interior of Isla Sorna serving as their nesting sites.
- "Velociraptor. Carnivore. Pack hunter. About two meters tall. Long snout. Binocular vision. Strong dexterous forearms and killing claws on both feet."
- —Dr. Robert Burke(src)
Four years after the Incident at Jurassic Park, two groups of people; a small research team hired by John Hammond, and an enormous strike force hired by Peter Ludlow become stranded on the island when attacks by the local animals destroy most of their equipment. Despite Ludlow's warnings, the team embarked towards the central facility. However, after an attack by a pair of local Tyrannosaurus, the Tyrannosaur Buck and Doe, the team became unorganized and separated. Upon nearing the facility, the fleeing Hunters came across the Long Grass, that was home to a pack of Velociraptors, numbering about seven in total. The pack promptly ambushed the team, killing a fairly large number of men, including Ajay Sidhu.
Whether it is because they had eaten their fill or simply did not catch them in time, the raptors do not attack Hammond's team when they come through the grass, and Nick Van Owen managed to make it into the facility and call for help. But when Ian Malcolm, Sarah Harding, and Kelly Malcolm enter the facility to find him, they are set upon by three raptors, two males and a female. While Ian distracts a male, the other two chase Sarah and Kelly inside the facility. Eventually, Ian evades the raptor and runs into the facility and is cornered by the other male, but Kelly uses her gymnastic abilities to knock the raptor out of the window, where he is impaled by a spike and dies. As the Malcolms escape, Sarah tries to get out through the window but is followed by the remaining male and female. However, she manages to knock the female raptor off the roof, causing her to fall on the male, provoking a violent fight between the two, which allowed Sarah to rejoin with the Malcolms and Nick and together they escape the island on a chopper.
In the genetics admissions lab, a male is seen hiding its head behind one of the incubator machines. As Amanda Kirby takes a closer look, its eye moves and it lunges out from behind the glass. It tries to bite Amanda but is too big to fit through the machines. The raptor finds another way and chases the survivors, eventually trapping them in a maze of dinosaur cages. Billy Brennan and Amanda trapped the raptor in one of the cages and it lets out a screeching, birdlike call. Dr. Alan Grant is amazed by it calling for help. Eventually, the raptor gets out and calls to its packmates. In the jungle, other raptors hear the one from the building and answer back. During the stampede of Parasaurolophus and Corythosaurus, two males are seen running at speeds up to 50-60 mph. In the jungle, a female stabs its retractable claw in Udesky's back and the pack uses him as bait to lure Billy, Amanda, and Paul Kirby. The Raptors again make another play on human emotions when it comes to compassion. When the trap fails, a male Raptor kills Udesky by snapping his neck.
Meanwhile, after being split from the others, Dr. Grant sees the alpha female and male "talking" to each other. He wonders what they are saying, or what they are looking for. Then he is cornered by three males and the alpha female. As the pack was closing in on him, Eric Kirby throws gas grenades, which drive the raptors away.
The pack found the rescue team one last time wanting their eggs that Billy took earlier, surrounding the survivors as they get down on their knees. The alpha female walked slowly up to Amanda and sniffs around her, thinking she stole the eggs. Dr. Grant proceeded to open Billy's backpack and gives both eggs to Amanda who places them in the sand gently. Grant then took out the resonating chamber Billy had created for a day before the incident and blows through it to confuse the Raptors before imitating their cry for help. One of the males attempted to attack him but was stopped and reminded by the alpha female to get back into rank. She then hears helicopters coming and caws each male a command. While they take off into the jungle, the alpha male stays with her, the female retrieving the first egg and the male retrieving the second, before following where their pack went.
In 2012, Vic Hoskins of InGen Security began actively overseeing the Integrated Behavioral Raptor Intelligence Study. The aim of the study is unclear, Jurassicworld.com states that it is for a future attraction featuring fully trained raptors while out of universe Glen McIntosh states that it was to see how much control they can exert over raptors. Regardless of its intended goal, Hoskins secretly wanted the raptors to be created for the project to be used in military operations.
