Walt Disney Pictures recently announced that famed archeologist Indiana Jones would return once more to the big screen, scheduling the currently untitled Indiana Jones 5 for theatrical release in July 2019. Franchise veterans Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford are returning to direct and star, respectively, but little else is known about the project. In the days since the confirmation, fans have been theorizing about what could happen and discussing the things they’d like to see in the adventure series’ latest installment. Now, we know who will be responsible for writing the story that will bring Indiana Jones back.
As it turns out, Ford won’t be the only longtime collaborator Spielberg reunites with on Indiana Jones 5. David Koepp, who penned the scripts for Spielberg blockbusters such as the first two Jurassic Park films and War of the Worlds, is joining the fray and will write the Indy 5 screenplay.
The news comes courtesy of THR, who say that it is unclear at this point if Koepp is starting from scratch or basing his script on a pre-existing treatment. In all likelihood, under the new leadership of Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, the Indiana Jones 5 story will be an entirely new idea. Looking at their handling of the Star Wars franchise as precedent, George Lucas had developed an outline for a Star Wars 7 prior to selling the company, and the Mouse House decided to go in a different direction altogether, dismissing his concepts. It stands reason to believe then, that’ll be the case for the new Indiana Jones film, rather than dusting off an old treatment that never made it to the screen.
Depending on who you ask, Koepp’s involvement could be a positive development, since he is behind the scripts for acclaimed genre pictures like Jurassic Park, Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man film, and the original Mission: Impossible movie. On the other hand, Koepp’s career track record is something of a mixed bag. His most recent credits include writing Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and directing the critically panned Mortdecai. In addition, he’s also the writer for the maligned Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which received much criticism for its narrative upon its release in 2008.
At the same token, it’s hard to hold Crystal Skull entirely against Koepp, since it was Lucas who pushed hard for the sci-fi and alien elements (receiving story credit for the fourth film). With Lucas seemingly out of the picture now, Koepp and Spielberg have relatively free reign to conceive an adventure they’re most interested in seeing. They’re a duo that works well together, as both Jurassic Park and War of the Worlds were well-received. One way to interpret Spielberg and Ford signing up for another go-around is to atone for the mistakes of Crystal Skull, so it’s only fitting that they’d enlist Koepp so he can take another crack at writing a rousing adventure with Dr. Jones at the forefront.
Fans will get a clearer picture (and an indication on whether or not Koepp was a wise choice) once plot details for Indiana Jones 5 start to come out, but that probably won’t be for a while. Spielberg is putting the finishing touches on his The BFG for release this summer, and then will head off to direct Ready Player One for a 2018 premiere. That gives Koepp plenty of time to iron out a compelling narrative, and Lucasfilm won’t be taking this film lightly. They understood how important it was to get Star Wars: The Force Awakens right, so they’ll most likely approach Indiana Jones 5 with the same amount of care.
Indiana Jones 5 hits theaters on July 19, 2019.