John Raymond “Ray” Arnold was an African-American systems engineer who was employed by International Genetic Technologies, Inc. during the late 1980s and early 1990s for the construction and operation of Jurassic Park on Isla Nublar, Costa Rica. Most of his earlier career is unknown (though some can be surmised from his novel-canon counterpart).
He was on Isla Nublar at the time of the events in 1993 which halted the Jurassic Park project, being killed in an animal attack during the second day of the incident. He was one of several deaths reported during this multi-day affair; a lawsuit from his family, one of many, contributed to InGen’s financial crisis of the 1990s. Arnold in particular is remembered for having been one of the strongest driving forces in keeping the disaster under control, with his death occurring during an effort to restore the Park to some semblance of functionality.
The name John is English in origin, derived from the Hebrew Yochanan, meaning “God is gracious.” His middle name Raymond, often abbreviated to the nickname Ray, was adopted into English from French, and ultimately comes from the Germanic names Raginmund/Reginmund or Hraidmund meaning “counseling/famous protector.”
His surname, Arnold, also comes from Germanic languages. It originates from words meaning “eagle” and “to rule,” respectively, though in families with English origins it may reference places also called Arnold. European surnames became common in many African-American families because of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and this particular set of names implies that Ray Arnold’s family history is connected to central and northern Europe in particular. The actor chosen to portray him, Samuel L. Jackson, has partial ancestry with the Benga people; this may be the case with the character as well.
Ray Arnold was probably born in the United States. According to earlier Jurassic Park scripts, he was forty-five years old as of June 11, 1993, placing his date of birth between June 12, 1947 and June 11, 1948. His file in Jurassic World: Evolution describes him as an “everyman,” suggesting that he came from a modest socioeconomic background.
It is not known whether he began going primarily by his middle name before or after he was employed by John Hammond. Either he took up this convention and adopted the nickname Ray in order to avoid confusion with his employer, with whom many of his coworkers were on a first-name basis, or whether the fact that he did not use his first name was merely a coincidence.
At some point in his life, he began using cigarettes, a habit which he continued until his death. He pursued a career in engineering; most of the details of how he got into the field and his subsequent career path remain undisclosed.
Career at InGen
Sometime in the 1980s, Arnold was hired by International Genetic Technologies to become chief engineer on a major company project on the remote volcanic island of Isla Nublar, located in the Pacific near Costa Rica. He would eventually learn that this operation was a theme park, called Jurassic Park, which was being built to house animal and plant life that had been brought back from extinction via genetic engineering and cloning. At this moment, it is not known whether Arnold was hired before or after plans to build Jurassic Park in San Diego were abandoned in favor of the Isla Nublar locale.
Construction on Isla Nublar commenced in 1988, three years after the island was leased from Costa Rica and plans for the Park were relocated there. The Park’s centerpiece was the Visitors’ Centre, and its state-of-the-art control room was Arnold’s new base of operations. From here, he oversaw all development of the Park’s systems. Hammond was enamored with automated technology, as it reduced the need for workforce and alleviated costs. However, at that point in time it was a new field, and issues were common. Much of the technology used in the Park was so brand new and so integrated that glitches and errors could be completely unpredictable; Arnold and the other technicians fixed problems as they cropped up.
Aiding him in his efforts was Jurassic Park’s chief programmer Dennis Nedry, though Arnold and Nedry differed in many respects. Nedry was laid-back and sloppy, although his skills as a programmer were stellar. His personality clashed with Arnold’s no-nonsense approach to work. They often bickered, but keeping Jurassic Park afloat was a team effort. On the biological side of the Park were game warden Robert Muldoon and chief veterinarian Dr. Gerry Harding, who relied on Arnold and Nedry’s control over the Park’s technology in order to keep the animals contained and well-monitored. These animals were not only back from extinction; the genetic engineering techniques utilized by Dr. Henry Wu to bring them to life altered them from their original forms. This method cut costs and saved time, but yielded organisms that could have unpredictable traits. Animals started to arrive from the breeding facilities on nearby Isla Sorna within a year of construction starting.
Every aspect of keeping these animals was a challenge that tested Arnold’s abilities on a daily basis. They included diverse species ranging from the titanic herbivore Brachiosaurus to the apex predator Tyrannosaurus, and each animal had its own needs. Feeding them was a particular challenge: while the herbivores could be allowed to browse on whatever plant life naturally grew on Isla Nublar or was introduced by InGen, the carnivores needed larger quantities of meat than could be found from the wildlife of a small island. Furthermore, in order to reduce the risk of an escape, Dr. Wu had engineered a kind of kill switch into the animals; they were lysine-deficient, and would need regular supplements of lysine in their diets in order to avoid deleterious and eventually fatal health effects. Arnold oversaw the construction of feeding compounds for both the herbivores and carnivores, and food could be delivered to them via the underground maintenance tunnels. For example, in order to avoid the necessity of workers physically entering the tyrannosaur paddock and risking unnecessary death, a live goat tethered to a pole could be delivered into the paddock from underneath via hydraulic lift.
