Indiana Jones 5 Update: Why Writer David Koepp Left the Movie

Screenwriter David Koepp tells us why he’s no longer working on Indiana Jones 5.

Indiana Jones 5
Photo: Lucasfilm

Indiana Jones 5 still seems to be part of Disney’s plans for the future, although as with everything else in this increasingly lost year of 2020, the pandemic has almost certainly slowed development on a project that was already crawling along for years.

Of course, the big news revealed earlier this year — back in February, to be exact — was that Steven Spielberg was no longer going to direct the movie. James Mangold (Logan) was anointed his successor, making the fifth film in the series the first to be directed by someone other than The Beard (who is still a producer on the project).

Not as splashy but still noteworthy was the news that screenwriter David Koepp had also left the production for a second time. Koepp, who wrote 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, came aboard Indiana Jones 5 back in 2016 when it was first officially announced, only to be replaced in June 2018 by Jonathan Kasdan. But Koepp told us in September 2019 that he was working on the movie again, only to depart — probably for good this time — when Mangold took over from Spielberg.

“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,” he says. “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.”

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And that, he says, is the reason why he decided it was time for him to exit.

 “When James Mangold came in and Steven stepped out, that was a pretty logical breaking point,” Koepp says. “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.”

It’s not exactly clear who is writing the script now. Mangold might be taking a crack at it himself — this is the guy, after all, who nabbed an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay with Logan, the first time a superhero movie was ever recognized for writing by the Academy Awards — or may also bring in another writer to collaborate. There have been next to no details about the story that Koepp and Kasdan were working on, but it’s likely to be thrown out in favor of whatever ideas Mangold develops himself (with approval from Spielberg, Ford, Disney and perhaps George Lucas, of course).

The release date for Indiana Jones 5 currently stands at July 29, 2022; it has moved steadily forward in time after being announced for 2019, 2020 and 2021. By the way, Harrison Ford turns 80 in 2022, so let’s hope that the movie doesn’t shift any further into the future.