Lucas Says He's Working on 'Indiana Jones 4'

Writer/director says he's 'got something both Spielberg and Ford like.'

In what will surely be joyous news to the legions of fans long yearning to hear the crack of Indy's whip, George Lucas put a decade of rumors to rest by conceding that yes, there will definitely be another Indiana Jones film.

"I'm working on a story right now," Lucas told onetime "MTV Movie House" reporter Master P at his Skywalker Ranch (see "Cameo: Master P Interviews Samuel L. Jackson"). "I've got something that both Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford like."

This will be the fourth movie in the Indiana Jones series, which began with 1981's "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and continued with 1984's "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" and 1989's "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," which costarred Sean Connery as the title character's father.

"We're in the process of hiring a writer," Lucas said, "and hopefully we'll be able to start shooting ... not next year, but probably the year after. It'll take a while to write the script and all that sort of thing."

In all of the "Indiana Jones" movies, Harrison Ford played a charming, intelligent, resourceful, wise-cracking, adventure-seeking professor who braved dark caves, snakes, booby traps, jungles and Nazis during the '30's and '40's to recover artifacts such as the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail. Indy felt that such treasures belonged in museums, not in the hands of greedy collectors or power seeking villains.

"Indiana Jones" film staples include fast rolling boulders, rapidly closing doors, exotic locales, varying love interests, plenty of humor and high action. Indiana Jones, or "Indy," always carried a whip, dressed in a brown leather jacket and wore a sharp, dark hat. All three films established an action adventure formula that has since been embellished upon by many filmmakers — the highly derivative "Mummy" series being a recent example.

Lucas conceptualized the character of Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones over 20 years ago, handing the swashbuckling archeologist over to his director pal Steven Spielberg and a handful of writers. Lucas originally asked television star Tom Selleck to play the role of Indy, but the actor was too busy filming episodes of "Magnum, P.I." to commit.

So Lucas called upon his old pal Harrison, who had already acted for him in 1977's original "Star Wars" and his "American Graffiti" before that. The films went on to massive box office success. The Indiana Jones character existed on television for a short time in "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles," where Lucas perfected many of the special effects techniques he would later use in the "Star Wars" prequels.

Rumors have suggested a new "Indiana Jones" movie for over a decade. A particularly popular story said that the film's premise would revolve around the lost city of Atlantis. More credible sources have revealed only that some of Indy's past love interests — played by Karen Allen and Kate Capshaw — may appear in cameos.

Ford, who turns 60 in July, has since headlined a number of successful pictures ranging from 2000's "What Lies Beneath" to 1997's "Air Force One," 1993's "The Fugitive" to a pair of movies based on best-selling author Tom Clancy's CIA character Jack Ryan.