'Indiana Jones' Sequel Whips Into Shape


Given how many times fans have heard this news before, it might be best to take it with a grain of salt, but the fourth "Indiana Jones" film appears to be destined for a 2008 big screen premiere.

With franchise producer George Lucas spilling the beans as part of his capacity as Rose Parade grand marshal, all of the "Indiana Jones" principals released the necessary statements over the weekend confirming that production on "Indy IV" will begin in June with an eye toward a May 2008 release.

Once again, Lucas will produce, Harrison Ford will star and Steven Spielberg will direct. Frank Marshall and Kathy Kennedy will return to produced.

"George, Harrison and I are all very excited," Spielberg says in a statement jumbled up in both industry trade papers. "We felt that the script was well worth the wait. We hope it delivers everything you'd expect from our history with Indiana Jones."

Lucas added, "Working with Steven, Frank, Kathy and the 'Indy' crew is like working with family. These films are such great fun to make. I'm looking forward to reuniting with the team and starting this new journey."

It's been more than 17 years since "The Last Crusade" was released, but it's not like Spielberg and Lucas have been waiting patiently to make another sequel. A slew of screenwriters came on board the project including Frank Darabont and Jeff Nathanson. The final and approved script was written by frequent Spielberg collaborator David Koepp, not that anybody knows what Koepp finally wrote. The plot is being kept under tight wraps with little information provided on how Harrison, now 64, will be able to get back to business as the titular swashbuckling archeologist.

In his own statement, Ford contributes, "I'm delighted to be back in business with my old friends. I don't know if the pants still fit, but I know the hat will."

The three films in the franchise -- 1981's "Raiders of the Lost Ark," 1984's "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" and 1989's "Last Crusade" -- have taken in just under $1.2 billion worldwide.

LucasFilms Ltd. will produce the fourth film with Paramount distributing. No official release date has been set, but May 2008 is already packed with potential blockbusters including "Iron Man," "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" and the long-gestating "Speed Racer" feature.

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