Those who have been following progress (or lack thereof) on Jurassic Park 4 over the past decade may recall a time when mind-baffling rumors were circulating that the fourth installment was going to feature genetically-altered dinosaurs trained to use weapons. Screen Rant's own Rob Keyes jokingly (or was he?) requested a Dino-Riders movie while writing about the project last year; however, that's not all that far off from the shape JP4 was taking some eight years ago.
William Monahan (The Departed) and John Sayles (Lone Star) penned that version of the script, with Carlos Huante (Prometheus) serving as the conceptual artist. We've contacted ILM and been informed that the JP4 conceptual artwork which leaked online earlier this week is not from the official production. Nonetheless, these images do offer some interesting food-for-thought on what could've been the next step in evolution (or something like that) for the Jurassic Park franchise.
Ain't It Cool News got ahold of Monahan and Sayles' JP4 script draft - which was tentatively titled Dinosaurs with Guns - back in 2007 (read their review here). The story revolved around a new bioengineering company breeding hybrids that combine dinosaur, human, and dog DNA, to produce a form of 'biological weaponry' that could be trained for combat. At first, it sounds like someone wrote a script based on the "Tyrannosaurs in F-14s!" panel from Calvin and Hobbes. However, in action, the script is described as more intelligent (which makes sense, given the writers involved), like a modern blockbuster treatment of H.G. Wells' The Island of Dr. Moreau.
We get that same Wellian sci-fi vibe from the unofficial concept design artwork, suggesting the 'lab experiments' in the Dinosaurs with Guns version of JP4 might have looked something like this:
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A number of sites reported that the artwork could have been official pre-production concept artwork - put together by the visual effects team at ILM (because the artwork was stamped with Industrial Light and Magic watermarks). However, before sharing the artwork, we wanted to dig a little deeper - so we followed-up with ILM.
According to the ILM representative who responded to our inquiry:
Not sure where this stuff came from but it's not from a production we've worked on. Looks like someone's personal work – ILM doesn't put © lines on our work like in those images – we don't own the work – the clients do.
As a result, while the images could still be legitimate pre-production concept art - the designs never went nearly as far into the pipeline as many people might have been speculating.
Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver are working on the current JP4 script draft (from a story developed by Steven Spielberg and Mark Protosevich), but they are not expected to lift any elements directly from Monahan and Sayles' screenplay. The duo could very well use further genetic experimentation with dinosaurs as a plot point in their draft, but in a more scientific (re: realistic) manner that recalls their approach on Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
Jurassic Park III introduced the concept of 'talking dinosaurs', but this abandoned version of JP4 would've taken the sci-fi aspects in a much more bizarre direction. It could have been a brilliant re-invention of the franchise, but it might've as easily destroyed what little credibility this series has left (add it to the "Abandoned Sci-Fi Vision" File, with Jon Spaihts' original script for Prometheus).
Jurassic Park 4, in its current state, is being planned for release in 2014.