Orci & Kurtzman Talk Trek, Transformers…Indy 4? [UPDATE: O&K Writing Superman Sequel?]

Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are hot stuff these days. They have multiple big projects in the works from Transformers 2 to Eagle Eye to Fringe to a little thing called Star Trek. Which is why Entertainment Weekly’s new exclusive interview titled: “‘Star Trek’ Scribes: What Indiana Jones Means To Us” is a bit of a ‘WTF?’ But it turns out the pair are also huge Indy fans (as is TrekMovie.com…so deal with it). Kurtzman has even taught his two year-old son the Raiders theme.

EW has a special issue this week with all sorts of stuff about the new Indy movie, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. So the interview with Orci and Kurtzman is really for insights from Hollywood’s hottest nerds on how the Indy series has influenced them and the entire genre to this day….here are a couple of the more interesting excerpts:

Kurtzman on the ‘Ark scene’ in Raiders:

I also think that the Ark represented that amazingly fine line that the movie is walking between reality and magic, and how it manages to hold the perfect balance between those two things is really a tonal miracle. Raiders defined something that we’ve been chasing forever. It was such a major motivator in our falling in love with genre and understanding that you could tell a story that was emotional and funny and scary and adventurous all in one go. You want people [watching your films] to feel like you felt as a kid watching that movie. That’s the dream.

Orci on the special appeal of the character of Indiana Jones

He could actually feel pain and was afraid and screamed when he got hurt. That is not an intuitive choice when you’re thinking of the classic hero.

Both on if the Indiana Jones films have ‘seeped into’ their own work:

ORCI: Subconsciously? We’ve been in meetings with Spielberg where we’re like, ”Listen, at the risk of analyzing your own work back to you, this is kind of like, you know, the Staff of Ra.” And he’s like, ”Oh, that’s fine, that’s fine. I always steal from myself. Feel free. Let’s talk about it.” And we’ll use his own movies as examples of what we’re doing in ours, so it’s not subliminal.
KURTZMAN: Let’s just call it what it is: We rip it off as much as is humanly possible, at every turn. Everything we felt that worked in those movies, we try and steal.
ORCI: With his help.

For more from Orci and Kurtzman on Indy (and just Indy), check out EW.com Although not Trek, you may learn something about how the pair view the genre and Indy’s influence. Maybe if they are let out of ‘Michael Bay jail,’ Bob will drop by and tell us if there are any Indy influences on the Trek script.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is Paramount’s big May movie for 2008…and a year later Paramount rolls out Orci and Kurtzman’s Star Trek (and Transformers 2 six weeks after that). More at the official site.

If you haven’t seen it, here is the trailer:

UPDATE: Can Orci & Kurtzman type faster than a speeding bullet?
IESB is reporting a rumor that the busy Trek scribes may be adding Superman to their resume. According to IESB they have had “several meetings” regarding Bryan Singer’s follow-up film to Superman Returns. It would be ironic as Singer (a big Trek fan) has described the film as “the Wrath of Khan” of his Superman franchise, meaning it would be more action packed (and lower cost) than his first entry.

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Alot to look forward to…

I love Indiana Jones & Star Trek. Thanks for the Indy semi-updates. :-)

it ll be a nice birthday present for me as its out on my b day gotta be done classic

As far as creative touchstones go, you can’t go wrong with Raiders. As close to a perfect film as there is.

I was 11 when Raiders arrived on the scene, and remember sitting there with a huge Kool-Aid smile at all the blood & face-melting in a PG movie. Even the parents were impressed! Awesome.

Trek producers take note: My 17 year old nephew has never seen ANY of the Indianna Jones movies. He saw the trailer online, asked to borrowed my three Indy movies and now he and his girlfriend can’t wait to see the movie in May.

Thus the power of a good trailer.

If Paramount can manage to repeat the build and buzz of Indy 4 with Trek, they just might manage to distance themselves from the stigma attached to Berma-Trek and bring the kiddos into the theater.


just as Indy can be traced back to tha old serial shorts and Alan Quartermain and as Trek can be tracked back ta Forbidden Planet, it’s showing how a person can take a good idea and improve upon it to create an epic…
Can J.J. do that? Heres’ hopin’!

