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Sam Neill Just Debunked One of Our Favorite Jurassic Park Theories

The Jurassic Park actor, who returns for Jurassic World Dominion, spoke about one small moment in the original film.

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Alan Grant (Sam Neill) in Jurassic Park.
Sam Neill as Alan Grant in Jurassic Park.
Screenshot: Universal

In Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film Jurassic Park, life finds a way. An island comprised entirely of female dinosaurs finds a way to create new life when some of the creatures spontaneously change sex. It’s a crucial plot point and, according to a popular theory, it’s teased near the beginning of the film.

As the main characters arrive on Jurassic Park via helicopter, they experience some turbulence. Everyone grabs their seatbelts for safety except Dr. Alan Grant, played by Sam Neill, who can’t find both ends. He only finds two of the same end—sometimes referred to as the female ends—and because he’s unable to buckle in, he ties them together. It’s a funny moment that some people have theorized foreshadows what happens later: that two female beings find a way to become one and create something new. But was that the intention of director Spielberg? Sam Neill, the man who actually tied the seatbelts, says no.


“I don’t think it had any great metaphorical sense,” Neill told io9 with a laugh. “No, I don’t think it was meant that way. It was just about Alan Grant hates technology. He hates computers. He hates anything to do with the modern world and the seatbelt, which you’d think it’d be relatively straightforward. But I’d been on helicopters going, ‘Where the hell is the other bit of this?’

Alan grant with two same sides of seatbelt
I don’t care what Sam says, I still believe it’s foreshadowing.
Screenshot: Universal

That could have been the end of the topic, but Neill was fascinated by the question. It seemed like it may have been the first time he’d ever heard the theory. “That’s interesting,” he said. “This is the sort of thing that happens on the internet. That there’s two female parts? That’s hilarious.” But it didn’t stop there. “Also I never quite understood that ‘This is the female end and that’s the male end,’” Neill added. “It’s sort of plumbing thing, isn’t it? Why do pipes and things have to be given sexes? [Laughs].” Suffice to say, while audience members can, and will, choose to believe the intentions of the scene, the actor in the scene at the very least had no idea.

We’ll have much, much more from Neill in the coming days. Did he think Jurassic Park would endure? Was he skeptical about coming back for Dominion? And how many times has he seen the original? All that and more soon. And then, you can see Neill as Alan Grant in Jurassic World Dominion, out June 10.

Here’s the scene from the film, cued up to the seatbelt moment. What do you think?

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.