‘Indiana Jones’ Movie Writer Admits Aliens in ‘Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ Were a Mistake

The Indiana Jones movies were mostly flawless through the first three. Many were excited to see the return of Harrison Ford as this character in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but it’s considered by many to be a disappointment. Part of that is the mysterious plot of the movie that deals with aliens. In a new interview, an Indiana Jones writer admits that putting aliens in the movie was a mistake

‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ was a disappointing return for the character

Director Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford attend the photocall for the movie Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival
Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford | George Pimentel/WireImage

1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark is an absolute classic adventure movie. Directed by Steven Spielberg, audiences were introduced to Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) as he goes on an epic adventure to stop the Nazis from finding the ark of the covenant. The following movie, Temple of Doom is a prequel that shares an early story of Indy, and The Last Crusade brings in Indy’s father (Sean Connery) to join the adventure.

Many have their own favorite of this trilogy, but all three are perfect templates on how to make entertaining and thrilling action/adventure movies. Spielberg is an expert at delivering blockbuster fun for audiences, but the Indiana Jones movies are enhanced by a great performance from Ford and an incredible score from composer John Williams

In 2008, Spielberg and Ford returned for a fourth adventure with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. While critics at the time enjoyed the movie, fans were not so thrilled with Indy’s return. The movie also brought back Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood and introduced Shia Labeouf as Indy and Marion’s kid. While there are fun moments to be had, many were critical of the bizarre action sequences and seemingly out-of-place storyline.

‘Indiana Jones’ writer admits putting aliens in the movie was a mistake

In an interview with the Script Apart podcast, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull writer David Koepp says that he feels making the main premise about aliens was a mistake. In the movie, the Crystal Skull, which acts as the MacGuffin for the film, turned out to be a skull of an ancient alien species. Koepp says he tried to talk Spielberg and George Lucas out of it, but he couldn’t change their mind. 

“I was never happy with the idea,” Koepp said. “When I came on, I tried to convince [director Steven Spielberg and franchise co-creator George Lucas] to change it—I had this other idea. They didn’t want to change it. I’m not saying mine would’ve been better. But I think that a lot of the pushback that movie got, in a larger sense aside from little things people might not have liked—that were too silly or whatever—the larger one was that ‘We don’t feel like aliens should’ve been in an Indiana Jones movie.’ Fair enough, in retrospect, you’re probably right.”

‘Indiana Jones 5’ is still on the way

Despite fans not enjoying the alien plot, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull still made $790 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. That’s enough for a studio to at least consider if there is another story to tell. Disney has been working on an Indiana Jones 5 for a while with Ford returning in the role. This time, Spielberg is not directing and Logan director James Mangold will be taking the helm.

Indiana Jones 5 will swing into theaters on June 30, 2023. 

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