'Indiana Jones 5' Screenplay No Longer in David Koepp's Hands

Indiana Jones 5 is still years away, and hasn’t even begun production yet – but it’s already gone through several major changes. The biggest change of all: Steven Spielberg, who directed all the other Indiana Jones films, is sitting this one out and handing the reins over to James Mangold. And that change has set off a series of other changes as well.

David Koepp, a writer who has worked with Spielberg several times before, was originally handling the script. Koepp handed his duties off to other writers, but then returned to work on the screenplay some more. But now, according to Koepp himself, he’s no longer involved with the project – and Mangold might be starting completely from scratch.

Let’s recap: when Indiana Jones 5 was first announced, David Koepp was on board to handle the script. Then, word surfaced that Jonathan Kasdan (Solo: A Star Wars Story) and Dan Fogelman (This Is UsTangled) would both be working on the script. And then script duties fell back into Koepp’s lap, with the writer stating in September of last year: “I’m working on it again. We’re still trying. And I think we’ve got a good idea this time. We’ll see.”

By February of this year, however, star Harrison Ford revealed the film was still dealing with script issues. Finally, Spielberg seemed to realize that enough was enough, and handed the movie over to Ford v Ferrari director James Mangold. So where does the project stand now? Is Koepp still involved? According to the writer himself, no.

Speaking with Collider, Koepp confirmed he was no longer involved with the project, adding:

“When James Mangold came in … he deserves a chance to take his shot at it. I’d done several versions with Steven. And when Steven left, it seemed like the right time to let Jim have his own take on it and have his own person or himself write it.”

In other words: there’s still plenty of work to be done, but Koepp won’t be doing it. Last month, Mangold revealed he was hoping to try “something new” with the franchise, stating:

“I think the most important thing is, in an age when franchises have become a commodity, that serving the same thing again. At least for me, in the dances I’ve had with any franchises, serving the same thing again, the same way, usually just produces a longing for the first time you ate it. Meaning, it makes an audience wish that they just had the first one over again. So you have to push something to someplace new, while also remembering the core reasons why everyone was gathered. And to use Logan as an example of that, when you’re dealing in a world of a very pressured franchise.”

I remain conflicted about this entire endeavor. I’m fine with Mangold bringing in new writers, or writing things himself – I like a lot of Koepp’s work, but his Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull script left a lot to be desired. And I like Mangold as a director – I’ve enjoyed almost all of his films. But it still feels weird to have an Indiana Jones movie in the hands of a director other than Steven Spielberg. I guess I’ll just have to get used to it.

For now, Indiana Jones 5 is set to open July 29, 2022.

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