At some point Owen Grady was hired to train the raptors and his friend Barry joined him as well in 2013. By 2015, the pack present in the Raptor Paddock consisted of Blue (the pack leader), Charlie, Delta, and Echo. Subject V-2 was a known raptor present at the start of the project in 2012, but she was "rejected" and presumably euthanized for her aggressive behavior.
Vic Hoskins convinced the IBRIS Project trainers to utilize the raptors in the pursuit of an escaped Indominus rex. But the raptors began to attack humans as the Indominus rex had raptor DNA and became their alpha. In the chaos, Charlie was blown to bits by a rocket launcher. Delta and Echo then tried to eat Claire Dearing, Gray, and Zach Mitchell in their van. Sometime later, Delta suddenly appeared in the Hammond Creation Lab unexpectedly before Owen, Claire, Hoskins, and the boys. They are forced to flee after the raptor killed Hoskins, who failed at trying to calm her down by copying Owen's hand gesture. After killing Hoskins, Delta continued her pursuit of Owen, Claire and the boys before being distracted by a hologram of a Dilophosaurus that was activated by Gray, but continued her pursuit after realizing it wasn't real.
Soon it turned out Blue herded the humans into a trap. Just as they trapped the humans, the Indominus walked into view. The raptors, however, turned on the Indominus as Owen takes off the video camera from Blue's head, realizing that the hybrid was merely using them. All the raptors but Blue were overpowered. Later, Blue regained consciousness and rejoined the fight, lunging at the hybrid and allowing Jurassic World's T. rex that was from the original Jurassic Park park who had joined the battle in her absence, to get back on her feet after she was pushed to the ground by the Indominus rex. Blue helped the T. rex attack the I. rex. Suddenly, the Mosasaurus dragged the I. rex into the bottom of the lagoon. After the fight, the T. rex decides to spare Blue, most likely due to the already extensive injuries caused by Indominus. Blue then turned towards Owen, chirping at him momentarily before disappearing into the night.
It is revealed that Blue is still alive, but she and many other creatures will now face an impending danger, in the form of an erupting volcano.
Another leak showed Owen petting what looks like to be a baby Blue. It is later confirmed to be Blue in a promo for the first trailer where Owen narrates him training a playful and curious baby Blue, calling her "remarkable" and "showing interest" in a pack he had brought with him to see her. At the beginning of the movie, it shows Owen Grady watching a training video of him, and her pack as infants on a computer.
During the rescue mission, Blue was reunited with Owen by startling him when she screeches loudly at him from behind, perched on top of the damaged Jurassic Park Ford tour van that Alan Grant rescued Tim Murphy from, in a greeting. As she slowly approaches him, she begins to press her nose to his palm, remembering him, before jerking her head away with a sharp cry as Ken Wheatley and a team of mercenaries attempts to capture Blue via tranquilizing her. Owen warns them to back up after they refused to wait for his signal to tranquilize her, until Blue attacks one of the nearby soldiers, which results in her getting shot in the hip. She gives a wail of pain before falling over onto her side.
Once Owen is tranquilized by Wheatley after she is shot, Zia Rodriguez rushes to her rescue, telling the mercenaries that she is the only one who can keep Blue alive. She and Blue are subsequently captured, and taken to the East Dock, where Wheatley and the other animal traffickers have captured the other dinosaurs to ship them back to the mainland for Eli Mills and Henry Wu.
Inside the back of a military van, Zia and Blue reunite with Owen, Claire, and Franklin to reveal that Blue is hemorrhaging, and will need a blood transfusion from a carnivore with two or three fingers to keep her alive. Owen and Claire end up bringing back blood from the Tyrannosaurus rex, which subsequently saves her life.
Around the same time, Maisie Lockwood watches a training video with Blue as an infant, showing compassion and empathy for Owen, while he pretends to show signs of weakness in front of her.
