There have been plans for a fifth Indiana Jones film for years, but those plans have been delayed time and time again. It feels like we've been two years away from a new Indiana Jones film for the last decade. The difficulty has obviously been on the screenplay side, as finding the right adventure for the aging Indy has been difficult, resulting in the script passing through several different hands over the years. David Koepp was both the first, and the most recent, person given script writing duties, but now Koepp is off the project for the second time.
David Koepp recently sat down with our own Reelblend podcast, and spoke about the difficulty that comes with trying to craft an Indiana Jones movie, and the difficulty that comes with getting everybody to agree to one idea. However, in this case the decision for Koepp to hang up his pen didn't come directly from the script, but the fact that Steven Spielberg had handed directorial duties over to James Mangold. According to Koepp...
I am not [writing it] anymore. I’d done several versions of it with Steven [Spielberg] over a few years. And, you know, we got close several times, but they are complicated things to try to get everybody to agree on. And they’re hard to make good ones, as you can imagine, and some may attest. So I’m not on it anymore. When Steven left, it seemed like a good time to let Jim Mangold try his way, so I’m dying to see what he comes up with. They’re really… they’re exceptionally difficult. And I feel like, I hope they hit a good one.
James Mangold was announced as the new director of Indiana Jones 5 back in February, which feels like a million years ago right now. Mangold is an accomplished writer as well and while he hasn't written the screenplay for every film where he has had the director's chair, some of his biggest successes, like Walk the Line and Logan, saw his work as a writer as well as director.
Certainly, even if James Mangold doesn't handle the script himself, he may still want to take his own approach to the film in its entirety, which could mean bringing in other writers rather than just picking up what Steven Spielberg had been working on and making that movie. It's possible that any new writing attempt will be picking up whatever the current version of the script is and starting there, but it seems more likely the plan is to start from scratch.
David Koepp, who write Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was the first to try his hand at Indiana Jones 5, but eventually the job was handed off to Solo: A Star Wars Story co-writer Jonathan Kasdan before then being handed off to Tangled writer Dan Fogelman. Sometime after that the script circled back to Koepp.
Currently, Indiana Jones 5 has a release date of July 2022. While there's certainly no rush with most film productions still shut down, to hit that date the movie is going to need to start filming about 12 months from now, and so that gives Indy 5 a year to come up with a script that Harrison Ford likes, and then get pre-production planning complete.