Anyone following the slow development of the recently released Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull knows that numerous writers have taken cracks at it over the years, never quite meeting whatever requirements George Lucas and Steven Spielberg had in mind for the project.
Perhaps the best known of these attempts is the one from The Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption scripter Frank Darabont. He publicly voiced his dissatisfaction over his dealings with Lucas shortly, calling the experience “a waste of a year” at one point, after Lucas took his draft and passed it on to another writer for rewrites. Fans speculated what his draft was like and, in the wake of the release of Crystal Skull, how much better it probably was in relationship to the final product.
Now you can have a chance to make up your own mind, as Darabont’s draft has made its way online. First reported on by AintItCool, the original site hosting the script has been shut down and now I’m pretty sure that Paramount’s lawyers are playing Whack-A-Mole with any other site actually hosting the thing. However, with a little diligent detective work, you most likely will be able to ferret out a copy like I was able to.
While I haven’t had the time to give the script a full, careful read, I have managed to skim it, giving attention to a few sequences, and have found it pretty good, though not the absolute masterpiece that many fans thought that it might be. Somethings that fans complained about, like the refrigerator and the atomic bomb blast, are here, making one wonder if they originated with Darabont or were mandated by Lucas. Also, some of the dialogue could have been polished a bit more. However, Marion is written better and you can get an idea of what small contribution Indy’s dad would have made to the story if Sean Connery had decided to return to the franchise. On the plus side, the stuff with Marion is stronger and there’s stronger characterization throughout. Indy is more of a motivator in the adventure and there’s a better resolution to the McCarthy-ism/blacklist storyline. How you feel about Indy and Marion’s son Mutt, played by Shia La Boeuf, will determine your reaction to the fact that the character is not in Darabont’s script.