After the Indoraptor's escape, Henry Wu has Franklin, who is disguised as a geneticist to get equipment for him to take blood samples from Blue to create a new batch of Indoraptors, which would subsequently become her children. The plan, however, backfires, as Zia breaks the news to him that Blue's blood is transfused with the Tyrannosaur's, and Franklin stabs him in the neck with a tranquilizer. Two ACU troops attempt to subdue them before Zia releases Blue, who mauls them both, before escaping from the laboratory as it erupts in flames from one of the soldiers' bullets hitting a tank of flammable, toxic, gas.
Blue, after making her way upstairs inside the Lockwood Manor, she attacks the Indoraptor in Maisie's bedroom when she sees him preparing to attack Owen. The two battle for a brief moment before they both fall out of a window, with Blue falling in another direction as the Indoraptor continues to pursue Owen and Maisie.
Blue then ambushes the Indoraptor from behind on the roof, pouncing on him. The added weight causes them to fall through the skylight, and land on an Agujaceratops skull, which impales, and kills, the Indoraptor. After giving a shriek of victory, Blue jumps off and runs off.
After the dinosaurs from Nublar are released out into the open by Maisie, Blue is approached by Owen, who tells her that he can take her to a sanctuary she would be safe at. However, Blue ends up running off, pausing briefly to look back at Owen, making a gentle noise towards him, before running off into the early morning.
At the ending of the film, it shows Blue overlooking a far-off, suburban, Californian neighborhood, as she calls out.
Velociraptors appeared in Jurassic Park: The Game. Their models for the game are based off their appearance in the first Jurassic Park. They first appear is in the last scenario of Episode 2, and serve as the main enemy throughout Episode 3.
InGen shipped a new pack of five raptors, lead by the Scarred Raptor Leader, from Isla Sorna to replace the deceased ones, but had to be transferred to the quarantine pens as they were too dangerous to be kept in the standard holding pens. They, along with the Troodon, were kept under close watch by Laura Sorkin and her assistant, David Banks.
They later escaped and stalked the personnel left behind on the island and a mercenary team hired by InGen. One of the raptors was killed by Roberta the T. rex. The new leader killed Oscar Morales, a member of the mercenary team who scarred her and killed another raptor in a face-to-face encounter earlier. The remaining subordinates then chased the remaining survivors until they caught the scent of a Troodon nest in the room the survivors took refuge in and then fled.
Behind the scenes
The film crew contacted paleontologist John Ostrom and requested all copies of his technical papers of Deinonychus and this dinosaur served as the primary basis for the Velociraptor seen on screen. The film's Velociraptor was to even be called Deinonychus at one point in the film's development in 1991.
In 1990, Paleoartist Mark Hallett created a storyboard of the raptors in the kitchen and color studies of the raptors. John Gurche, another well-known paleoartist, also created concept art of the raptors. His concepts depicted the raptors with long, chicken-esque feet. These drawings featured a different head design than that of the film. Gregory S. Paul skeletal and muscle studies of the Velociraptor for the film, though Paul has said that he never received any feedback on the diagrams he created of the raptors.
Mark "Crash" McCreery designed the Velociraptor for the film. He created concepts of three life stages of the raptor: hatchling, juvenile, and adult, the juvenile which was never seen in the film, but was originally going to be included. McCreery began drawing the Velociraptor after his first two drawings of T. rex when the film was trying to get greenlighted. Two of his drawings were created in 1991 and like with Hallet's drawings, a trait in many of McCreery's concepts was a different head design from that of the Velociraptor on screen.
Some design choices were suggested and/or considered of the Velociraptor in the film, but were never used. Phil Tippett once created go motion animatics of the raptors in the kitchen that featured them having forked tongues that they would flick out of its mouth like that of snake or monitor lizard as an allusion to the cross-referencing with genetic engineering used to created the dinosaurs. This idea was scrapped as paleontological consultant Jack Horner disagreed with it saying "No, can’t do that, that’s a lizard, dinosaurs aren’t lizards they’re birds."
