Saturday, April 25, 2009


*Posted May 20, 2008*

Instead of giving you something from the Indy Canon (trilogy, tv show, and to a lesser extent, the video games), I will instead tell you about some of the scripts that were written for Indy 4 since the lights went up on the Last Crusade. Thankfully, they were never used. So put on that leather jacket, don't eat those dates, and follow me into the realm of a few Indiana Jones movies that weren't.


(this was written back in 1985 as a follow up to Temple of Doom. it was ultimately rejected though then considered as a follow up to Last Crusade).

Writer: Chris Columbus (writer of The Goonies, director of Home Alone and the first two Harry Potter movies)

Plot: Indy heads to Africa to find the lost civilization of Sun Wu-Kung, the legendary Chinese Monkey King, who is said to have a Garden of Immortal Peaches that can grant eternal life. Monkey King script is filled with elaborately-imagined action sequences, which would've made this a $200 million dollar movie, even back in 1985. Apparently, Spielberg liked the action so much, he borrowed some of Columbus' set pieces for Last Crusade (the Venice boat chase and the tank pursuit both have their origins in this script). Columbus can write action, but he writes insane crazy action, crazy on a level that's appropriate for the Mummy movies, but not Indiana Jones. There IS a sequence where Indy rides a rhino while chasing a tank, and there's an extended battle at the end with Indy organizing an army of African pygmies and super-smart gorillas to battle an army of Nazis Ewok-style. I'm not shitting you, there's a bit where the gorilla starts driving a tank. Plus it opens with a bizarre sequence where Indy is fighting a banshee in a Scottish castle and it has NO relevance to the rest of the story (just something that happened on his vacation).There is also a part where Indy's lovelorn grad student, Betsy, attempts to commit suicide again and again because Dr. Jones won't return her affection, and Indy couldn't care less. (He's mad that she almost ruins his whip by trying to hang herself with it.) Now I know some girls probably would do that after working with Dr. Jones, but you can't put it on screen! And Betsy remains a punching-bag for the rest of the script. Columbus' foreigner policy in this is one-note (the Scots are all drunks, the Africans are simple primitives) And we're not even getting to the fact that Indy DIES at the end of the The Monkey King, only to be resurrected by Sun Wu-Kung, who tells Dr. Jones that he has enjoyed watching his adventures from the heavens. How do you say "gay" in Chinese?


(i'm not kidding. that's the title)

Writer: Jeb Stuart (writer of Die Hard and The Fugitive))

Plot: Set in the 1950s, Indy gets left at the altar by his linguist fiancée (no foolin'), so he follows her to White Sands, New Mexico, where he discovers that the U.S. Government has obtained a strange alien knick-knack from a crashed flying-saucer. But both the Russians (and some little green men) want the artifact for themselves. Any hardcore Indy fanboy would like the wedding portion of the script - not because Indy takes the plunge (he falls in love very early), but because of all the cameos. Not only does Henry Jones Sr. show up again as the best man, but we get Sallah and Short Round as ushers and Willie Scott and Marion Ravenwood show up to take Indy out drinking after he gets dumped. (The best exchange is when Marion and Willie mentioned that they can't believe that Indy found someone, and Sallah comments, "You mean other than yourselves?") The script also does a nice job of working in references to Indiana's age and how the good doctor is functioning in the 1950s. (We learn that he was an American spy during World War II.) For an Indiana Jones story, there's a disturbing lack of globe-trotting in "Saucer Men from Mars." Aside from an opening sequence in Borneo, Indy travels between New Jersey and New Mexico, and that's it. Talk about the most boring map montage ever. Also some of the 1950s American government/A-Bomb/Roswell conspiracy stuff is handled pretty heavy-handedly. There's a ridiculous moment where Indy survives an atomic blast at a bomb test site by hiding in a refrigerator (?!). The aliens within Saucer Men are seemingly beyond generic - an apparent mixture of the aliens from Close Encounters and Signs with even less backstory. It also features a stone cylinder - an ET power source - covered in markings that hint that the aliens have been coming to Earth for centuries. For some unknown reason, it's also a ticking time bomb that needs to be placed in a specific altar on a specific mountain or else... bad stuff will happen. That's all the explanation that's given. The Ark, the Sankara Stones, and the Holy Grail all had centuries of mythology to wrap around those artifacts. This Saucer Men alien icon has nothing - we get weird Communion-esque aliens and a flying saucer dogfight that feels like something out of Independence Day. Thank God, Lucas actually used something out of real archeology - the Crystal Skulls (though their origins are widely debated) - to tie in the alien aspect of Indy 4 rather than this new age shit.


Writer: Frank Darabont's Indy 4 script

Plot: No idea what this is really about, only that it was a close candidate to get green-lit. There may be a lot of Darabont's script in David Koepp's Crystal Skull script, but I have no clue how to find that how, so here's what we know. Darabont himself commented recently that the whole "Shia as the son of Indy" aspect never appeared in his script. He told MTV that "That’s a whole new element that’s been brought in. Shia? I don’t remember writing that character." Darabont also mentioned that he considered writing the script - a screenplay that apparently both Spielberg and Ford wanted to film until Lucas refused to accept it - "a waste of a year... At this point, I don't give much of a damn what George thinks, but I wouldn't want to harm my friendship with Steven". Darabont later told MTV that he wasn't holding a grudge and wanted to move on. For the nerdiest Indy fans, who remember Darabont's work on the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, there's a lot of buzz surrounding this draft. I think it uses the fabled Lucas MacGuffin too.

*Other rumored titles for Indiana Jones 4 were The City of Gods’, 'The Lost Continent', ‘The Destroyer of Worlds’, ‘The Fourth Corner of the Earth’, ‘The Lost City of Gold’, and finally, ‘The Quest for the Covenant’

*Other supposed plotlines included Indy on an adventure with his brother (rumored to be Kevin Costner at the time)

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