'Jurassic Park 4' Shelved For Need of Not-Dead Writer

Nobody should have to die to stop a bad idea from becoming a reality in Hollywood. Nevertheless, it happens, as producer Frank Marshall alluded Sunday during the junket for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, where a long-gestating sequel-of-a-sequel-of-a-sequel rumor was extinguished for good.

Universal has planned a fourth installment of Jurassic Park since 2001, when Joe Johnston inherited the franchise from Steven Spielberg on the way to $368 million globally. Among the plotters: Michael Crichton — the original source novelist who succumbed to cancer a month ago — and Park producer Marshall himself, who took a moment over the weekend to discuss what precisely that means for JP4:

When asked if there was any development on the long-anticipated sequel, Kennedy responded, "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."

Or maybe that sign came with John Sayles and William Monahan's script draft that surfaced four years ago, to which even some of the Web's easiest-to-please critics reacted with horror over the story's "Dirty Dozen-style mercenary team of hyper-smart dinosaurs in body armor killing drug dealers and rescuing kidnapped children." We're just saying. It could have been anything.

That said, if the Crichton factor allows for a more dignified closure, we'll take it. Can we somehow invoke his passing to spike Beverly Hills Cop 2009? What about this Arthur remake? Surely he'd be as outraged as the rest of us.