Keeping the animals contained was also an issue that needed to be solved on the fly, and Hammond’s requirements for the Park did not make it easier. He wanted to maximize visibility of the animals, so some attractions such as the Jungle River Cruise would take visitors alarmingly close to the dinosaurs. Most of the Park’s exhibits kept the animals away from visitors using tall electrified fences and concrete moats, but these were not universal throughout the Park; there were gaps in security all over, and Arnold needed to help Muldoon cover them. One way he enabled Muldoon and Security to keep tabs on the animals was using a system of motion-sensor trackers. All of the Park’s technology could be controlled from Arnold’s workstation.
Even the island itself was a challenge to overcome for Jurassic Park’s engineers. The Park ran on geothermal power, drawn from the slumbering volcanic heart of the island’s tallest mountain: the volcanic Mount Sibo, which had lain dormant since the sixteenth century. A power plant was installed inside a semi-active lava tube, presenting a number of safety risks, and incidents did sometimes occur there. By 1993, new control systems were installed in the power plant, and information about these was kept limited for security reasons. Arnold was one of a scarce few employees who knew how to operate it. The volcano was not in danger of erupting, but new lava rivers and steam vents were sometimes documented and presented serious hazards. Aside from magma and hot steam, the island could present dangers above in the form of its weather; harsh storms would occur during the rainy season, damaging infrastructure, hindering construction, and putting workers at risk.
And then, of course, there were certain animals that posed more of a danger than others. The Tyrannosaurus was an obvious threat, and though Isla Nublar housed only one specimen, it was the most impressive one the company had produced on Isla Sorna. Among the herbivorous dinosaurs they housed the confrontational Triceratops, with its long horns adding to the danger already posed by its sheer bulk. As the 1990s began, Dr. Wu produced a few more species, two of which were notable for their abnormal number of phenotypic anomalies. First was Dilophosaurus, a variety of small carnivore from the early Jurassic period. While its predatory nature was obvious from fossilized remains, InGen was surprised to learn that it produced venom that it used to incapacitate prey at a distance. Then, created in 1991, there was the Velociraptor. This was another small carnivore, originally existing during the Cretaceous period, but its size had been roughly doubled by Dr. Wu’s genetic engineering techniques. While the tourist appeal of bigger raptors was obvious, it also meant that they were proportionally stronger and faster, and therefore harder to control. Their intelligence was alarmingly high, which may have been a result of Dr. Wu’s techniques as well. The raptors worried Muldoon with their problem-solving skills, and Arnold’s team was hard-pressed to keep them satisfied in containment. Among all the creatures, the raptors tested the skill of InGen’s engineers more than any other.
Issues with the raptors only got worse with time. The Isla Nublar population was increased to eight, but the latest addition proved to be a highly aggressive and very dominant individual who seized control of the pack. In fights for dominance she killed all but two of her fellows, and these remaining three made a habit of challenging their keepers. At feeding time, they would launch themselves at the feeders, stopped only by the electrified fences Arnold’s team maintained. After several of these failed attacks, Muldoon noticed a pattern: the raptors never struck the same place on the fence twice. These were not random acts of aggression, but rather a systematic test of the fences’ integrity. Now certain that the raptors posed an immediate security risk to the Park, Muldoon gave the order to relocate them.
A small and highly secure holding pen was constructed near the visitor compound where InGen Security could keep a close eye on them. Arnold and his team of engineers were probably in charge of designing and building it, with specifications likely ordered by Muldoon and the Security officers. In early June of 1993, the raptors were tranquilized and transported in a cage via forklift to the pen. The cage was positioned on a rail which would allow it to roll smoothly right up to the pen gates, which would be opened to accept it. Once the cage was flush with the gates, a designated gatekeeper would open the gate to the cage and allow the raptors into their new habitat. Muldoon selected Jophery Brown as gatekeeper. The operation went as planned until the release: instead of leaving the cage, the raptors rammed the rear of the cage and caused it to roll back away from the pen gate. Using the opening they created, they were able to seize Brown, and despite Muldoon’s best efforts, the man was mauled to death.
Such a tragedy weighed on all of the InGen employees at the Park, and probably especially Arnold since the raptors had bested his design to fatal effect. There was no time for mourning, though. InGen’s Board of Directors demanded that all major construction be halted pending investigation, as the accident had led to a $20,000,000 lawsuit from Brown’s family and InGen’s investors were growing concerned. As the Board investigated the state of the Park and dealt with the fallout resulting from Brown’s death, Arnold would have been reduced to overseeing day-to-day operations and the minor construction that continued on structures such as the Visitors’ Centre. This did not make his job any easier; glitches and other errors persisted in abundance. Arnold was known to comment that Jurassic Park had all the problems of a major theme park as well as a major zoo.
