I nearly forgot Indiana Jones 5 was happening, because after hearing the one-two punch that A) David Koepp (Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) is writing the screenplay, and B) George Lucas would be creatively involved, it sapped a lot of the enthusiasm I had when I heard the announcement that Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford were returning for a fifth movie. But now, according to a new report, it turns out Lucas won’t be so involved after all.
Traditionally, the Indy films have all begun with George Lucas coming up with the story, and then other screenwriters being brought on board to physically write the scripts. Lucas was famously insistent about including aliens in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and part of the reason there was such a huge gap in between The Last Crusade and Crystal Skull was because it took a long time for Spielberg and Ford to agree with that concept and finally find a script that they thought was good enough. But in a new interview with Collider, screenwriter David Koepp revealed that won’t be the case for Indy 5. When asked if Lucas was involved with the story of the upcoming fifth film, Koepp responded:
“He’s not, to my knowledge. I’ve had no contact with him.”
Look, Lucas obviously gets all the credit in the world for launching both Star Wars and the Indy franchises, and no one can ever take that away from him. But there’s no denying that he’s lost a bit of his touch in recent decades, and as someone who’s a huge fan of both Raiders and Last Crusade but would be fine with never watching the other Indy movies ever again, I’m a little relieved to hear that Lucas won’t be tinkering around with this character in a writing capacity this time. (He’s still on board as an executive producer.)
Koepp was also asked what they learned from the fifth movie that might have informed the approach that they’re taking with this new one, and Koepp said:
“I think that what [Indy] looks for and when he looks for it dictates what the movie’s gonna be. So the selection of the MacGuffin is everything. I think Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, being set in 1957 there was a conscious desire to say, ‘Much like two of the other ones were World War II movies set in the 30s and early 40s, this is ’57 so a lot of our influences are gonna be science-fiction movies.’ You got that with the original [script], Jeb Stuart took the first shot at it with Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men from Mars. That was a really conscious decision that dictated a lot about what the story would be and what the movie would be like, and I think that was followed through on really nicely. I thought Steve did a really good job with that. I don’t know that the idea was most suited to an Indiana Jones movie, but that was what we did. So we tried to be very careful with the selection of the MacGuffin and the eras to give ourselves as much latitude to make the best kind of Indiana Jones movie that we most want to see. Learning how that’s the importance of the choice of the MacGuffin is a big deal.
And as far as updates on the current script, Koepp offered this humorous quote and a quick follow-up:
“I’m deeply immersed as we speak. All I can say is that there’s lots of aliens and Indy dies at the end (laughs). Lots of hiding in lead-lined refrigerators, aliens, and he dies. Should go over very well.
It feels like it has a lot of momentum behind it. We have ‘top men’ working on it as we speak (laughs). No, it’s going really well. I really like our idea; I think it’s clean and simple and makes a lot of sense, and I feel like the writing is going really well.”
Indiana Jones 5 is already scheduled to arrive in theaters on July 19, 2019, and the filmmakers are eyeing a late 2017 start date, depending on Spielberg’s busy schedule. We’ll keep you posted with any big updates, but in the meantime, what do you think about this news?