Director Michael Bay's untitled Transformers 3 sequel (a.k.a. Transformers 4) will be one of those movies that blurs the line between what is considered a full-blown reboot and franchise re-tooling. It will not break narrative continuity with the previous Transformers films; yet, it features an entirely new cast of human players and will introduce multiple robots-in-disguise that haven't made the jump to live-action form before now.
The most-recently developed version of Jurassic Park IV has been described as a similar continuation of the over-arching story set in motion by director Steven Spielberg's 1993 blockbuster - based on the late Michael Crichton's novel - and its sequels, The Lost World and Jurassic Park III. However, JP4 is expected to stray away from all the previous films' narrative formula (i.e. humans travel to an island that is populated by dinosaurs, wind up on the dinos' dinner menu).
Universal put Jurassic Park IV on indefinite hold two weeks ago, with the studio's official reason being to allow for additional development. Once the on-again/off-again project does begin moving forward (again), it should still be presented in the form of a reinvention - like what Transformers 4 is to the Transformers trilogy - and, as Dr. Alan Grant himself (Sam Neill) told stuffco.nez, that probably means that neither he nor any other human survivors from JP I-III will be involved.
Here is what Neill offered, with respect to JP4 (note: that article was not written to take the release date delay into account):
As well as confirming that he is unlikely to be a part of next year's Jurassic Park 4 ("I'm told it's a big reboot, a total re-jig"), Neill confesses he hasn't seen the new [3D re-release] version of the original ['Jurassic Park'].
While Neill describes JP4 as being "a big reboot," what he most likely means is (in film nerd talk) a franchise installment that jettisons its core human players. That would mean no Dr. Grant, Laura Dern as Dr. Ellie Sattler, or Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm - no worries, fans of the Goldblum, he'll be back in Independence Day 2 (assuming that belated followup ever happens) - as well as side characters in the Jurassic Park sequels, like Vince Vaughn as photographer Nick Van Owen.
Chances are, JP4 will also skip on featuring grown-up versions of the kid characters in previous installments, like Dr. Malcolm's daughter Kelly (Vanessa Lee Chester) or the titular park's creator John Hammond's grand-children Tim (Joseph Mazzello) and Lex (Ariana Richards). CBM reports that Bryce Dallas Howard (Terminator Salvation) and David Oyelowo (Jack Reacher) were rumored to join the movie's cast prior to the delay, which does point towards a completely-new human cast.
Currently-attached JP4 director Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) Tweeted a picture during location scouting, which revealed that the film is going to partly take place on Isla Nublar (the island in the first Jurassic Park movie). However, beyond that and the film's consulting paleontologist Jack Horner's tease about a new dinosaur showing up, there are no confirmed details about the script draft written by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes).
However, after a pair of lukewarm sequels and neither the beloved Dr. Grant nor his fellow scientists - who are experienced in the ways of avoiding a dino-induced death - likely to return, it's going to be difficult for Jurassic Park IV to impress. The people working to make the still-theoretical film a reality have promise and talent, but (if you'll pardon the cliche) will that be enough to bring this franchise back from extinction?
Are you still hoping that Jurassic Park IV sees the light of day? Are you more or less excited about the project by the prospect of no returning cast members - Neill included - or is fresh (human) blood exactly what this series needs to survive?
We'll keep you informed about Jurassic Park IV as more information becomes available.