Now then, I think I’ll try me hand at writing an exciting thrill ride of an epic using “Manimal” as source material… hmmm…

When I first saw Indiana Jones i was blown away by it,. The Open sequences in the jungle alone would have been a great ending for any other film, the ending was both shocking and unexpected and incredible. I enjoyed all the films, I wish they could have done more movies then they did, Oh well. The Indiana Jones gave rise to a not half bad knock off tv show called Tales of the Gold Monkey staring Steven Collins as pilot and Adventurer Jake Cutter and Bruce Boxlietner as real life adventurer Frank Buck in Bring Em Back Alive tv show both did not last a season. I do look forward to this film with the bitter sweet notion that Indiana 4 will likely be the last film in the series

I’m a huge Indy fan and am eagerly awaiting this movie! Hopefully Bob Orci will drop a note here letting us know how the Indy films have influenced the Trek film. Thanks for following this Anthony.

Stepehn Collins? I do recall me tha Gold Monkey- had he a sea-plane!
So… Decker turned Indy Jones-clone turned minister who fancied whale biologists…
No type-casting thar.


Raiders was my absolute favorite movie for the longest time and completely blew me away when I first saw it at 12. I asked for, and got, for x-mas that year a brown leather jacket and a fedora. No whip, alas. My friends and I would explore the woods near our home and pretend that it was some forgotten Amazonian valley. Good times.

#10 yeah, no else I talk to seems to remember this series. You mentioned Allan Quartermain which almost nobody reads any more, but there were a number of other literary inspirations for Indiana Jones, Edgar Rice Boroughs of course, Abraham Merrit who wrote such novels as The Moon Pool,The Metal Monsters. Talbot Mundy who wrote such King of the Kyber Riffles, Om Secret of the Arbor Valley, The pulp works of Robert E Howard, Hp Lovecraft,
Some of the works by Clark Ashton Smith(City of the Singing Flame) The PUl adventure of Doc Savage by Keneth Roberson(Lester Dent and other) and The Shadow by Maxwell Grant(Walter Brown Gibson) The Spder By Norvell Page. There are to many to list. There was another tv show which could have been a bit of an influence. 1978 series Cliffhangers which no remembers at all.

And let’s all remember, had Lucas been given the authorization to remake Flash Gordon as he wanted, he never would have made Star Wars, so motion-picture Trek probably never would have gotten the go ahead. Also, Lucas and Spielberg probably wouldn’t have collaborated on the conceptualization of the whole Indiana Jones idea.

So, a tip of the glass to Universal, owners of Flash Gordon, for their brilliant short-sightedness wanting to keep a 30-year dead property!! ;-)

I remember Cliffhangers, vaguely.

It was like an anthology three (I think) shows. One a Dracula story, another a pre-Firefly sci-fi western and the other(s) I can’t recall.

Huge, huge Indiana Jones fan here, too. I’ve got my low expectations all fired up for the new film – I’ll be there with bells on :)

I’m so stoked about this movie, especially because I was just in the jungle in Peru where the movie apparently takes place!

If you like movies, you’ve gotta love Harrison Ford.

“Get off my plane!”

#14 There were there segments per episode, one was a bout a journalist named Susan Williams(Susan Anton) who has a story that threatens to expose some kind of world conspiracy, segment titled Stop Susan William, Next dealt eith Dracula(MIcheal Nouri) the third segment was called The Secret Empire, which takes place in the old west about a Marshall named Jim Donner who battles thes mysterious maurders who live in a super advanced city under ground ,that last was remake of an old republic studios serials staring Gene Autry. What stinks is that they canceled the show before they broadcast the conclusion to the secret empire.

Quoting Kurtzman: “He could actually feel pain and was afraid and screamed when he got hurt. That is not an intuitive choice when you’re thinking of the classic hero.”

That is my absolutely *favorite* characteristic about Indy! And Ford does a magnificent job portraying a very human hero w/o carrying it into something farcical.

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

“Tales of the Gold Monkey” is one of my favorite TV series of all time.

And any adventure fan who hasn’t read Doc Savage has seriously missed out.

In fact, I’ll easily second most everything Garovorkin mentioned (yeah, Cliffhangers was cool, too).

