The entire process of crafting Indiana Jones' return to the silver screen is laid bare in a series of documentaries written, produced and directed by Laurent Bouzereau (who else) and the fun starts off on disc 1. The Rerturn of a Legend may be a bit off a self indulgent title, but it sets the scene for the documentaries to come and sheds some light on why it took so long for Indy to have another big adventure: Spielberg blames himself. However, this short subject also gives Lucas-Bashers (you gotta love internet slang) plenty of reasons to put George Lucas down, for most of the least popular elements that ended up in The Kingdom of the Crystal skull (for instance the word 'Kingdom' in the title) were put in there because Georgie-Peorgie insisted, according to Spiel. Thanks for being such a pal, Steven, ha ha.
You see, Steven was really quite satisfied with the three pictures he'd done in the Eighties and didn't see the need for another one. Especially since he was busy broadening his range and winning awards for his more serious films in the Nineties. By the 21th century he had struck a fine line alternating between serious films and summer blockbusters, and still although George Lucas has been kicking around the idea of a crystal skull ever since he worked on the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Steven wasn't interested in combining Indy with Sci-fi the way George intended. Of course neither he nor Lucas were in desperate need of a hit. Harrison Ford, however, most definitely was. Ford had been championing for a return to Indy for a couple of years now, because his star hadn't been shining so brightly ever since the start of the new century. So, Ford dropped a few hints during the 2005 AFI tribute to Lucas (saying they'd better hurry or else Sean Connery would be too old to play his father) and also while promoting his little seen thriller 'Firewall' (suggesting Virginia Madsen would make a good leading lady)
Of course Harrison's age had to be addressed: he turned 65 during filming (Steven and George are also in their sixties but then they didn't have to appear on screen). But creative George had already shot a short sequence of Harrison set in 1950 for 'Young Indiana Jones and the Mystery of the Blues' and has been toying with the idea of a fifties setting in the back of his head ever since. By setting the new film in 1957 (meaning Indy would be 58) he would be able to turn the 1930's Republic serial hero into a 1950's SF B-movie star. Spielberg also liked the idea of having the Communists as enemies this time around, for he wasn't about to make fun of the Nazi's again after Schindler and Ryan. Ford was 'happy to do it' just because the films 'were so much damn fun'. George intended to introduce a daughter for Indy (after all, he had an unnamed one in the Chronicles) but Spielberg insisted on using his favorite man-boy Shia LaBeouf, who went straight from working for Disney to being under contract from Dreamworks pictures (all of his movies are produced by Steven).
When trying to satisfy all the big players, probably the most difficult tasks proved to be settling on a title. After trying out several scripts by different writers (Frank Darabond remains nameless here). David 'The Closer' Koepp fleshed out the relationship between Jones and son and therefore wanted to call it 'Indiana Jones and the Son of Indiana Jones'. Other titles include 'Indy and the Saucer Men', Attack of the Giant Ants, and one Jerry Seinfeld would have loved: Indiana Jones and the Yada Yada of the Mysterians. So maybe 'Kingdom' wasn't such a bad choice after all, eh, Bashers?
7 out of 10
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