Just days after Lucasfilm and Disney announced that Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford are officially reuniting to bring Indiana Jones 5 to the screen, the long-in-the-works project now has a screenwriter. This sequel is unique in that George Lucas, who came up with the story idea and produced the previous four Indiana Jones films, is not involved—officially at least—but Spielberg is enlisting a trusted collaborator to pen the screenplay: David Koepp.
Per THR, the Jurassic Park scribe has been tapped to bring this new Indiana Jones film to the screen, marking the fifth film Koepp has written for Spielberg, whose collaborations also include The Lost World: Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Yes indeed, Koepp worked on the much-derided fourth Indy film so this isn’t his first time writing for the character, but Koepp was one of a number of writers who worked on that script, with the official story credit going to Lucas and Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can scribe Jeff Nathanson.
I was personally holding out hope that a different Indiana Jones 4 scribe would be enlisted for this latest film: Frank Darabont. The Shawshank Redemption filmmaker famously wrote a script that Spielberg and Ford apparently sparked to, but which Lucas did not. Given that a unanimous vote of confidence has been the deciding factor in all Indy films, Darabont’s script was tossed, and he was none too pleased. His script made its way online and was much better than the final version of Crystal Skull we got, so I was hoping he might finally get to bring Indiana Jones to the screen, but alas, Spielberg has chosen Koepp for the gig.
Koepp’s resume is pretty diverse and, honestly, uneven. He’s delivered some stellar work like the aforementioned Jurassic Park and War of the Worlds, as well as Spider-Man and Panic Room, but he’s also responsible for writing or co-writing Angels & Demons and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, and he wrote and directed the odd Johnny Depp vehicle Secret Window. His next directorial effort, Premium Rush, was fun enough, but then he went and directed Mortdecai so never really know with Koepp; this could go either way. He most recently penned Ron Howard’s third Dan Brown adaptation Inferno.
It’s unclear what kind of story Spielberg and Ford are tackling for Indiana Jones 5 and whether Lucas is involved, but with Koepp now onboard the screenwriting and story phase will begin while Spielberg prepares to start shooting his next feature, Ready Player One, this summer. Production on Indiana Jones 5 could get underway as soon as next summer/fall or as late as Summer 2018, as its release date of July 19, 2019 is still a ways off. Regardless, Indiana Jones 5 is now very much a reality.