Photo by David James/Paramount Pictures
Tom Russo here from the Sunday DVD page, stopping by the blog for a visit. After catching Sunday’s Boston media screening of “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” – my personal movie-going holy grail – I ran home all anxious to take a look back at a piece I had written years ago for the late, hopefully lamented Premiere magazine.
It was a roundup of various never-produced screenplays with a notable fanboy pedigree. The best one of all? (BE WARNED – SPOILERS START HERE.) “Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men From Mars,” written way back in 1995 by Jeb Stuart, who presumably got the gig partly thanks to his then-recent work on Harrison Ford’s “Fugitive” remake. (Stuart shared the broader Indy “story by” credit with George Lucas.)
Doing my own archaeological dig through dusty files, I located my copy of the script – and sure enough, you could see the roots of various story ideas that wound up in “Crystal Skull.” There was Indy, now a Cold War spy, tangling with the Commies. There was a wedding. There was our hero stumbling, explosively, right into the middle of a desert A-bomb test, a scene that ultimately survived very much intact. Ford even name-checks the term “saucer men from Mars” in the new movie as the action moves firmly into “X-Files” territory.
But memory is a funny thing. Going back over my Premiere text, I was a little thrown to realize that I hadn’t actually included “Indy IV.” And then, vaguely, it came back to me – my editor and I had instead placed a safer bet, going with an “Indy III” variation purportedly by Chris Columbus (“Harry Potter”) that featured a set piece recognizably incorporated into “Last Crusade.”
Our rationale for cutting “Saucer Men,” I think, was that the idea of Indy hunting for little green guys was entertaining and all – but clearly just too far out there to be trusted. Go figure. Makes it all the more apt that our headline on the piece was “Would Have, Could Have…Should Have?”
About Movie Nation
ContributorsTy Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.
Mark Feeney is an arts writer for The Boston Globe.
Janice Page is movies editor for The Boston Globe.
Tom Russo is a regular correspondent for the Movies section and writes a weekly column on DVD releases.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer for Boston.com.
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