The Velociraptor was made larger than it was in real life. According to an artist that was involved in pre-production, Speilberg requested this change because he was unhappy with the size of what was considered the largest dromaeosaurid at the time Deinonychus and wanted it to be bigger.
 Another given reason was that Steven Speilberg thought making the rapto larger made them more menacing. Interestingly, after this change was made, Utahraptor, a dromaeosaurid that reached the size of the film's raptor, was discovered. Stan Winston said in regards to the discovery of Utahraptor: "[W]e build it and they discovered it. That still boggles my mind." The final design of the raptor was sculpted by Chris Swift. The color scheme of the raptors changed throughout its development. Mark Hallett did color studies of the raptors featuring them with vibrant colors. Each of these colorations was as follows: bright red with black striping, yellow and brown with orange highlights, and olive green and blue. All of these, however, were discarded. One early proposed coloration was an orange with black stripes, like a tiger. This coloration is showcased in Craig Mullins' concept art of the final scene. The practical raptors created by Stan Winston Studio were painted with yellow and orange in their color scheme, but due to the cool lighting when filming with the practical effects of Velociraptor the bright yellow exhibited in their color scheme ended up subdued.
Originally, the hatchery was to feature the infant Velociraptor based on the novel that would climb up Tim Murphy's arm and a hatchling Triceratops that would be portrayed by a simple finger puppet poking its head out of its egg. But the infant raptor would be scrapped and the Triceratops hatchling would become a raptor hatchling instead. Furthermore, finger puppet approach was scrapped when director Steven Spielberg wanted the hatchling to crawl out of its shell. So Stan Winston Studio initially decided that the hatchling would be portrayed with cables with said cables being digitally removed in post-production until Richard Landon volunteered to design the animatronic. Landon mechanized the animatronic internally which was a difficult task for him.
According to Mark Hallet, Spielberg once considered during early development outfitting some of the chickens he owned with prosthetic heads, arms, and tails then letting them go berserk on scaled-down stage sets to the portray the raptors until the computer animation was perfected, but he was later convinced by those close to him to discard this idea.
The idea for a body suit came independently from Stan Winston Studio when they were observing early storyboards. There was originally going to only be one full body suit to be made for the film though this soon became two suits. Each suit required the puppeteer to get into a skiing stance when entering before they were then zipped inside the suit using a zipper located in the back. To allow the puppeteer to see inside the suit, there were several small slits located in the neck where the person's head would be as well as a small TV monitor that was also fixed inside the body suit. Furthermore, due to the design of the suit being air-tight, an airline had to be fed up one of its' legs.
Despite the original plan to design the suits without cable controlled mechanisms, instead using servos and radio-control, but cables were added to streamline the suit. The final suit featured radio-controlled eyes and the arms was half radio-controlled and half-cable controlled, the cables for the arms running down one of the legs of the suit. Furthermore, the tail was also mechanized and the wearer was able to move the head by two rods located inside the neck.
John Rosengrant and Mark McCreery were selected to perform in the Velociraptor suits. Stan Winston hired a trainer to give the two men back exercises due to the position that they would be in during filming. Both suits saw usage in the famous Kitchen Scene, particularly when the first raptor to enter the kitchen calls for her subordinate. Rosengrant also used a raptor suit in the scene where Muldoon is killed.
Insert Head & Cable Puppet
The insert head was used for close up shots of the raptors. It was used in every scene that featured the sickle-clawed predators. This insert head, along with two other puppets, was designed and built by Craig Craton, who had been interested in creating a puppet utilizing a Steadycam design after watching Steadicam operators during the filming of Batman Returns. The head and the aforementioned puppets utilized a modified version of the neck mechanism of the Dilophosaurus animatronic. Originally the insert head was going to use a different method until it was changed to an offshoot of the Dilophosaurus neck design. Unlike the Dilo's head, the Velociraptor head borrowed more from Steadicam technology. Using a standard backpack rather than one used for Steadicams, the base of the head had a handle that when grabbing it in a certain direction would allow the head to move in that direction. Its tongue, eyes, and lips were radio controlled and its mouth was cable controlled. Chris Swift and Mark McCreery operated these parts of the head respectively.
