Hollywood can’t quite crack the secret of Indiana Jones 5. The project has bounced around for years, pretty much since the debut of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, with numerous creative teams unable to come up with a suitable way to toss around a 77-year-old treasure hunter without literally killing Harrison Ford. (Among other problems, assumedly.) A year ago, Solo writer Jonathan Kasdan was hired to pen the script with eyes on a 2020 release date, but those plans fell through because of story problems and Steven Spielberg turning his attention to West Side Story. Now, a recent interview with Den of Geek revealed that Crystal Skull writer David Koepp is back on the case, and friends, I wish the update sounded more optimistic.
“I’m working on it again,” Koepp said. “We’re still trying. And I think we’ve got a good idea this time. We’ll see.”
I think we’ve got a good idea this time is not the words to describe an impending project, unfortunately. It’s anyone’s guess as to what that idea might be—not Nazi gold, apparently—but an interview Collider conducted with Koepp in 2016 might hint illuminate his mindset, at least. For Koepp, who also co-wrote the script for Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones is all about the MacGuffin.
“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.”
A promising strategy, yeah, but I also must inform you that Koepp, in this interview from 2016, noted that Indiana Jones 5 “feels like it has a lot of momentum behind it.”