One of the key aspects of Jurassic Park is usually lost in the films; in favour of people being eaten by Dinosaurs: that key aspect is Ingen! InGen (International Genetics, with the addition of either Incorporated or Technologies) is a very interesting (at least to me) organisation. Very little is known about the company except through what is described in the books and what is shown in the films. In the films they are first off shown as a company founded by John Hammond to build the original park and more importantly handle the cloning and creation of dinosaurs. This is the key aspect of Jurassic Park of course as Dinosaurs don’t exist today (as far as we know), and it’s through technology, not necessarily discovery which leads to the dinosaurs re-birth. As the film series evolved, Ingen became not just the background organisation of the park, but a major antagonist in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and then in Jurassic World became something more of a security division within the company’s eventual buyer.
Ingen as a company in the film series is pretty limited, but it does have a bit more of a background in Michael Crichton‘s original novel. In the novels it is described as being a tech start-up which was spawned off a research team including Dr. Henry Wu (BD Wong) which had successfully cloned an extinct animal (supposedly a Quagga) in the 1980’s. John Hammond (Richard Attenborough) used this success to invite investors into a project which was to create a one-of-a-kind zoo of sorts featuring extinct species. Whilst the company was supposedly based in Palo Alto in California (with a branch in Europe), most of the research was eventually transferred to a couple of islands off Costa Rica. Isla Nublar was where the park was built, whilst Isla Sorna acted as a breeding ground of sorts for the animals, where they would then be transferred to the main island for exhibition.
Little else is known about the companies early history than that, except for a few incidents recorded in the first five chapters of the novel, which includes an incident where a worker was injured by an unknown species; despite the workers mentioning Raptors. In the film of Jurassic Park, there is little to suggest anything more either, except for the mention of a plan for a second park in Europe currently under construction, plus a few rides about to go live. It was though due to an incident involving a Raptor that led to some people checking out the island for safety reasons before it was due to open; and we all know what happened then.
After the incident at the park, Ingen was forced to shut down the project, plus settle a few lawsuits as indicated in a deleted scene from The Lost World. Evidence suggested that while struggling financially, Ingen did have some success in creating a ‘new plant‘ that gained world-wide attention. However, due to a hurricane which tore through the facilities on Isla Sorna, plus everything else, in the film’s John Hammond became an environmentalist and was against building a new park. This of course did not sit well with the board at Ingen, who after a massive stock drop plus some negative financial reports kicked Hammond out as CEO, and appointed his nephew Peter Ludlow (Arliss Howard) in his stead.
Ludlow set out on a plan to try to rebuild the company. Instead of building a new park, he revisited an old idea by the company. The idea was not to build a zoo, but to have an amphitheater for people to visit. Construction had begun, but when he changed his idea to an island, construction of the partially built complex came to an end. Ludlow decided that rather than people travelling to a zoo, the zoo should be brought to them, and had restarted construction on the old amphitheater in San Diego. He then took a large team of hunters and trackers led by Roland Tembo (Pete Postlethwaite) to Isla Sorna to catch and collect dinosaurs to be taken to the new complex. Whilst hampered by some other people sent by Hammond to disrupt Ludlow’s team, Ludlow’s team was successful in capturing an adult Tyrannosaur and it’s child. That however ended badly as the T-Rex got loose and went on a rampage through San Diego.
After that point Ingen’s history is pretty bleak and dry. One year after the San Diego incident, John Hammond passed away and the company was bought out by Simon Masrani‘s (Irrfan Khan) company and set to work with rebuilding the original Jurassic Park and to that end opened Jurassic World. There is some evidence to suggest that a group of scientists from Ingen did descend upon Isla Sorna around 1999 to perform some more experiments creating new dinosaurs in the process such as the Spinosaurus. However most of the island’s population was eventually moved off Sorna to be housed at the new Jurassic World leaving Sorna virtually a deserted island. Ingen’s role in the film series from here on is pretty non-existent. Their appearance in Jurassic World is very limited, and though while it’s techniques would continue to be used for the new park, this was much under the watchful eyes of their new owners, the Masrani Corporation. Ingen’s only real existence beyond this was as a security division brought onto the island to try to clean up the mess caused by a rogue creature.
Ingen is a very interesting company as for one it’s existence is still pretty much a mystery. While the focus of the story and film’s is featured more on the complex of creation and attempted control of an extinct species by greedy individuals, it is Ingen and of course john Hammond who are behind all this, and their history of what led up to these incidents does have the ground work for its own exploration story. Whilst the film series carries on to its current direction, I think there is an argument here for the organisation to be explored much further in the future: Either in a prequel or perhaps even its own TV series. Either way, it’s a story which I think should be looked into, because while watching people get eaten and chased by dinosaurs is of course very entertaining, it’s this original groundwork where Jurassic Park’s creation and own mythology lies in. It’s more than just a big adventure, it’s a deeply technical Science Fiction story!
one of your best posts in a while; really enjoyed it. i’d be fascinated to see more of the company’s history too.