Meanwhile, the Board had a plan to soothe InGen’s investors as well as their own concerns. Hammond would have to prove that the Park was still viable by assembling a team of outside experts to tour it and give their endorsements. InGen’s legal consultant Donald Gennaro was brought on to represent the company’s investors, and he hired famous mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm as one of the experts. The Board had wanted paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant, as well as a geologist to review the geothermal power plant; Arnold would have been an important staff member in such an investigation but Gennaro convinced the Board that the geologist would not be needed. Grant had benefited from funding provided by InGen for some time, and while he was difficult to recruit, Hammond managed to convince him to join the team. Hammond also extended the invitation to Grant’s colleague and romantic partner, paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler, who accepted. Finally, Hammond’s grandchildren Lex and Tim Murphy were invited to the island during their parents’ divorce to represent Jurassic Park’s target audience. All members of the tour group arrived to Isla Nublar on June 11.
1993 incident, death, and legacy
Arnold remained in the control room during the endorsement tour, and alongside Muldoon he kept track of the changing conditions on the island. Most of the staff members would be taking shore leave that weekend; Hammond would be staying with the guests, and Arnold would remain on Isla Nublar along with Nedry and Muldoon. This constituted the Park’s absolute essential staff members only. Arnold announced over the Park’s PA system the scheduled time of departure for the last boat off Isla Nublar, the cargo ship C-3208, at 7:00pm local time that day. Staff members were expected to be on board by the time of departure. Meanwhile, the endorsement tour took an unscheduled detour from their itinerary to see the laboratory in the Visitors’ Centre, meaning they got only a brief glimpse of Arnold and Nedry’s work in the control room (which was an intended part of the Park’s guided introductory tour). After the lab, the tour group traveled to the raptor pen, and then returned to the Centre for lunch; after this point the Murphy children joined them.
Arnold oversaw the launching of the Park’s first road tour, summoning two electric Ford Explorer vehicles (EXP 04 and 05) from the Centre’s garage to provide the guests with their transport through the Park. The tour was initiated despite the possibility of inclement weather, as Muldoon received word from the National Weather Service that a tropical storm was approaching Isla Nublar. Control room staff hoped that the storm would pass south of the island, following a similar path to the previous storm. As the tour program sent the guests through the Park’s entrance gates, Arnold took note of the program’s conditions; already there was a problem. The vehicles’ headlights were on, despite it being broad daylight in the mid-afternoon, and they were not responding to remote commands. This was the 151st item on that day’s glitch list. Nedry declined to debug the tour program while it was running, opting to wait until it concluded.
Fortunately, the tour itself was mostly uneventful, though two of the dinosaurs (the Dilophosaurus and Tyrannosaurus) failed to make appearances. Arnold even attempted to lure the tyrannosaur out of the forest by presenting her with a goat from the Park’s feeder system, but this was without success. While the tour passed the northern Triceratops paddock, the control room staff witnessed the guests suddenly depart the vehicles one by one and enter the field; Arnold halted the tour program as Muldoon lamented the vehicles’ lack of remotely-controlled door locks. The guests joined Dr. Gerry Harding in the field as he treated a sick Triceratops that Muldoon had tranquilized earlier, delaying the tour. In the meantime, the tropical storm overtook the island, making it unsafe to continue the tour and necessitating that C-3208 make an early departure. Arnold advised all nonessential Park staff to leave for the East Dock immediately and rerouted the tour vehicles on a track loop, allowing them to return to the Visitors’ Centre by the same route they came from. Sattler was the only member of the tour group not to return via Explorer, opting to remain with Dr. Harding and assist him; she was driven back to the Centre by Dr. Harding in his Jeep later.
Nedry, showing signs of apparent stress, announced to his coworkers that he would be going to buy a soda from the Centre’s vending machines; he also warned them that the computers’ security systems were compiling files and might briefly turn off. No one paid this any heed, trusting that Nedry knew what he was doing. After he left, the security systems did indeed turn off, but it was not brief: they did not turn on again. Arnold was unable to reactivate them as Nedry had not disclosed the password. The tour program halted too, leaving the vehicles stalled and unable to communicate with the Centre. All they could tell from the control room was that the vehicles had last been located near the tyrannosaur paddock on their return route.
Dr. Sattler was returned to the Centre by Dr. Harding, but the others were still unaccounted for, including Hammond’s grandchildren. Hammond requested that Muldoon take a Jeep and retrieve them, and Dr. Sattler accompanied. They did not meet with success on their mission. Though the storm was passing, Jurassic Park’s problems had just begun. At the cars’ last known location, they found a severely wounded Dr. Malcolm among the ruins of an outhouse, and scattered about it were Gennaro’s dismembered remains. Only one car had been sighted initially; Dr. Sattler had discovered the wreckage of the other pushed over an embankment near the paddock border, and the tyrannosaur herself was confirmed to have escaped. Sattler and Muldoon reported that they had seen footprints leading away from the car wreck which implied Dr. Grant and the children had survived, but they were unaccounted for. Electric fences were shut down, though the raptor pen was unaffected (as Muldoon made absolutely sure to have Arnold check).
