It's finally happening, Jurassic Park IV is out of development hell and slated for theatrical release June 13th, 2014. Steven Spielberg is going to produce, but as far as I know there's no information on the director or cast yet. I'll be honest, I'd lost hope. I lasted a while, though. But after one too many hoaxes and fruitless public statements, not to mention the deaths of many notable individuals associated with the Jurassic Park franchise, I began to think Jurassic Park was extinct (excuse the lame pun).
So what does the confirmation of Jurassic Park IV mean for the franchise? Enough time has passed to where Jurassic Park IV will inevitably introduce a new generation to the franchise itself and dinosaurs in general. And in ten to fifteen years time there might be a whole new crowd of budding paleontology enthusiasts crediting their life passion to having seen Jurassic Park IV in theaters when they were adolescents. The internet will explode with a revival in the fan community, it will certainly be the dawn of fantastic new Jurassic Park fan communities. And all of that is absolutely fantastic. However, as a 90s kid who grew up with the effects Jurassic Park had on society when the first movie hit theaters in 1993, which are still evident even now nearly twenty years later, I understand how dangerous Jurassic Park IV will potentially be. The first movie was a blockbuster, and revolutionized society's perception of dinosaurs. That being said, twenty years later the paleontology of Jurassic Park is severely outdated and yet society remains grounded in 20th century science because their understanding of dinosaurs and prehistoric life in general is ignorantly restricted to what the media conveys. And everything in popular media since Jurassic Park has to some degree been a reflection of Jurassic Park's now outdated paleontology. Jurassic Park IV will cause the same effect that Jurassic Park did in 1993: it's depiction of dinosaurs will ingrain itself into society and remain so until another dinosaur movie makes it big and overwrites what will by then surely be the "severely outdated paleontology of 2014."
Let's break it down, there are three possibilities. Either Jurassic Park IV will 1) uphold Spielberg continuity by depicting it's dinosaurs the way they were depicted in the first three films, 2) attempt to convey a "revolutionized" understanding of dinosaurs by bullshitting the concept of feathered dinosaurs like Terra Nova did or 3) hire and actually listen to decent consultants and portray truly revolutionary depictions of 99% scientifically accurate dinosaurs. Despite the inevitable canonicity issues, the third possibility would make paleontology enthusiasts like me happy. We're looking forward to the day when we won't have to deal with Jurassic Park-style pseudosaurs anymore. Unfortunately, the second possibility to me seems the most likely. Paleontologist Jack Horner, who consulted for the first three Jurassic Park movies, asserted in a recent interview, "We've learned that dinosaurs were colourful, we've learned that dinosaurs were feathered. We've learned a lot about dinosaur behaviours, we've learned there's a difference in how juveniles look and adults look… Jurassic Park 4 will look very different than Jurassic Park 3." That may sound good initially, but it almost resonates what Jack Horner said about Terra Nova, which he also consulted for. And let's be honest, "Nycoraptor" doesn't cut it for a remotely accurate 21st century representation of dromaeosaurs regardless of it's feathering (spoilertv.co.uk/images/cache/a…
In one regard, as a [former] Jurassic Park fan I'd prefer it if the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park IV justified the Spielberg continuity. But in another regard, as a paleontological enthusiast I want Jurassic Park IV to have a positive impact on society's contemporary understanding of dinosaurs. It's a coin toss.