‘Indiana Jones 5’: David Koepp on Why He’s No Longer Writing the Script

     June 14, 2020

We recently spoke with writer/director David Koepp, whose terrific new horror movie You Should Have Left, makes its debut on VOD next week from Universal and Blumhouse. Koepp wrote and directed You Should Have Left, but is primarily known as one of the most successful screenwriters in Hollywood history, having penned such juggernauts as Jurassic Park, Spider-Man, Mission: Impossible, War of the Worlds and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. For a while he had been working on the perpetually delayed fifth Indiana Jones movie, but Koepp told us that wasn’t the case anymore.

We asked about the status of the project and whether or not he was still attached, reiterating rumors that he had been replaced, at one point, with Jonathan Kasdan.. “Not anymore,” Koepp clarified. This largely has to do with Steven Spielberg, who had directed every other entry in the franchise, choosing to walk away. James Mangold, who recently helmed Ford v. Ferrari, has taken over. “When James Mangold came in … he deserves a chance to take his shot at it. I’d done several versions with Steven. And when Steven left, it seemed like the right time to let Jim have his own take on it and have his own person or himself write it.”

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Image via Lucasfilm

So there you have it: whichever version of Indiana Jones 5 we eventually get, probably won’t have much to do with what Spielberg and Koepp had been toiling away on, although there is a chance that it could be used as a springboard. This, of course, isn’t exactly new for the franchise, which has been largely defined by both abandoned screenplays and the cannibalization of earlier ideas.

The second film, for example, was meant to be a Scottish haunted house movie but Spielberg ultimately rejected it as being too similar to Poltergeist. So they moved a pseudo-haunted castle sequence to the third movie, and borrowed unused elements of Lawrence Kasdan’s original draft of Raiders of the Lost Ark for the sequel.

More recently, there were a number of scripts written for the fourth movie and completely abandoned, beginning in the mid-1990s with Indiana Jones and the Monkey King by Chris Columbus, Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men from Mars by Jeb Stuart and Jeffrey Boam, and Indiana Jones and the City of Gods by Frank Darabont. Darabont’s script, for instance, interpolated elements of the Stuart/Boam script and even Koepp’s final script for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull imports much from Darabont’s thrilling screenplay.

Here’s what Koepp had to tell us about his involvement with Indiana Jones 5. Look for more from my interview with Koepp soon.

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