Believe it or not, we’re fast approaching the 10-year anniversary since the last Jurassic Park movie hit theaters, making it 18 years since the original Jurassic Park brought dinosaurs to life and blew our minds away. The first sequel, The Lost World, saw weaker reviews and performance at the box office than its predecessor, with Jurassic Park III dropping even more, but that hasn’t stopped the interest in developing a fourth franchise installment.

Director Joe Johnston (Jurassic Park III) showed enthusiasm and confidence in Jurassic Park 4 throughout the last two years, indicating that he’d be working on the next Dino adventure once finishing duties on Captain America: The First Avenger. Franchise star Sam Neill however, has less faith in another sequel becoming a reality.

Neill was attached to return for Jurassic Park 4 way back in 2002, but many things changed since then and the project never took off outside of treatments to the screenplay. Special effects guru on the franchise, Stan Winston, passed away, as did author Michael Crichton a few years later, putting a serious dent in development, to the point where producers Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy believed the project was done for:

“No… I don’t know. You know, when Crichton passed away, I sorta felt maybe that’s it. Maybe that’s a sign that we don’t mess with it.”

While Joe Johnston has kept up the hope through his words on the film, Sam Neill shares the same sentiment as Marshall and Kennedy, revealing in a red carpet interview last week for his show Alcatraz that he thinks it’s done as well.

“I think we’ve told the story. I think it’s done… Stan Winston who made those beautiful dinosaurs died. So, no Stan, no ‘Jurassic Park’ really … [and author Michael] Crichton died too.”

Johnston is seemingly determined to take the franchise in an entirely new direction, one that would see the story move away from the island and help kickstart a second trilogy of films. In the fall of 2009, he spoke about the story the writers had been working on, hinting a a long-term future for the franchise.

“Well, there is a great story for the fourth one that I would be interested in getting involved with and it’s nothing like the first three. It sort of takes the franchise off in a completely different direction, which is the only way I would want to get involved.”

Despite Jurassic Park III failing to deliver on the same level of the first film, it was still profitable and Universal Pictures planned to develop Jurassic Park 4 with Steven Spielberg producing. After years of script rewrites, director changes and delays, there’s still no official greenlight but that can change once Joe Johnston finishes with Captain America as he has nothing else officially on his directorial plate. That being said, Spielberg’s exec producing Terra Nova which coincidentally, is a dinosaur-based television series.

Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum both expressed interested and/or were asked to return many years ago but creating a story that will bring them all back will be a challenge.

For now, here are some fan-made JP4 posters:

Would you like to see familiar faces return for Jurassic Park IV?

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Sources: AICNComing SoonMTV