Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Cracking the Indy IV “Mysteries”

A question for all my fellow screenwriters out there:

How would you have handled Indy IV?

Now that the final story is locked and going into production, let’s speculate. In
the first announcement, Lucas said it’s a “character piece” involving “very interesting mysteries.” Hmm…

There are 3 things I think we can safely assume about the new film:

  1. Indy will search for artifact(s) that have not been previously reported or rumored.
  2. On the other hand, we could still see any number of rumors involving Indy’s personal life, such as him having a daughter or the return of all his ex-girlfriends.
  3. He’ll probably have a damn character arc. The bastards.

So here’s the $100,000,000 question:

Had you been given the opportunity to pitch Lucas, how would you approach the final film of an iconic franchise? What would the artifact(s) be? How would you handle Indy’s love life? Who would the villains be? How do you end this franchise?

Of course, you’d have to be familiar with the long history of stories that have already been rejected, and you’d have to prove your worth as a writer by bringing NEW ideas to the table. (Thus, you might want to study up on my
Indy IV post) Not only that, you should probably have multiple ideas handy so that if one got shot down, you’d have other ideas in your bag of goodies to bring to the table.

For the sake of our hypothetical discussion, let’s pretend that you are just being asked to pitch Lucas and he isn’t giving any hints about what he’s looking for.

Countless writers have been unable to crack this story. Can you?

I might. I’d have to think about it.

I'll share my thoughts later in another post.

(Disclaimer - this is not a call to write fan fiction. This is just a hypothetical about what your ideas would have been and how you would have pitched the fourth film. This is the kind of discussion that says more about who you are as a writer than anything else.)

If ya like, leave a comment here or write about it on your blog.



Unk said...

First of all George... Sit the fuck down and shut your mouth. You make me nervous always leaving your mouth open like that.

We've gotta end this thing in the states George. We've gotta bring Indy back home. Ya folla? Harrison ain't gettin' any younger. Ya folla?

Second, it's time to tell you the truth... Let screenwriters write and you just keep funneling the bucks for the movie. We don't want another Star Wars prequel with cardboard cut out characters. Got it?



Hmmm. We definitely gotta play on Indy's age and shit... Why not bring back Sean Connery to get Indy to understand that at some fucking point, you gotta step aside and let the "up and coming" archaeologists have their day in the sun.

Maybe we can even bring in a young up and coming archaeologist protégé and have Indy teach him how to use a whip.

Yeah... That works! We bring a younger guy to take over the reins... This way we kinda keep the franchise goin' and like I said... Harrison ain't gettin' any younger and hell, why not bring him in to do the same thing as Sean Connery?

Whoa. Are you thinkin' what I'm thinkin'? It turns out that this young archaeologist is Indy's bastard son. We get Karen Allen to break it to father Sean. Sean gets the kid to come along and of course the kid fucking hates Indy all the way through the flick. The kid's just like his old man and now here's Indy giving him all this advice. We can even have them kick the shit out of each other and then just as Indy's about to land the blow that will put the kid into the hospital for the next six months, father Sean breaks it to both of them.

They're related.

We can get Karen for a song... Isn't she makin' quilts or something? So we put a few of the quilts in the movie for her -- she makes a killing on eBay.

So whattaya think George?



Where'd he go?

--Actually, I do have a real idea for the final movie that would launch a new action adventure hero but alas... George REALLY ISN'T LISTENING.


Unk said...


Starring Adam Sandler as Dusty Ravenwood

Now that's a fuckin' movie.


*NOTE: I've been up all night and I'm fucking DELIRIOUS.

Unk again

Mim said...

This is easy. Natalie Portman wants in? She's Indy's niece. Indy had to have brothers and/or sisters, right? I mean, I'm related in a direct line to the sister of an explorer: the guy who discovered Victoria Lake. No, the real guy. Not the guy who took credit for it.

Natalie's dad is kind of a wimp, so she's always looked up to Uncle Indy and wanted to be just like him. Maybe she's inherited the "explore-it" gene from him. She even found herself a hat that sort of matches Uncle Indy's, except it's more feminine.

So it's the fifties, right? And what was big in the fifties? Nuclear power. And who were still the big bad guys in the fifties? The Japanese. So Natalie goes off to Japan to do some exploring on their remote northern island of Hokkaido. They have volcanos there, you know?

She gets herself in trouble and the only one who knows enough about Hokkaido is Uncle Indy.

We can keep Sean back in the states to argue intelligently with the government guys in black suits. He's retired, so don't give him too much to do. Just make sure it's juicy. He'll be good at uncovering intrigue.

Give Natalie all the stunts. She's young and flexible, and she'll look good swinging on a rope. Have Indy save her by using the experience he's gained over the years. She gets into trouble and hangs out over a chasm. He steps in to save her without pulling his joints out of place.

And at some point, all the characters have to go to Hiroshima, so we can have some poignant moments there, as well as the ever-present danger of lingering radiation.

Mim said...

UNK, we co-posted. I'll keep in mind to stay up all night until I'm delirious if I ever have to pitch to George Lucas.

We can have Adam Sandler play the head bad government guy in a black suit.