Also utilizing Craton's Steadicam neck mechanism were two cable puppets, one spanning from head to tail and the other without a tail with a rod that came out of its back. The reason for the latter puppet's lack of tail was so that the crew could operate it in tighter areas.
For filming the lower half of the raptors, leg extensions consisting of the lower torso, legs, and forelimbs was created. The forelimbs and toes were cable operated with John Rosengrant strapped into the extensions to portray the moving dinosaur. Other effects were used such as a floppy rubber raptor strung up by cables with pole-operated head that was attached to Bob Peck during his character's death scene, a full-sized puppet with an armature that was used as a stand-in for the CGI raptor, and a full body puppet with locking joints and an articulated head that saw usage when a Velociraptor leaps onto the gate of the Maintenance Shed. Furthermore in the scene in the shed, insert arms and an insert leg puppeteered by Rosengrant were also used.
In the original endings for Jurassic Park, one raptor was to be crushed by one of the falling skeletons while the other would either be moved and crushed to the jaws of the T. rex skeleton by Dr. Grant using a crane or by Hammond shooting the raptor. Another ending would have also featured Hammond coming inside the center killing the first raptor with a bazooka while Dr. Grant used a crane to kill the remaining raptor-like in one of the endings. These endings were scrapped from the film because Spielberg believed the T. rex to be the star of the film alongside the smaller Velociraptor.
Instead of CGI, wide shots of the Velociraptor was originally going to be portrayed with go motion created by Tippett Studio and an animatic of the kitchen scene was even created using this method. In addition one of the go motion maquettes of the raptors was used in developing the Dilophosaurus animatronic in that it helped visualize how it was to move. Tippit and his team sent Spielberg animation tests of Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor, but Speilberg felt that the movements of the dinosaurs were still jerky, which led to Industrial Light and Magic's Dennis Muren to suggest to Speilberg to use CGI dinosaurs. Upon seeing several tests of CGI dinosaurs, it was then decided to not utilize go motion for the portrayal of the dinosaurs on screen. However, the animatics would be used a reference for the dinosaur's movements, in the case of Velociraptor the animatics of the raptors in the kitchen were studied by 'Crash' McCreery and John Rosengrant when they were rehearsing for filming in the raptor suits.
Phil Tippett worked with ILM in post-production to create the dinosaur input device or DID for short; an armature like that seen in go motion models that could be manipulated by Tippit and his team of stop-motion animators. Out of the four DIDs created, two were for T. rex while other two were for the raptors. The Velociraptor DIDs was only used for the kitchen scene as Tippitt's team and ILM was originally going to work together until it was decided that both would be split into two teams.
The goal of the adult raptors' vocalizations was to make them sound as if they were intelligent, so a variety of sources were used to create the many vocalizations that the Velociraptor displayed. The clicking sound that the raptors made was created from a friend of sound designer Gary Rydstrom named Lyden that was present in the studio one day and was able to create a raspy click in his voice which was slowed down by the sound designers. Geese were used for the hisses as well as for one of the raptors' screams while the sound of the raptors' breathing was created by horses. The attack screech of the raptors was from dolphins at Marine World. The sounds of the raptors communicating with each other, particularly when one of pack members calls for its subordinate in the kitchen, came from two sources: an African crane and mating tortoises.
For the hatchling, Rydstrom aimed to find a baby animal that had raspy vocalizations as the adults would make similar sounds. Rydstrom and his team recorded various baby animals including those of owls and foxes for the newly born raptor. The baby owl sounds were used for the baby's vocals upon Dr. Grant discovering its identity.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Introduction of the Males
It was decided early before pre-production that Velociraptor, Tyrannosaurus, and Stegosaurus were 'must-have' dinosaurs for the sequel The Lost World: Jurassic Park. Rion Vernon created a new concept art of the Velociraptor that was to appear in the film. Its date of creation being 1995, its design being closer to what was seen on screen in the previous film as well as The Lost World.