Nedry had not come back, and it was increasingly obvious that they had seen the last of him. He had become dissatisfied with his job, as Hammond had required him to work extra hours without compensation and he had often expressed the feeling that he was not appreciated at all. Clearly he had sabotaged the Park in order to steal trade secrets for one of InGen’s many rivals. Arnold sought ways to undo the damage, but without Nedry’s password, there was no real hope of reactivating the security systems. However, Arnold did discover the source of the problem. It was a command code disguised as an .obj file, whte_rbt.obj, which had turned off Nedry’s keystroke logging. This enabled him to turn off security cameras and other technologies so that he could execute his plan undetected, but it had left the Park guests and staff vulnerable to danger too. Arnold had determined all this by morning and explained it to Hammond, Muldoon, Sattler, and Malcolm; he explained that with two million lines of code in the Jurassic Park system, going through them each one by one would take too long; they needed a faster solution. There were two options here: they could either wait for the lysine contingency to render the animals comatose, or restart the power to erase Nedry’s actions. The lysine contingency would kill all of the animals but would take days to take effect. On the other hand, restarting the power would be a quick fix, but it was an untested solution. Hammond insisted that it was their best option, and Arnold reluctantly agreed to do it.
They shut down power to the Park from the Visitors’ Centre control room, but upon flipping the switches again, power was not restored. Arnold had warned them that he was unsure whether the power would come back on at all. Fortunately, the computers did reboot; all was not lost, as the power shutdown had simply tripped the circuit breakers. Arnold was again reluctant to go out into the Park, but the circuit breakers were located in the maintenance shed across the compound and the maintenance tunnels had not been excavated this far south yet. He departed to reset the breakers, which would restore power to the entire Park and enable them to reactivate the security systems. Everyone else took shelter in the emergency bunker, the most defensible position in the compound, to await his return.
This was the last anyone saw of Ray Arnold, and what happened to him after he left for the shed is mostly conjecture. To get there, he would have had to pass by the raptor pen. Shutting down the Park’s power meant shutting down the raptor fences, and the animals were now capable of escaping; Arnold was hunted as he entered the maintenance shed, with the troublesome alpha raptor personally following him inside. He was stalked all the way to the circuit breakers and was attacked before he could begin the process of resetting them. Some time after he failed to return to the bunker, Dr. Sattler and Muldoon followed in his footsteps; Muldoon perished in the effort, also killed by the raptors, but Sattler did reach the breakers and reset them successfully. She discovered Arnold’s mostly-intact right arm and leg, which were torn out of their sockets, as well as the raptor that had killed him. The raptor pursued her out of the shed.
It is unknown what happened to Arnold’s remains. With only one way in or out of the maintenance shed, and with the raptors that had hunted him dead by the end of the incident, no scavenging animals would have found his body; it may have been recoverable in 1994 when InGen investigated the island. Although he is one of the few of the incident’s victims whose body might have been able to be removed from Isla Nublar for burial, it is unlikely that his remains were in any state fit for presentation, as he had already been dismembered and would have heavily decomposed in the humid tropical climate. Arnold’s family sued InGen for wrongful death, with the company being forced to pay out US $23,000,000. This contributed to the large number of lawsuits aimed at InGen after the 1993 incident, which pushed the company to the edge of bankruptcy and resulted in Hammond being fired. The company continued to flounder until it was bought out by Masrani Global Corporation in 1998.
Under the wing of its new parent company, Jurassic Park was revived and rebranded as Jurassic World, with the new management attempting to distance itself from the old Park’s notorious and shady legacy. While most of the old infrastructure had either decayed or been deconstructed, some aspects of it remained. InGen repurposed some of the buildings and assets while retaining others, such as the maintenance tunnels and some of the radio bunkers, in close to their original states. The Visitors’ Centre itself was planned to be rebuilt into a tourist attraction celebrating the old Park and the people who had built it, but these plans were abandoned due to publicity fears. Arnold’s legacy was left cordoned off in a restricted area of the new park; the Visitors’ Centre did outlast Jurassic World, remaining where it had been built until it was destroyed by volcanic activity in 2018.
A greatly skilled engineer, Arnold was able to design and oversee the construction of not only infrastructure and power systems but also mechanical and computer technology. He had a hand in all of Jurassic Park’s systems and architecture, and was an effective team leader to InGen’s engineers. Arnold was one of only a small number of employees who knew the operating procedure for the geothermal plant. The Park did have many issues, but Arnold was well aware of them: it is more likely that, rather than these being mistakes on his part, they were a result of Hammond’s unrealistic specifications and the challenges of housing unknown animals. In one example, the tyrannosaur paddock was partly surrounded by a concrete moat, but not entirely; a section of it was flush with the ground on which the tour road rested in order to maximize the animal’s visibility as it fed. The feeder was connected to the maintenance tunnels, allowing food to be dispensed from a safe position and minimizing the time workers would have to spend within the paddock. This unpredictable mixture of good ideas and obvious failures was a constant characteristic of Jurassic Park, a demonstration of the internal conflict between top minds such as Arnold’s and the whims of InGen’s overly optimistic CEO.
