Would you ever believe it? Possibly the greatest director of our age, Steven Spielberg, chooses to exit the Indiana Jones franchise that he helped build from the ground up with his friend George Lucas. We knew he had decided to walk away from the franchise sequel, to be replaced by Logan and Ford vs Ferrari helmer James Mangold. The question was always why?
The film went through several drafts and screenwriters with delays piling up as Spielberg, star Harrison Ford and Disney could not align on the script and key story points. Eventually Spielberg had enough and walked. Original screenwriter David Koepp, who had maintained continuity across all other comings and goings, walked too.
Now Den of Geek scored and interview with Koepp who spilled the beans:
“I tried a couple different versions with Steven and they all had some good stuff about them and they all had some stuff that didn’t work, which happens. But it was just very hard to have everybody come together and have all the elements — Steven, Harrison (Ford), the script and Disney — come together at once. And it didn’t.”
Koopp was onboard in 2016. The Jonathan Kasdan (Solo: A Star Wars Story) and Dan Fogelman (This Is Us,Tangled) both had a run at it. Koepp then polished, saying at the time:
“I’m working on it again. We’re still trying. And I think we’ve got a good idea this time. We’ll see.”
However they still couldn’t land it. Spielberg and Koepp walked away and Disney turned to James Mangold to both write and direct, removing one link in the approval chain. Everyone was “Hollywood gracious” about it:
“When James Mangold came in and Steven stepped out, that was a pretty logical breaking point,” Koepp told Den of Geek. “It’s a gracious time to step out the door because I think the last thing a new director wants is the old director’s writer. I mean, that’s a drag.
The last thing you need is some guy sitting around with his arms folded saying, ‘Well, the way Steven would have done it is…’ I had one nice friendly conversation with him and then I’m sure he wanted to be able to move on anyway. Everybody was pretty polite, I thought.”
Mangold has since said that he plans to push the franchise forward. Earlier this year, in an interview with Comicbook.com in he told them:
“You have to push to someplace new, while also remembering the core reason why everyone was gathered.”
The movie is slated for release in July, 2022. Our bet? This movie does not get made in this form out of this project. We may see Indy again in about 15 years time with another actor in the role.