The Lost World saw the introduction of male raptors with a different color scheme than those of the ones before and the female seen in the film. Stan Winston explained the reasoning behind the new color schemes of the raptors and other dinosaurs by saying “We had to design new paint schemes not only for the new dinosaurs but for some of the already-designed dinosaurs from the last movie. [...] Because now there were male dinosaurs, as well as females; and typically in nature, the males of any species are far more brightly colored. We also wanted to make sure the audience would be able to tell the males and females apart.” The final coloration that was chosen for the male Velociraptor was a tiger-like color scheme devised by Chris Swift.
Armatures for the practical effects for the raptors in the first film were redesigned by Rick Haugen and Jeff Edwards for the creation of four puppets that were to be used in the film, two that were head to mid-torso and two that were full size. The majority of the cables used in their bodies were replaced with hydraulics. The hydraulics controlled the gross movements of the four animatronics while the only cables that remained were for small facial articulation. The reason for the switch to hydraulics was because Stan Winston was impressed by Roberta's full-sized animatronic in Jurassic Park that utilized this mechanism.
In addition to these puppets, another leg rig identical to that used in Jurassic Park was built by David Covarrubias and was worn by John Rosengrant like before. Insert heads, arms, and flexible tails were also created. One insert head, in particular, was made with stronger materials to withstand impact as it was to be used in filming the scene where the raptor pursuing Malcolm would began ramming its head into the car's window.
The practical effects were used in the filming of the Long Grass scene and the Village scene.
Jurassic Park III
Initially, the raptors in Jurassic Park III were to have the same design of their previous incarnations. Stan Winston Studio even made practical effects utilizing the old design. At first, Stan Winston Studio was disappointed that they would be creating effects for the raptors once again until they decided to redesign the Velociraptor for the third film. For this new design, the team started from scratch rather than simply tweaking the original design. The redesign featured a more elongated snout and quills at the top of the heads of the male raptors. These design choices were based on then-recent paleontological discoveries and alluded to their link with birds.
The film reveals that Velociraptors have a bony resonation chamber that allows them to vocalize. In an interview with About.com, director Joe Johnston said this was based on a Lambeosaurinae dinosaur which according to the interviewer sounded like Parasaurolophus.
Two full-sized fully hydraulic animatronics were created, one male and one female. Unlike the hydraulic raptors for the previous film, the hydraulics were placed inside the raptors rather than outside. Another leg rig was created once again for low angle shots and John Rosengrant was placed inside this rig like he had done before with the previous animatronic pairs of legs. Another full-sized bodysuit worn by John Rosengrant. Unlike the suits created for the first film, this suit was designed to be less cumbersome to the wearer. This suit notably was used when the male raptor becomes caught between the screen door of the InGen Compound and one of the facilities cages. The male raptor animatronic was also used in Dr.Grant's dream sequence, albeit intentionally greyed out in post-production.
In early drafts of Jurassic Park IV Velociraptor was to have a significant role. In a 2003 children's workshop at the Museum of the Rockies, Jack Horner told the attendees that he was working on Jurassic Park IV and the only plot details he gave was "If you like velociraptors, you will love Jurassic Park Four." In a talk in 2005 at the University of South Carolina, Steven Speilberg said that the motorcycle chase with the raptors from the novel The Lost World was going to be in the developing film. In John Sayles' script, Velociraptor is absent, but a similar creature called "Excavaraptors" and Deinonychus hybrids were to appear, the latter which was reworked into the Jurassic World raptor pack. Concepts of Velociraptor-Human hybrids, one of them dubbed "raptorman" by the artist who created some of the concepts Carlos Haunte are also known to have existed.