While the 1993 incident was blamed on engineering and automation failures, the reality is that the tropical storm did little more than minor infrastructural damage to Jurassic Park facilities and delay Park procedure. The real damage was due to sabotage, conducted by one of the few employees who knew Park systems as well as Arnold himself. Arnold actually opposed Hammond’s plan to undo the damage by rebooting the Park’s power, since this had never been done and it was not known if it would really work. Arnold executed the plan at Hammond’s insistence, despite the risk. From here, Arnold was the one who came up with the next step of the reboot process; the power shutdown tripped the circuit breakers, and he knew how to reset them. Unfortunately, here he made his one true blunder; he failed to recognize that the shutdown would likely have deactivated any remaining security systems left running after the sabotage, including the fences of the raptor pen which lay in between the emergency bunker and maintenance shed. Having not considered this, he did not arm himself. This misstep led to his demise.
Although Dennis Nedry was Jurassic Park’s chief programmer, Ray Arnold was no slouch when it came to computer programming either, and he was the second-most knowledgeable person at the Park with regards to the code. This was in part because all of the hardware he designed was meant to interplay with the software Nedry and the other programmers wrote, from the guided tour’s electric vehicles to the motion sensors that tracked the dinosaurs. Despite his skill, Arnold would still have to rely on his coworkers to manage Jurassic Park’s two million lines of code, and would defer to Nedry’s knowledge for resolving most glitches and other programming errors.
Arnold was a habitual chain-smoker and was seldom seen without a cigarette in his mouth. Although he was not exceptionally athletic, he was not weak by any means and had not yet suffered any obvious deleterious health effects from his nicotine habits.
Ray Arnold was not a man who liked to take risks, which put him in stark contrast to Hammond’s ambitious entrepreneurial spirit. Jurassic Park was inherently a high-risk, high-reward enterprise, the opposite of the kind of business practices Arnold favored, and he did his best to bring a sense of levelheadedness and common sense to the Park. His no-nonsense attitude benefited the whole endeavor as it helped to keep the enthusiasm of Hammond and other employees such as Dr. Wu in check, balancing them with caution and criticism. Arnold understood that Jurassic Park was going to be a hard job and took it very seriously, considering Hammond and other overly-eager members of InGen to be more of a hindrance than a help; he would have preferred a slower but safer approach that would have allowed them to fix problems at a manageable pace. Instead, he was stuck resolving issues while they continuously piled up faster than he could address them. Arnold was clearly stressed by this, but maintained his composure nonetheless.
Despite being employed in a de-extinction theme park, Ray Arnold had little to say about the morality of cloning extinct animals. Working with them every day probably wore down their novelty over time. Arnold’s task was to use the Park’s technology to keep animals and workers safe and maintain security, so his relationship with the creatures was that of a manager. He seldom saw the dinosaurs themselves except over the surveillance cameras and while overseeing maintenance operations. Like with most things in life, Arnold seems to have taken a very practical view of the creatures InGen brought to life: they were a responsibility, not just a resource. He respected the scientific achievement that they represented, but understood better than many of his coworkers that managing the dinosaurs would come with a not-insignificant amount of hard work.
Not much is known about the Arnold family, but Ray Arnold is suggested to have come from a modest middle-class background based on his description in the Jurassic World: Evolution database where he is referred to as an everyman. After his death, the cause of which was probably covered up to preserve Jurassic Park’s secrecy, his family sued InGen for twenty-three million dollars.
Dr. John Parker Alfred Hammond
Ray Arnold’s final employer during his life was the Scottish entrepreneur Dr. John Hammond, one of InGen’s founders and the man behind Jurassic Park. Arnold was one of Hammond’s most trusted employees, tasked with overseeing all of the engineering projects that made the Park possible; everything from the genetics labs to the guest accommodations was Arnold’s handiwork. However, they did not have a perfect working relationship. Hammond was an ambitious, enthusiastic man, eager to see Jurassic Park come to fruition and begin accepting guests as soon as possible. While money did play a role in this haste, Hammond was a showman at heart, and much of the rush was really due to his desire to expose the Park to the public and entertain people from around the world.
Arnold did not share Hammond’s extreme ambition, nor his hurry to open the Park. Instead, Arnold was cautious, wanting to resolve all of their engineering and biological problems before bringing in visitors. He was perpetually aware of all the Park’s ongoing issues, since his job encompassed virtually every task the Park needed done; everything ultimately came down to engineering. Hammond trusted Arnold completely, but they disagreed fundamentally on how Park development should proceed. In deleted scenes, Hammond also admonished Arnold’s chain-smoking habit, being concerned about his chief engineer’s health.
