There’s a similar thread in the Star Wars boards, so…here’s one here!
WhatwouldyoudoforaKlondackbar? and politicidal brought a number of scrapped Indy scripts to my attention on Colden’s forum that I found very interesting. The website MentalFloss has synopses for these three:
Indiana Jones and the Monkey King, in which Indy fights ghosts and hunts down a lost city and eternal-life-giving peaches
Indiana Jones and the Saucermen from Mars, in which Indy gets married to a completely new character (with Marion and Willie at the wedding!), Elaine McGregor, who then vanishes… Later on, they hunt aliens together. Yeah.
Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods, the closest script to Crystal Skull, in which Indy and a few others are “...lifted by a swirling alien vapor that hypnotizes them.” We also have Crystal Skull’s Marion, crystal skulls, jungle adventure, and Russians.
OK, of these three I think Monkey King has the best concept, but then that may be because there’s one element (a female student of Indy’s who’s in love with him and who sneaks away to join him on an adventure) that I had independently dreamt up as well!
Which do you like the best? Does anyone know any more?
Monkey King and City of the Gods both sounded interesting. The former only because it was so batshit insane. The rhino vs tank battle sounds like something out of a Jumanji movie;maybe in the upcoming Jumanji 3? There was also a planned Lost World type movie that evolved into Temple of Doom where he found a valley full of dinosaurs in China.
A valley of dinosaurs in China… Pretty non-Indy-esque, but boy I’d watch it…
There apparently was a book where he wound up finding a Triceratops and its infant in Mongolia. The only novel I read was The Philosopher's Stone which was okay but it laid it pretty thick on the arcane alchemy mumbo jumbo and wasn't really all that action heavy.
The more I heard about the haunted house open, which Lucas apparently loves and which I thought ridiculous the first time I heard of it, the more I’m convinced that it might have been OK after all.
Someone at the Raven pointed out that “Masks of Evil” also had the Indy-in-a-haunted-house situation, and I thought it started out pretty well (and then went nuts, but the opening is good). It could have been that they suggest it’s a haunted house but don’t directly show any ghosts or supernatural material.
Post by WhatwouldyoudoforaKlondackbar? on Jul 9, 2018 0:03:34 GMT
All three scripts are available online.
I've read them all.
Basically, they're all terrible.
I love the idea of using the Monkey King legend of Chinese lore... But they totally screw it up, making it take place in Africa instead of China and turning it so weird that it likely would've been a total disaster. The female student is also a shockingly horrible character. There's an actual scene where she tries to hang herself and it's played for laughs. Plus, it opens with a haunted house. Seriously, this is one bad screenplay.
I strangely don't remember much about the Saucermen script, but it felt more B-Movie sci fi than Indy. Would've been another disaster.
And City of the Gods is basically Crystal Skull... Only some things are better and some things are worse. There is an AMAZING sequence where Indy gets drunk and tries to steal the idol from Raiders out of his own university's museum! It is hilarious! But... Later he gets eaten by a giant snake and a monkey poops on him, so... Hit and miss.
I haven’t yet finished reading any of the three, WhatwouldyoudoforaKlondackbar?, but I’ll try to look into them (as well as watching Star Wars, and all this other stuff that’s going on my list!). I think Monkey King looks like it’s better as a concept than as written.
Indy drunk, stealing the idol from Raiders? Now that’s just weird enough to work…
”…and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by…”
I haven’t yet finished reading any of the three, WhatwouldyoudoforaKlondackbar? , but I’ll try to look into them (as well as watching Star Wars, and all this other stuff that’s going on my list!). I think Monkey King looks like it’s better as a concept than as written.
Indy drunk, stealing the idol from Raiders? Now that’s just weird enough to work…
The "what could've been" stuff fascinates me. Especially since I honestly could've seen a dozen Indy movies without getting sick of the franchise.
The Monkey King could've worked, but they throw all kinds of weird stupid things into the script. Supernatural life giving peaches?! What?!
And yeah, that sequence would've been so great... Although it does border on meta-humor/parody.
I love “what could’ve been” too, WhatwouldyoudoforaKlondackbar?. The great thing with Indy is that there are so many possible plot-ideas we (and Lucas) can invent… (It’s probably the same for Star Wars as well. By the way, I know I’m taking my sweet time with The Empire Strikes Back—sorry—but I’m  intending to watch it with my Star Wars-fan friend who’s in California and  I think my uncle may have a VHS of the movie, so I hope that’d be a pre-some-edits copy.)
Oh, Monkey King definitely would have needed edits. But between all three of these scripts I think there’d be at least some good sequences for an Indy movie.
That link from the Raven board has a synopsis from the original draft of Last Crusade—not sure how this would have worked:
The first draft opens with a battle in Mexico between Indy and Banano, a crazed individual with a whip and a loyal band of gorillas. The object of their dispute is the death mask of Montezuma. Indy manages to throw Banano off a cliff, and his gorillas go free.
No sooner is he back in the States than Indy has to depart for France to look for his father—who has disappeared while looking for the Holy Grail. With a friend named Maude he goes to Montsegur, where they meet a nun named Chantal and her relation De La War, who explains that they had found a map that led Indy's father to Venice. But Nazis, led by Baron Balder von Grimm, were hot on the trail of Indy's dad. Grimm has a hapless sidekick named Hans, whom he is always calling "Idiot!" and then throttling.
After adventures in Venice and on the Orient Express where they are disguised as royalty, Indy and Chantai arrive in Istanbul. Clues and escapades put them on a train to Petra, where they are soon fighting for their lives. Fortunately Indy's old friend Sallah arrives with two horses, which they mount. Sallah then leads them to a Bedouin on horseback—who turns out to be Indy's father. Together they find the Grail in Petra, within the City of the Dead. At the climax Grimm shows up, but when he touches the Grail, he explodes; when Henry Sr. touches the Grail, a stairway to heaven appears, which he ascends. The nun Chantal is tempted to take the stairs as well, urged on by Indy. But her love for Jones makes her stay.
In the revised first draft the Nazi villain is Greta Von Grimm. And this time Indy finds his father tied to a pillar in a crusader's castle called Krak Des Chevalier. He'd been forced to help the Nazis in their search for the Grail, but they'd left him to die when he was no longer useful. At the place of the Grail, Indy does battle with a fantastic demon creature, whom he defeats by stabbing it in the belly with a dagger inscribed with the words GOD is KING. Bad girl Greta is vaporized by the Grail.
Romancing the Stone = Heard of it but... Never seen it.
Diane's script = Never heard of it. Never read it.
Heh. OK. Got it now.
I think I referenced Romancing the Stone in my “Indy-like movies” thread; I’d seen it years ago and not liked it much, but then with all the recommendations I saw it again—but still didn’t like it, unfortunately! I found it more dull than anything else: many of the ideas are excellent, but the script’s not confident in its convictions or something. (No disrespect to Miss Thomas, whose journey to writing the script was a remarkable Cinderella story and whose early death was utterly tragic.) I haven’t yet seen the sequel, The Jewel of the Nile, but I thought the very silly ’85 King Solomon’s Mines and even the pilot episode of the TV show Hooten & the Lady did this kind of African Queen-esque plot better.
If I’m remembering correctly, Thomas wrote a first draft of Monkey King for Lucas that Chris Columbus later reworked into his draft. I’d love to know especially where it diverges with the Monkey King we have.