There was once a time that everything George Lucas touched turned to gold. That time has past. It was to the relief of many Star Wars fans that Lucas had almost nothing to do with the development of The Force Awakens, especially after the litany of missteps (crimes in the opinion of some) that the filmmaker took with the prequel trilogy. But then Disney picked up Indiana Jones, and announced that they were making a fifth movie in that franchise, like Star Wars, fans were concerned that the comeback would be shaded by the continued involvement of Lucas. Well, the man penning the script for Indy 5 says relax, he’s not answering to the flanneled one.
“He’s not, to my knowledge. I’ve had no contact with him,” said David Koepp to Collider on the subject of Lucas’ involvement. This will likely be a sigh of relief to those that were not fans of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the 2008 Indiana Jones sequel that saw the archeologist adventurer in search for a crystal skull that was the key to the secret knowledge of… ancient aliens. That was all Lucas, by the way, which is why some fans got concerned earlier this year when Steven Spielberg said, “I would never make an Indiana Jones film without George Lucas. That’d be insane.”
What’s also insane is that after all the backpeddling and fan outrage over Crystal Skull, Koepp seems to take the choice of the crystal skull MacGuffin in stride:
“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.”
Of course, Koepp is not blameless in the missteps of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, he wrote the shooting script for the movie, and had the odious task of combining two decades worth of screenplays into something coherent that could satisfy Lucas, Spielberg, and Harrison Ford. Still, it must be taken as good news at least that there will be one less cook in the kitchen this time, and Koepp seems to have embraced that simplicity. “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,” he added.
Indiana Jones 5 will open in a theatre near you on July 19, 2019.