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The Real Reason Samuel L. Jackson's Jurassic Park Death Scene Got Cut

Samuel L. Jackson has had so many memorable roles that you could be forgiven for forgetting that he appeared in one of the most beloved movies of all time. No, not Star Wars: Attack of the Clones — Jackson played Ray Arnold, the island's unimpressed chain-smoking chief engineer, in Jurassic Park.

Like many of Isla Nubla's visitors, Arnold didn't survive the park's less-than-successful hosting of its first guests. However, while the film and its many sequels have treated us to some truly spectacular and gruesome deaths — and while Jackson could easily field a hefty reel of his own memorable movie demises — Arnold's fate is played out offscreen. He heads into the rainy jungle night to flip the circuit breaker that will hopefully reboot the power system, and simply never comes back. The next we see of him — part of him, anyway — is his dismembered arm falling onto Dr. Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) after she follows in his unfortunate footsteps.

When the movie came out in 1993, this felt like a dramatic choice. It was another adrenaline-pumping jump scare, one that cleverly relied on what you don't see. Watching Ellie race through pitch-black corridors, knowing that at any moment she could be pounced on by the as-yet undomesticated velociraptors, all while not knowing what awful fate had befallen Arnold, was truly terrifying. But it turns out that there was also a much more practical reason that we never saw Arnold die onscreen. Here's why Jackson's death scene was cut from Jurassic Park.

A real-life natural disaster intervened

Originally, Arnold was indeed supposed to have his own death scene. However, in an appropriate twist for a movie about the consequences of trying to outsmart nature, nature intervened. In an interview with A.V. Club, Jackson revealed that the original plan was for him to return to the movie's set on the Hawaiian island of Kauai to shoot Arnold's final scene, but that plan had to be scrapped when Category 4 storm Hurricane Iniki slammed the island on September 11th, 1992.

"I was actually supposed to go to Hawaii, to shoot my death scene," Jackson explained. "But there was a hurricane that destroyed all the sets. So I didn't get to go to Hawaii... All you see [in the movie] is the residue of my body, my arm. But yeah, I was supposed to be on set."

Jackson went on to wax nostalgic about the time that he did get to spend on the set of Jurassic Park, and dropped the tidbit that the flick's director Steven Spielberg employed a crafty and hilarious method to ensure that Jackson, despite his character's constant puffing away on cigarettes, didn't fall back into the nasty habit himself.

"I enjoyed being on that set, with Jeff [Goldblum] and Sir Richard Attenborough," the actor said. "It's funny, because Steven would actually operate the camera sometimes. He'd consider the camera, and he'd be kind of looking at me, and he'd go, 'Okay, I'm going to get you,' and everybody just has to start scrambling, and we'd shoot. He actually shot a few of the things that I'm in, in that lab, with that long ash dangling off that cigarette. Hogging that fake cigarette. Because I had quit smoking, and he wanted to make sure I didn't go back, so he got me the worst-tasting fake cigarettes ever."

The storm that prevented Jackson from meeting his onscreen end at the claws of Jurassic Park's escaped velociraptors remains the most powerful to ever hit Hawaii. Not only did it destroy many of the movie's sets, it killed six people, caused $3 billion dollars in damage, destroyed or damaged 14,350 homes, and saw 12,000 of the island's 51,000 residents evacuated to public shelters. In a weird parallel to Arnold's fate in the film, much of the island's power supply was knocked out. Even a month later, only 20 percent of the power had been restored.

From the filmmakers' point of view, the silver lining was that they'd only had one more day of shooting left, leaving the entire Jurassic Park cast and crew to ride out the storm in the ballroom of their hotel. But while the storm deprived Jackson's Arnold of his big moment, it put a lesser-known figure into the spotlight. Production moved to Oahu, where they found the log that the characters hide behind in the iconic scene in which Dr. Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Tim and Lex Murphy (Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards) are nearly caught in a dino stampede. The movie's sets and that wiseacre Arnold may not have survived, but you can still visit the log today.