Indiana Jones 4 Writer Was "Never Happy" With Sequel Using Aliens

Aliens. Why'd it have to be aliens? In 2008's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, archaeologist adventurer Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and Soviet KGB Agent Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett) seek the same MacGuffin: the mythical and all-powerful crystal skull of Akator. During his globe-trotting adventure with old flame Marion (Karen Allen) and their son, Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf), Indy discovers the crystal skeletons belonging not to spacemen or saucer men from Mars — but "interdimensional beings." As revealed by Professor "Ox" Oxley (John Hurt), these knowledge-seeking beings wield the power to open portals to another dimension and into the space between spaces. In other words: aliens. 

In an interview with the Script Apart podcast, Crystal Skull screenwriter David Koepp said he was "never happy with the idea [of 'aliens']" in the fourth Indiana Jones movie from director Steven Spielberg and co-creator George Lucas, who co-wrote the story with Jeff Nathanson. 

"When I came on, I tried to convince [Spielberg and Lucas] to change it — I had this other idea. They didn't want to change it," the Jurassic Park and Spider-Man screenwriter said. "I'm not saying mine would've been better. But I think that a lot of the pushback that movie got, in a larger sense aside from little things people might not have liked — that were too silly or whatever — the larger one was that [fans said], 'We don't feel like aliens should've been in an Indiana Jones movie.'"

In the '90s, Lucas developed Indiana Jones 4 as the Cold War-era Indiana Jones and the Saucermen from Mars (complete with flying saucers). By the early 2000s, Lucas hired Frank Darabont, the Oscar-nominated writer and director of The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption, to pen Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods. 

After the Saturday-matinee serials inspirations behind Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, and The Last Crusade in the 1980smoving Ford's aged adventurer into the Cold War meant doing Crystal Skull in the style of what Lucas called "a B movie from the '50s." 

Darabont's script included the elements Lucas insisted they keep from Saucermen, which would ultimately make it to screen in Koepp's Crystal Skull: the 1950s setting, Soviet enemies, flesh-eating army ants, Indy's infamous "nuke the fridge" scene, UFOs — and "aliens." 

Ford reprises the role for the final time in Indiana Jones 5, directed by James Mangold (Logan) and produced by Spielberg, Frank Marshall (Jurassic World Dominion), and Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker). Mangold co-wrote the script with Jez Butterworth (Spectre, Mangold's Ford v Ferrari) and John-Henry Butterworth (Get on Up, Edge of Tomorrow). 

Disney will release the untitled Indy 5 on June 30, 2023.