A review of the Frank Darabont’s original script for Indiana Jones 4 surfaces online (and then is quickly removed)

Frank Darabont, screenwriter of such films as “The Green Mile,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” as well as several episodes of “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles” worked for a year on a preliminary script for “Indiana Jones 4.” It’s thought that while both Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford liked the script, George Lucas didn’t. So, the script was passed. Last week, a script that several sources claim was the original Darabont first draft was leaked online, and then pulled quickly. Read a review below that appeared on G4’s website. I’m sure subsequent drafts would’ve had revisions, but it’s hard to imagine it being as bad as any script George Lucas would’ve liked.

Original posting

Frank Darabont’s script for Indiana Jones IV, entitled Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods, is an archaeological wonder in its own right. However, we’ve received a bootleg copy of the script that’s making its way around the internet, which is reported, but not confirmed, to be the real thing. We read it, and it seems pretty legit, or the person who is faking it is a terrific screenwriter. Either way, here’s a review.


First off, the script is largely the same, storywise, focusing on the discovery of the crystal skull, as well as the lost city in Peru where the Gods were thought to live, only to discover that these “gods” were aliens with a culture advanced thousands of years beyond our own.

Also, Marion Ravenwood is in the script. In fact, she’s featured even more prominently than in the actual film. And, yes, she and Indy end up married in the end. Oxley’s there, as well as a double-crossing friend, and, to my surprise, the “nuking the fridge” sequence and the giant ants are there, as well.

However, also in this script are Dr. Henry Jones, Sr. and Sallah, making awesome cameo appearances that really help cement the whole history of Indiana Jones, and tie the whole saga together.

What’s not in the script? Well, Shia LaBoeuf’s character, Mutt, for one thing. There’s no mention of a son and no appearance of one either. Now, while I didn’t necessarily think that Mutt’s character was one of the most egregiously awful things about the movie, his absence definitely makes room for more character development on Indy’s part, and it allows the story to shine through, in opposition to the constant ‘wink-wink-he’s-his-son-but-neither-of-them-know-it-yet’ portions of Crystal Skull that drove me nuts.

This script is awesome in exactly the places that Crystal Skull was lame. Just those few flips in the sequence removed all of the punch from this really excellent, well thought out, super exciting script, and rendered it vacuous and boring. In other words, Spielberg and Lucas chose the right story, but they neutered it to focus on the wrong things.

There are at least three awesome action sequences in this script, including a fighter plane chase that would have blown the doors off the theater had it actually happened on film. In addition, the double-crossing friend is a Russian, which makes the whole America vs. the Soviet Union thing work a lot better. Oxley’s character isn’t like a family pet, and there are some nods to the Indiana Jones mythology that really work well here.

Perhaps the biggest difference in the script is the treatment of Marion Ravenwood. First off, she doesn’t spend the entirety of the story standing in the background grinning like she’s happy to have a job. She’s the Marion we came to know and love in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and her story arc is so much more believable in this script that it’s a night-and-day experience.

Also, the aliens are mean. They’re a legitimate threat, not fascinating, but terrifying, and there’s an implication that they have been the reason that humans believe in God for the past several thousand years. The resolution of the plot is so much more satisfying here than in the actual film, and the script just shows that Lucas and Spielberg were too soft to make the choices that turned the plot a little dark and/or scary.

At the end of the day, Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods is 100% a better script than the one that was shot for the film. This would have been the right way to close out the series, and it would have been a return to form that no one could have expected, instead of a movie that everyone places just above the abysmal Temple of Doom in the Indy canon.

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3 Responses to “A review of the Frank Darabont’s original script for Indiana Jones 4 surfaces online (and then is quickly removed)”

  1. Rosie Says:

    I read some of the screenplay before it disappeared. It looked more like a rehash of RAIDERS than something new. Especially Indy and Marion’s reunion. Even worse, they had not changed one iota over the past twenty years, considering their ages.

  2. Rosie Says:

    Why on earth would Sallah be needed in this film, considering it was set in the U.S. and South America?

  3. pooper Says:

    lucas is a weiner void of creativity.
    the worst thing to happen to both indiana jones and star wars.

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