Twelve years since the last installment in its franchise, Jurassic Park 4 has taken a famously torturous route on its way to the big screen. After a decade of near-misses and bizarre script rumors, recent updates on the Jurassic Park sequel have indicated that the film is moving forward with a 2014 release date.
However, all may not be as solid with the production as previously assumed. In an almost offhand tweet yesterday, it was confirmed that Kathleen Kennedy has officially departed the production of Jurassic Park 4.
Producer and longtime Kennedy collaborator Frank Marshall (The Bourne Legacy) has tweeted that she has dropped out of producing Jurassic Park 4. The information - in response to a question from Jurassic Park IV.org owner Jack De La Mare - doesn't come as much of a surprise, as Kennedy recently took on a rather large job as the new head of Lucasfilm after its acquisition by Disney. Marshall indicates that Kennedy left Jurassic Park 4 in order to focus fully on the production of the Star Wars sequels, the first of which is due to hit cinemas in 2015.
Kathleen Kennedy has helped shepherd dozens of modern movie classics as producer and executive producer. From E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial to Lincoln, Kennedy has had a close working relationship with Stephen Spielberg. She had a hand in bringing all of the Jurassic Park movies to fruition and was apparently one of the key figures in pushing Jurassic Park 4 back on the path to production.
Combining Kennedy's departure with the fact that no director has yet to be attached to the project, it appears more and more unlikely that Jurassic Park 4 will meet its projected June 2014 release date. This is further exacerbated by the complete lack of information about the film's screenplay, which is being written by Rise of the Planet of the Apes scripters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. Should audiences be steeling themselves for yet another story of Jurassic Park 4 stalling out before production even begins?
All this said, the movie is far from rudderless – Marshall remains onboard to produce and Spielberg himself is still locked in as executive producer. Marshall is far from inexperienced, having guided even more films to completion than Kennedy. Additionally, Jurassic Park 3 and Captain America: The First Avenger director Joe Johnston could still be up directing Jurassic Park 4. With any hope, Kathleen Kennedy's departure from the film will only end up being a minor inconvenience for Jurassic Park 4, giving us a stronger Star Wars: Episode VII in the bargain.
Jurassic Park 4 is currently set to be released on June 13th, 2014.