In a 2004 article of the science journal Nature on the discovery of the theropod Dilong, paleontologist Mark Norell claimed to have seen "the first shots of Jurassic Park IV" and said that "all the dinosaurs now have feathers". However, it was decided that the dinosaurs, especially the raptors, would be featherless despite discoveries that show the contrary. Director Colin Trevorrow explained the reasons for the absence of feathers in an article by British special effects magazine SFX saying that Steven Spielberg was not "satisfied emotionally" by the feathered dinosaurs that appeared in the series Speilberg executively produced Terra Nova and for Trevorrow himself, he said "To me, it also didn't necessarily fit with the canon, because the book make very clear that these dinosaurs were already different from they could look like."
Originally, possibly just as a placeholder, the design from Jurassic Park III was used for the raptors. For the most part, Industrial Light and Magic based the design of the Velociraptors seen in Jurassic World on Mark 'Crash' McCreery concept art from the previous films, though each of the raptor pack's heads were each unique and Charlie and Delta bore traits of the Jurassic Park III design.
The Velociraptors were portrayed entirely in CGI unlike its previous portrayals. Three companies created the effects, series veteran Industrial Light and Magic, Image Engine, and Hybride, the latter creating the Holoscape Velociraptor hologram. Motion capture performers portrayed the raptors while they were in their enclosure, using YouTube videos of herons for the basis for portraying the raptors. Legacy Effects, a special effects company founded after Stan Winston's death by former members of Stan Winston Studio, created the raptor heads the motion capture performers wore as well as full-sized painted heads for use on set as lighting references.
The raptors would receive yet more vocalizations for Jurassic World to show them communicating with their alpha Owen.
Throughout the Jurassic Park franchise, Velociraptor is one of the few dinosaurs to have a large number of roles, serving as the first film's main antagonist, the second film's secondary antagonists, the third film's deuteragonists and up to Jurassic World as the film's antiheroes, as they were somewhat friendly under Owen's training, but briefly become antagonists when the Indominus rex was temporarily their new alpha, but they redeemed themselves when Blue, Echo and Delta reestablished their bond with Owen and tried to stop the Indominus. Blue becomes a supporting protagonist in the fifth film.
Notes and references
|Jurassic Park Dinosaurs|
|Brachiosaurus • Dilophosaurus • Gallimimus • Parasaurolophus • Triceratops • Tyrannosaurus rex • Velociraptor|
|Jurassic Park: The Game Dinosaurs|
|Compsognathus • Dilophosaurus • Herrerasaurus • Parasaurolophus • Pteranodon • Troodon • Triceratops • Tylosaurus • Tyrannosaurus rex • Velociraptor|
|The Lost World: Jurassic Park Dinosaurs|
|Compsognathus • Gallimimus • Mamenchisaurus • Pachycephalosaurus • Parasaurolophus • Pteranodon • Stegosaurus • Triceratops • Tyrannosaurus rex • Velociraptor|
|Jurassic Park III Dinosaurs|
|Ankylosaurus • Brachiosaurus • Ceratosaurus • Compsognathus • Corythosaurus • Parasaurolophus • Pteranodon • Spinosaurus • Stegosaurus • Triceratops • Tyrannosaurus rex • Velociraptor|
|Jurassic World Dinosaurs|
|Ankylosaurus • Apatosaurus • Dimorphodon • Gallimimus • Indominus rex • Mosasaurus • Pachycephalosaurus • Parasaurolophus • Pteranodon • Stegosaurus • Triceratops • Tyrannosaurus rex • Velociraptor|
|Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Dinosaurs|
|Allosaurus • Ankylosaurus • Apatosaurus • Baryonyx • Brachiosaurus • Carnotaurus • Compsognathus • Gallimimus • Indoraptor • Mosasaurus • Parasaurolophus • Pteranodon • Sinoceratops • Stegosaurus • Stygimoloch • Triceratops • Tyrannosaurus rex • Velociraptor|