Star Wars creator George Lucas managed to distance himself from the iconic sci-fi franchise after his creation — and the entirety of his Lucasfilm studio — was sold to Walt Disney Studios in 2012, leaving fans to wonder whether he’d take the same approach with the Indiana Jones franchise he co-created with director Steven Spielberg.
That question appears to have been answered by screenwriter David Koepp, who’s currently hard at work on the script for the fifth Indiana Jones movie.
“He’s not (involved), to my knowledge,” Koepp told Collider when asked about Lucas. “I’ve had no contact with him.”
The three hallmarks of the Indiana Jones franchise thus far have been star Harrison Ford, director Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas co-writing the story (if not the script itself). With Lucas handing the reins to his Lucasfilm franchises over to Disney, however, the torch will likely be passed on his adventuring archeologist series in much the same way it was with the Star Wars films. Ford is still expected to star in the film.
Koepp, who wrote the screenplay for the last film in the franchise, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, went so far as to joke a bit about the direction he plans to take the series.
“I’m deeply immersed [in the script] as we speak. All I can say is that there’s lots of aliens and Indy dies at the end,” he joked.
Little is known about the plot of the next film in the franchise, which was officially announced in 2015. In addition to penning the script for the widely panned Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Koepp is also credited with writing the screenplays for Jurassic Park, Mission: Impossible, and a wide range of other films that don’t inspire nearly as much negative sentiment from fans, so it will be interesting to see what he learned from the Crystal Skull experience.
Koepp indicated in the interview that the studio is targeting an October 2017 start to production on the film, but the timeline isn’t dependent on him alone.
“It’s certainly OK for me and I’ll be ready, but my schedule isn’t the tough one,” he explained. “So I think October — I hope, I hope so. We’ll see. That’s a hard one to answer.”
The still-untitled film is currently scheduled to hit theaters July 19, 2019.