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Frank Darabont’s Lost Indiana Jones Script

Frank Darabont has an impressive resume: Not only did he develop the critically acclaimed Walking Dead TV show, he’s also a three-time Oscar nominee, having directed The Green Mile (1999) and The Shawshank Redemption (1994). Recently his script for the fourth Indiana Jones movie surfaced on the Internet.


Writer, producer and director Frank Darabont. 

Reinventing an Icon
Darabont, who previously worked with George Lucas as a script writer on the The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones television show, was hired to write a script in May 2002. The script, called Indiana Jones and the City of Gods, had Indy being pursued by ex-Nazis in the 1950s. For Darabont it would be no easy task to follow Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (a film that many felt effectively wrapped up the franchise) but his script did that, and then some.

Darabont finished his script toward the end of 2003 and presented it to Steven Spielberg. Spielberg, who thought up the story concept for the fourth film, loved the script. George Lucas, however, who created Indiana Jones, didn’t like it.

Spielberg and Lucas had long discussions about the story – both had issue with the 1950s setting, and that it ignored the Cold War. After some additional reflection, Spielberg (who had also received an Oscar for Schindler’s List) decided it would be inappropriate to satirize Nazis in the next Indiana Jones movie. Harrison Ford too, who played Indiana Jones, also felt the franchise had “wore the Nazis out.”


Grab a box of tissues and get ready to cry over what could have been…

Sadly, neither felt Darabont’s script was what they were looking for. Eventually, Lucas took over the script-writing duties and other screen writers came on too, with Russians becoming Indy’s main enemy, although one of Darabont’s story concepts remained: Marion Ravenwood as Indy’s love interest.

Script Writing 101
Fans have badmouthed Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull since it was released, and story elements played a huge part in that – including the scene at the beginning of the movie where Indy saves himself from a nuclear blast by hiding in a refrigerator. Writing for the screen is a craft that takes years to develop, but film camp can provide a great start and learning script writing can be a great asset for beginning filmmakers.

Check out Frank Darabont’s Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods script and see what goes into making the written word come to life on the big screen. It’s a craft that can pay off big; at last count, the Indiana Jones franchise has grossed over a billion dollars.


George Lucas, Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg on the set of Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.

The Future of Indiana Jones
So what lies ahead for Indiana Jones? Is a fifth film in the works? Inside sources say yes, that Speilberg and Lucas “have a story that they like and they’re working on it.” As for rumors that Shia LaBeouf will take over the franchise, don’t hold your breath for that one to come true.

In a recent interview with Time magazine when he was asked about passing the proverbial torch (or in this case, hat) to LaBeouf in the next movie, Ford replied, “What are you talking about? It’s mine. I would love to do another Indiana Jones movie. George Lucas is working on an idea now. Shia can get his own hat. I earned that hat.”

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posted by Vince Matthews in Digital Filmmaking,News Blog and have No Comments

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