It is hard to know what to believe about the Jurassic Park franchise anymore. About 15 months ago the rumor was that the series had been dropped, but half a year later a studio exec stated that the prospect of bringing the dinosaurs back was still on life support. According to Hollywood scuttlebutt, producers were hoping to take the series in a new direction and were not going to make a move until they had something fresh.
In fact, a few years ago the studio had something that may have departed a little too far from the previous films. A leaked script for an early version of Jurassic Park IV featured super-smart, gun-toting raptors as main characters, and it definitely would have been one of the strangest big-budget films ever made.
But as revealed by the director of Jurassic Park III, Joe Johnston, that idea was scrapped long ago. Making the rounds to promote his new film, The Wolfman, Johnston mentioned to HitFix that ideas for a fourth dino-blockbuster are starting to come together:
Is still in the offing, or have you moved on now to a new idea?
Johnston: We have. There is an idea now for number four that is different from the first three, and that is more or less the beginning of a new triology, in that it sends the whole franchise off in a new direction. It's not about the dinosaur park anymore. It's about all-new characters. So Steven busy right now with the stuff he's doing and I've got to do "Captain America," but hopefully afterwards, we'll find time to develop it. And really... it's something different that we haven't seen before in the "Jurassic Park" world.
So, if this is accurate, Johnston might very well be back as the director for a fourth installment, which itself will be something of a reboot for the whole franchise. What could these new ideas be? We probably won't find out for a while. The Captain America movie is not slated to come out until the summer of 2011, and who knows when Spielberg will be available again. It will probably be another few years before the dinosaurs come back.