Despite their differences, Arnold and Hammond had to cooperate during the 1993 incident that doomed the Park. With their chief programmer Dennis Nedry turning corporate spy, Arnold was Hammond’s best shot at getting Jurassic Park under some semblance of control. They were aided by Robert Muldoon, the other remaining member of the senior staff left for the weekend. Arnold did not see much action, nor did Hammond; the two of them stayed in the control room of the Visitors’ Centre for most of the incident and tried to undo the damage from Nedry’s sabotage. Arnold himself admitted that without Nedry’s expertise, he could not get the Park back online; still Hammond trusted him to save them. Their plan to restore the Park turned to unconventional methods. There was a theoretical possibility they had not tried: turning off the Park’s power completely, then turning it back on again. When the computers rebooted, it would be without the “white rabbit” command Nedry had executed. Then they could restore the security systems. Arnold did not think this chance at success was worth the risk, arguing with Hammond, but ultimately it was their best option. When the power did not restart on command, Arnold had to go to the maintenance shed to reset the circuit breakers, which he deduced had been tripped by the power shutdown. Hammond trusted him to do so one final time, but at this last task Arnold failed, having not realized that the complete shutdown meant that the Velociraptors could escape. He was hunted down by them and killed, having almost made it to the breakers.
After his death, a lawsuit from his family pushed InGen toward bankruptcy, culminating with Hammond being fired from the company.
Dennis T. Nedry
Arnold may have been a good programmer, but he still came in second to Dennis Nedry, the chief programmer at Jurassic Park. He and Nedry shared equal amounts of authority and would have had to cooperate on numerous projects to ensure that the Park was running properly. While Arnold was best when it came to hardware, the computer code that made it all work was Nedry’s domain.
Work at the Park was difficult and sometimes could be unforgiving. Arnold felt challenged by his work, but Nedry grew more dissatisfied, feeling as though it was a thankless job and believing himself unappreciated. This affected all of Nedry’s working relationships, including his relationship with Ray Arnold. Nedry would often complain, and by the early 1990s he had begun slacking off when he felt as though he had worked enough. Arnold became frustrated with his coworker’s lack of seriousness and often argued with him. Glitches and other errors in Park programs still abounded, and Arnold brought these up to Nedry throughout each day; this further irritated Nedry, who became ever more obstinate in return. Nedry’s dissatisfaction came to a head in 1993, when he accepted a bribe from a rival company to steal trade secrets from InGen.
Arnold, like the other InGen employees, was naturally unaware of Nedry’s betrayal. When Nedry left the Visitors’ Centre control room allegedly to get a soda from the vending machines, Arnold paid this no heed, and accepted Nedry’s explanation that the computer systems were compiling and some programs might temporarily turn off and restart. When they did not turn back on, and Nedry did not return, Arnold attempted to intervene, but was unable to turn the systems back on. He fully admitted that only Nedry could get the Park back up and running. It soon became obvious that Nedry had never gone to the vending machines and was instead up to no good; Arnold worked tirelessly to undo the damage that his disgruntled coworker had wrought, but only by turning all of the Park’s power off could he begin to reset the systems. Unfortunately, turning the power off completely allowed the Velociraptors a chance to escape containment, which resulted in Arnold’s death. Nedry had probably not intended for Arnold or any of his other coworkers to actually die, since he had believed that he had enough time to reactivate the Park before real damage was done, but his self-serving act of sabotage nevertheless led to Arnold’s demise.
One of Arnold’s close coworkers was Jurassic Park’s game warden, Robert Muldoon, with whom he shared a serious and cautious approach to work. If anything, though, Muldoon was even more serious than Arnold, especially after he observed worrying behaviors among the Velociraptors. Keeping them contained was a collaborative effort between InGen’s animal handlers and engineers; initially the dinosaurs were managed in a large paddock area meant to simulate their natural habitat, with electric fences, motion sensors, and other restraining technologies in place to prevent them from escaping. The other dinosaurs were also kept in paddocks, each with their own specifications for the species held within. Arnold and Muldoon would have had to cooperate in order to accomplish this. For the most part, they seem to have gotten along decently, though Muldoon grew weary of Arnold and Nedry’s bickering.
In early June of 1993, the raptors were relocated from their paddock to a small holding pen where they could be more easily managed; Muldoon oversaw the relocation. The pen was most likely designed by Arnold and built by the engineers and construction workers under his authority. Unfortunately, the raptors provided a chaotic element that neither man nor machine properly accounted for. Due to behaviors that no one had predicted, the raptors were able to maul a worker to death, and construction on the Park slowed to a halt. Muldoon took this death hard, having personally failed to rescue the worker; he seems to have blamed himself for underestimating the raptors rather than blaming Arnold’s designs for the pen and cage mechanisms.
A test-run of Jurassic Park was necessary to calm InGen’s investors and ensure they did not pull out of the project, and experts picked by the Board formed part of this tour group. Arnold and Muldoon both oversaw parts of the tour, but neither were present when the tour stalled near the tyrannosaur paddock due to Nedry sabotaging the security systems. Arnold worked overnight trying to get the Park back online, but Nedry was simply too skilled a programmer; Muldoon was prepared to support Arnold in whatever way he needed during his efforts. The second day of the incident, Arnold reluctantly followed through with a plan concocted by Hammond to reboot the Park, but shutting the power off tripped the circuit breakers; to finish the process he would need to reset the breakers. Arnold went alone, too engrossed with their plan to realize that the raptor fences could have been turned off along with everything else. Muldoon also failed to consider this possibility; he did not recognize it until he directly observed evidence of the raptors escaping. By this time, Arnold had already been killed, and Muldoon followed shortly after.
