What's been going on for George Lucas? Even after selling the rights to Star Wars to Disney, one would assume he would have some sort of input. He didn't. Now it appears he isn't involved in Indiana Jones 5 either, despite being the guy who actually came up with the character, and had a hand in the previous four films. It seems people don't want him in control of his own work anymore, an idea explored in the documentary The People Vs George Lucas, of which you can watch the trailer below:
Now it is hard to say whether or not this is Lucas' decision to focus on his own projects, like the critically-panned Strange Magic or the OK Red Tails, or whether his ideas are so bad that nobody wants to use them. Nevertheless, when screenwriter David Koepp, whose Inferno is just out in cinemas, was asked about Lucas' input, he merely said:
So there's no Lucas. He appears to be an outcast in his own empire. But what else can we garner from his Collider interview? Firstly, and most thankfully:
They Learned From Crystal Skull's Mistakes
When Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull came out, it wasn't exactly the long awaited sequel everyone was dreaming of. Starring a Shia LeBeouf before all the performance art, and featuring a whole bunch of mismatched CGI, it was an alright experience that nonetheless failed to live up to the pulpy joys of Raiders of The Lost Ark or The Last Crusade. It also had this scene:
Thankfully, it seems that moving forward, Koepp has acknowledged Crystal Skull's mistakes, mainly its sci-fi setting:
"I don’t know that the idea was most suited to an Indiana Jones movie"
Moving forward he has stated that its:
All About The MacGuffin
A quick definition: a MacGuffin is any object or thing with which to hang a plot upon. It doesn't matter so much what it is in itself, as long as the drive to obtain or discover it successfully propels the plot. So in the case of The Last Crusade it was the holy grail, and in Raiders of The Lost Ark, it was the ark. Koepp believes that the use of the MacGuffin in the last film didn't quite work:
"For me it was the MacGuffin dictates everything, and so we tried to make the best possible choice we could. Not that nobody didn’t try to make the best choice that they could in the past, but we tried to give us the one that gave us the Indiana Jones movie we most wanted to see.”
The MacGuffin, he argues allows them to explore the era, and therefore make the new Indiana Jones become:
A Pastiche Of That Era's Films
Talking about the previous Indiana Jones films, Koepp believes that the era that it is set in allows them to pastiche the films of the time. As he figured:
'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'.
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For example, Raiders of The Lost Ark is based upon old 40s adventures such as Casablanca and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and The Temple Of Doom is based on films like Gunga Din and Fritz Lang's Indian-set dramas such as The Indian Tomb and The Tiger of Eschnapur. Koepp argues here that sci-fi and Indy just don't mix. But what would the ideal genre be to reframe for a modern audience? Maybe its a question of:
Going Back To The Style Of The Originals
What do you think of when you think of the original Indiana Jones movies? For me, I always cast my mind to the opening sequence of Temple Of Doom: it throws you into a fantastically designed world, one that only exists in the movies, starting with a brief musical introduction before launching into an exhilarating action sequence that somehow ends up going over the mountains of India.
The next thing you know, Indy has found the entrance to the temple. This is clean, clear action, even if its slightly nonsensical, but we are engaged by the characters and what they do. This was the opposite of what happened in The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, which had quite the messy plot. As Koepp explains regarding his new film:
"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"
This is all good news, made better by the fact that:
Filming Could Start Next Year
Spielberg might have a lot on his plate, having released The BFG this year, and just wrapped on Ready Player One whilst also prepping for The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara which starts filming at the start of next year, but Koepp speculates that they could start as soon as October next year:
“That’s a tough one, I hope so. It’s certainly OK for me and I’ll be ready, but my schedule isn’t the tough one. So I think October—I hope, I hope so. We’ll see. That’s a hard one to answer.”
I, for one, am confident it can start soon. Remember after all, that Spielberg is the guy who edited Jurassic Park in the evening whilst filming Schindler's List in the day. If anyone can squeeze in two films in one year, its him!
Are You Excited For Indiana Jones 5?