Mystery Man said...


I was kinda worried I was wasting my time with this post.


Mystery Man said...

Mim - I love it! And then Clint Eastwood directs a movie from the Japanese persective!



Mim said...

Do you really think Steven would step aside for Clint?

GameArs said...

Indiana Jones and the Fountain of Youth.

He searches and searches and searches - hacking his way though oceans of jungle - and finally ends up in a Botox factory.


GameArs said...

No, seriously:

Indiana Jones and the Sword of Kings.

Indy races to find Excalibur before a maniacal British Prime Minister, who is bent on reestablishing the United Kingdom as a world empire, finds it.

Or some such thing.

GimmeABreak said...

Indiana Jones and the Ugly Fuckin' Car

Indy and Pops search for the idiot that gave the go-ahead to mass-production of a car with a front end that looks like labia.

Raiders of the Lost Hymen

Indy and Pops join the fledgling adult entertainment industry in Encino as the first father/son deflorists (is that a word?).

Sorry. Been reading the TS thread on what movies make you horny...

Mystery Man said...

Carl - Hehehe... Loved your first one! There was a false report eons ago about "Sword of Arthur" which got some guy has posted onto the web and tried to pass it off as a real script. It was just fan fiction. But the lawyers went after him. It was reported that Lucas was furious about the whole thing because he was VERY interested in doing that story.

Pat - It IS a word. That used to be my full-time job before I became a writer. Hehehe... Aww, good times, good times.


Mickey Lee said...

The baddies have to be the Russians. And the artifact would have to be something that Stalin desperately desires....something that would give him military superiority over the U.S.

I think once you've done the Holy Grail, there's nowhere else to go but down. Maybe Indy could look for that bag that has Medusa's head in it after Harry Hamlin chucked it into the ocean in "Clash of the Titans"? Greek mythology is really the only place you can go -- and there was plenty of Soviet activity in Greece during the time period to make it plausible.

Mystery Man said...

I feel EXACTLY the same way, Mickey.

Need I remind my readers that they are doing a MacGuffin that everyone HATES.

Lucas said, “I discovered a McGuffin... I told the guys about it and they were a little dubious about it, but it’s the best one we’ve ever found... Unfortunately, it was a little too ‘connected’ for the others. They were afraid of what the critics would think. They said, 'Can’t we do it with a different McGuffin? Can’t we do this?' and I said 'No.' So we pottered around with that for a couple of years. Then Harrison really wanted to do it and Steve said, 'Okay.' I said, 'We’ll have to go back to that original MacGuffin and take out the offending parts and still use that area of the supernatural do deal with it.'"


I would think that there are only 3 kinds of artifacts he could go after: spiritual, historical, or something that's really personal to the Jones family.

I think the villains SHOULD BE the Russians, but I fear they've chickened out of that idea. Darabont admitted that his story took place in the '50s. When Jeff Nathanson took over, he moved it back into the '40s! I suspect that one of the members of the Indiana Jones trifecta was fearful about pissing off the Russians and many Europeans. In today's politically correct climate, the Nazis are the only truly acceptable villains.

I want to say something else.

Knowing that Lucas couldn't come up with a better idea for "Return of the Jedi" than to REBUILD another Death Star, I can't help but wonder if the man is thinking about bringing back the ARK OF THE COVENANT. Hence, the potential to have "offending parts," it being "too connected," and the element of the "supernatural."


Unk said...

Ah... The old Nazis heist the Ark out of the top secret government warehouse gimmick...

Works every time.


Mystery Man said...


Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to think of a specific pitch, but personally I'd set it in China, circa 1946, and one of the big set pieces would involve the terra-cotta warriors.

GameArs said...

If someone already angered Mr. Lucas with an Excalibur story, then what if the villain was putting together the DOOMSDAY CLOCK? A gear here and spring there. Indy puts 2-and-2 together and realizes what the viallain is after.

Then the clock can be counting down and Indy stops the clock 2 seconds before reality is torn asunder in

Indiana Jones at Two Minutes to Midnight...

The opening sequence would, of course, show Indy retrieving Excalibur and shoving it back into a rock. :)

Mystery Man said...

Matt - China would've been a serious consideration for me as well. Of course, they went to Shanghai in Temple of Doom, but ya know, it's so visually rich, it's very tempting.

Carl - Hehehe... I love it, man! And you may be on to something. The IMDB title says "Indiana Jones and the Ravages of Time..."


GimmeABreak said...

I think the "Ravages of Time" refers to Harrison Ford's face...


Mickey Lee said...

How about "Indiana Jones and the Lost Midlife Crisis Earring"?

But seriously, I remember from "Young Indiana Jones" that the present-day (1990s) Indy had an eyepatch. Are we going to see Indy lose an eye in this one??

Oh, and Carl, thanks a lot! Now I've got Iron Maiden stuck in my head

GameArs said...


Two Minutes to Midnight
The Hand that Threatens Dooooooom!

The Colonel said...

"Indiana Jones and the Flogging of the Dead Horse"

Neigh, neigh, a thousand times neigh!!

Mystery Man said...


Couldn't agree more, Colonel.