Other InGen employees
As chief engineer, Arnold would have been tasked with overseeing the development of Jurassic Park’s technological systems and would have worked with other engineers, construction workers, technicians, foremen, and other InGen associates to get the Park built and running. His job was relevant not only to the technical side of Park development but also to everyone else who worked there, from the scientists working under Dr. Henry Wu to the janitors under the leadership of Artie Bridges. Engineering at the Park enabled different teams to coordinate with each other, ensuring that the Park could continue running smoothly. Arnold’s voice was often the one heard over the public announcement system, relaying vital information in a straightforward no-nonsense manner to everyone on Isla Nublar. Arnold’s serious style of leadership contrasted with Hammond’s whimsical attitude, Wu’s ego, and Muldoon’s paranoia, providing a grounding voice of reasonable authority to reassure the Park employees.
Although he was essential to the Park’s development and operation, Arnold’s working relationships are not well-known. It is most likely that he knew InGen co-founder Sir Benjamin Lockwood (who left the company in the early 1990s) and the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Peter Ludlow. His insights into the Park security technologies would have been irreplaceable to not just Muldoon and InGen Security but to the animals’ caretakers as well, such as the veterinarians working with Dr. Gerry Harding; keeping the dinosaurs healthy and satisfied was just as important as keeping them contained. Their dietary needs were paramount, especially as they were engineered to have an added need for supplemental lysine. Arnold does not seem to have been particularly close with InGen’s original chief geneticist Dr. Laura Sorkin, as he did not disclose to her the geothermal plant operating procedures despite her interest and she mistakenly believed his surname to be Allen. He also does not appear to have helped her much, if at all, with her research projects.
The death of worker Jophery Brown during the raptor relocation was partly Arnold’s fault, since he was probably the one who designed the pen and transport cage used during the operation. There was no mechanism in place to lock the cage down once it was aligned with the pen’s gates, which was what allowed the raptors to ram the rear wall and roll the cage away from the gate. While Muldoon took this death very personally as he had been the one attempting to rescue Brown, so far Arnold’s feelings about the incident are not known. Brown’s death caused the Board to halt construction on the Park until InGen’s investors could be soothed by endorsements from outside experts.
Arnold’s last communication to the rest of InGen’s Jurassic Park staff was an announcement about the impending departure of C-3208, the last ship to the mainland on June 11, 1993. The ship was scheduled to depart at 7:00pm local time, but left early due to inclement weather. Arnold died the following day during the 1993 incident while minimal staff were present on the island; many of his coworkers would probably not learn about his death until later on June 12 or possibly even June 13, and his cause of death may not have been disclosed to everyone he worked with.
It is not known for certain when Ray Arnold became aware of what his job at Jurassic Park was truly about, but by the time the Park came under construction in 1988, InGen had already succeeded at resurrecting multiple species of Mesozoic animals and plants. Building suitable habitats to keep these animals not only contained but satisfied was of paramount importance at the Park, and many of the creatures were highly demanding. No one had ever seen them alive before, and they were genetically modified, adding another element of unpredictability to their needs and behavior patterns. Arnold would have had to work with InGen’s animal handlers to learn what each species required and aid in designing the Park’s infrastructure with that in mind.
At the time of the 1993 incident, there were numerous animals on exhibit. These included some of the Park’s oldest residents such as the Triceratops and Brachiosaurus; while these were herbivores, they presented their own challenges, such as one particular trike which was chronically ill. The Parasaurolophus, herd-dwelling hadrosaurs, were among the other herbivorous dinosaurs. The oldest carnivorous species on the island was Tyrannosaurus rex; while the Park was planned to house an adult and a juvenile, only the adult (InGen’s first successfully-hatched specimen) was present in 1993. Plant species, such as a Cretaceous species of veriforman, were also cloned and introduced to the island. There were also classified species, including the pterosaur Pteranodon and the mosasaur Tylosaurus; these were not on the island’s official species list as they were slated for a later reveal, but Arnold, as the Park’s chief engineer, was privy to information that other employees were not. The only species on the island he was probably unaware of were the Compsognathus, whose presence was unplanned, and the Troodons, which were supposedly all euthanized at Hammond’s orders following the Board’s review of the island.
More recent arrivals as of 1993 included four smaller theropods: Gallimimus, Dilophosaurus, Velociraptor, and Herrerasaurus. The dilophosaurs were a serious challenge, as they were among the species that presented a wholly unexpected biological trait. They could produce venom and spit it at their prey from a distance. While the specimens in the Park at that time were all juveniles, they were already deadly. Workers had to be reminded to wear eye protection while around this dinosaur. The raptors were another issue; their extremely high intelligence, another genetic engineering effect, meant that they were well aware of their captive status and none too happy about it. The raptors perpetually sought to escape, especially after a particularly dominant individual took over the pride. During this time, the raptors fought savagely for dominance until only three remained; more were shipped in from Isla Sorna to replace them, but ultimately Hammond decided to scrap the raptor attraction altogether and populate it with the less intelligent Herrerasaurus instead.
