The Alternate Ending to The Lost World Novel

Michael Crichton’s novel ‘The Lost World’ was released on September 30th, 1995, and was the sequel to his best selling novel ‘Jurassic Park’. However, this was not the only draft that the book went through, as recently what appears to be an early draft dated May 30th 1995 has surfaced, courtesy of AdventureCollectibles.

The primary change in this version is an entirely new ending chapter to the book, detailed ‘Caretaker’ which takes place over eight pages. The main point of divergence from the original novel, is that in this ending, the tunnel leading out of the convenience store leads to elsewhere in the worker village, into the residence of the only remaining resident of Isla Sorna, Elliot Wu- the brother of Henry Wu.

Elliot Wu is an all new character, mentioned nowhere in the final novel, and Henry Wu does not mention having a brother in Jurassic Park, either. Elliot Wu was the head of operations on Site B, deciding to stay on the island as it’s caretaker, presumably taking up lodging in the Manager’s residence, as the chapter describes his living quarters being moderately sized. He was visibly very frail, and it was unexplained how he had managed to survive for so long by himself. It was due to his intervention that the surviving members of Malcolm’s team were able to get to safety after escaping the Velociraptors.

Elliot serves as an author’s exposition, allowing for a character to be able to relay the events of Site B’s origins from a place of experience. Wu’s speech regarding prions and the impact it had on Site B leading to the prion disease, DX would later be reframed into the conversation between Malcolm’s group at the very end of the final novel. DX is also formally given a name in this version of the finale, called ‘Disease X’ or DX for short.

Elliot Wu also revealed that the DX did in fact infect people, causing an encephalitis on a scale of varying severity. However, he stated that to be infected it required bites or eating the flesh of an infected animal. Wu also confirmed that the encephalitis cases that had occurred on the Costa Rican mainland were the result of people eating the flesh of dinosaur carcasses that had washed up on the beaches.

After the characters leave Wu’s residence, the ending continues as normal, with the addition of a few references to Wu’s fate. This time however some of the conversation focuses on how the authorities might come and kill the dinosaurs rather then the animals slowly dying out due to the disease.

This alternate ending provides a fascinating glimpse into what might have been had Crichton chose to stick with this ending. However, what may have been the reason for it’s eventual exclusion are several logical inconsistencies involved, namely that of Elliot Wu’s survival for years on Isla Sorna.

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