The decision to take the raptors off exhibit was the result of their escape attempts, which ended up with the raptors being relocated to a small pen where InGen could better keep an eye on them. Arnold was probably tasked with designing this pen. While the raptors were being relocated, they made another escape effort and mauled a worker to death, bringing the Park’s construction to a grinding halt as the Board conducted an inspection. To move the Park forward, InGen’s investors and the Board wanted experts to give their endorsement; Arnold guided this tour along, attempting to show the visitors the Park’s animals. During the tour, power was cut and the program halted, placing the tour group in danger while security systems were deactivated. Arnold was a part of the effort to restore control and rescue the imperiled visitors along with his fellow staff members; unfortunately he would die in this effort. The leader of the three raptors, which he had unwittingly released by resetting the Park’s power, tracked him into the maintenance shed and killed him.
Endorsement tour group
When a fatal mauling caused InGen’s investors to become nervous about the Park’s future, the Board of Directors worked to assemble a tour group to visit the Park and, if impressed, give their endorsements. This would allow progress to resume. The group consisted of lawyer Donald Gennaro (who represented InGen’s investors), mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm, paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant, and paleobotanist Dr. Ellie Sattler. Joining the group were Hammond’s grandchildren Lex and Tim Murphy, who represented Jurassic Park’s target audience. The group would have originally included a geologist to review the geothermal plant, but at Gennaro’s insistence the geologist’s invitation was revoked.
The group arrived on June 11, 1993 for the tour, which Arnold oversaw. His engineering expertise was what had brought the whole tour program together and it was now seeing its first-ever guests, and he tried to impress them with the Park’s animals. Unfortunately, the animals themselves were uncooperative, with the dilophosaurs and tyrannosaur failing to show (even when he set out food for the tyrannosaur). When a sick Triceratops was visible from the tour cars, the guests made an unscheduled departure, forcing Arnold to halt the tour program as the tourists wandered into the field to ogle the ailing dinosaur. During the delay, a tropical storm hit the island, and the remainder of the tour was put off until the following day. Among the tour group, all but Dr. Sattler returned to the vehicles, with Arnold turning them around on a track loop to bring them back the way they had come. While they returned, Dr. Sattler was driven back to the Visitors’ Centre by veterinarian Dr. Gerry Harding.
Arnold had been in contact with the tourists over the Park’s public announcement system, but as the vehicles were passing the tyrannosaur paddock the communications were cut. This rendered Arnold unable to reach them, and with the radios out, the tourists could not reach the Visitors’ Centre either. Arnold, therefore, could not warn them about the security systems being deactivated and the peril they were immediately placed in. The goat that Arnold had previously placed out to lure the tyrannosaur into view now did its job, but at such an inopportune time; the dinosaur realized that its paddock fence was turned off and escaped, killing Gennaro and wounding Malcolm. Sattler was returned to the Centre in the meantime, so she was the only member of the group that Arnold met in person.
Sattler aided the Jurassic Park staff members in trying to restore control and rescue the others, returning to the Centre after a reconnaissance mission with Muldoon and having rescued Malcolm. Computers were not her area of expertise, but she provided whatever help she could as Arnold worked around the clock to undo the sabotage. During the second day of the incident, Arnold shut off all of the Park’s power at Hammond’s request, hoping that turning it back on from this state would reactivate it without the harmful programs which had shut the security systems off. He did not quite make it to the breakers; his attempt came at the heavy cost of his own life. When he did not return to the emergency bunker, Dr. Sattler and Muldoon followed in his footsteps; Muldoon was also killed, and Sattler nearly met the same fate. Ultimately it was Sattler who reset the breakers and turned the Park’s power back on. Once the power was restored, Lex Murphy was able to turn the security systems on again from the Park’s control room. The job Arnold had started was now complete, but by this time, physical damage to the Park and the deaths of senior staff members doomed the project.
Ray Arnold is portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson. He is loosely based on the character John Arnold in Michael Crichton‘s novel. While his role is small, he is beloved by many fans, with his iconic catchphrase “Hold on to your butts” being a favorite quote.
His middle name, Raymond, was not in the novel and was added for the film to help prevent confusion between Arnold and Hammond, whose first names are both John. Jurassic Park: The Game gives his last name, or possibly another middle name, as “Allen.” This was probably an oversight, but as the game is considered soft-canon (that is, some elements can be considered film canon while others are alternative canon within the game at the discretion of NBC Universal and consultants), it is no longer an issue. It can also be thought of as an in-universe error owing to the character of Dr. Sorkin, who uses the incorrect name, simply not knowing Arnold particularly well.