Got high hopes for the new Trek and am ridiculously jazzed at the idea of a new Indiana Jones movie on the way.

I’ve been sharing the Indy films with my kids, who hadn’t seen them yet. 1 and 3 they really like but 2 was a bit dark for them. I don’t think they liked the “children pressed into slavery” plot, but the adventure aspect they were keen on.

I, too, am stoked about Indy 4.

arrrr…. I recall just a snippet of Cliffhangers… a cowboy being vaporized that really unsettled me… I can still see it in me head and feel that childhood tingle of unease…
But I never could remember tha name of tha series… so thanke…

Geez… next I’ll be wanting some tight Underoos and maybe a large GI Joe doll…
Uh… those two weren’t related ta each other… really… as we say in any Navy: dunna ask, dunna tell

Nothing comes from a vacuum… of course a writer is inspired and emulates what he loved as a child… guess that why there be so many of these Marvel super hero movies growing like a mighty fungus over every cinema screen…


I’m looking forward to seeing the new Indiana Jones movie.The trailer made even more interested to see Indy and Marion together gain.

“are also huge Indy fans (as is TrekMovie.com…so deal with it). “”

Lol. I don’t mind. Indy rocks! Can’t wait for number 4.

I still think Transformers sucked as a movie and as a summer flick, so my hopes for Star Trek aren’t that high when it comes to these two writers. Nearly half of Transformers was so pointless that I can’t help but imagine the entire new crew of the Enterprise acting as secondary characters like the Transformers were.

And aren’t these the two guys who defended Bumblebee’s car change from being a beetle to a Camaro?

I pray everything I didn’t like about Transformers is what Michael Bay added.

I hope it captures the magic of the first movie. I thought the second one got a little silly and was too mean spirited. The third, while being okay, was a little tired to me.

I guess the plot is still vague, but whatever it is I thought the idea of finding the lost city of Atlantis that was rumoured early on was a cool one.


It’s obvious these guys are EXACTLY my age (early 40s), they are influenced by the same pop culture milestones.

When I was 14 in 1981 Raiders hit my small port town theatre by the sea. Luckily it was held over and I managed to spend all my money and see it 25 times. There were no VCRs then man.

Now, I appreciate the love for this material, I just hope the boys have expanded their inspirations beyond pop culture since those heady days.


And here here to Robert E Howard. Who lived and died about 40 miles from where I grew up. I look forward to reading about the Conan movie, perhaps here, in the future.

OK- Transformers is a movie about giant robots from outer space which can take the shape of local objects. What did you expect, Citizen Cane?

All Transformers could aim for was two hours of explosions with a few sight gags tossed in. It delivered. As far as Bumblebee goes- franchises based solely on toys don’t even deserve any “violation of canon” discussion. Bumblebee will look like what ever car Hasbro thinks they can sell to today’s 8 year old boy. There is no canon to it- only marketing.

On the other hand, Indy and Star Trek are similar to each-other (and vastly unlike Transformers) because they tap into archetypal characters and themes which allude to and can liberally draw from very deep literary and oral story telling traditions which give them the potential for great depth and resonance which delivers a form of satisfaction level which outlasts the thrill of great fx shots. They are a whole different sub-genre within the world of action flicks and you cannot really compare the them to Transformers even when some of the same film makers are in play.

I had no idea it was so soon… can’t wait either…

(Drat, can’t get the tune out my head now…. da da da DA, da da dahhhh….)

Geeze- I really need to edit my posts better before I hit “say it.” Sorry about the meandering last paragraph there.

“Let’s just call it what it is”

lol. These guys are great.

>>12. Garovorkin – March 10, 2008
. . . There was another tv show which could have been a bit of an influence. 1978 series Cliffhangers which no remembers at all.<<

There is another TV series that no one seems to remember, it came out in the early 90’s called “The Adventures of Indiana Jones” and (lol) was a miserable sendup. The only good thing I remember about the show was Harrison Ford reprised his role for a cameo at the beginning of one of the shows (his appearance was supposed to be enough of a draw to revive the series which was on serious life support at that time). So that would have been the answer to a trivia question of “When did Harrison Ford last play Indiana Jones”, and still actually is the answer until that much anticipated weekend in this coming May when I and my family too will also be seeing the new Indy movie on the weekend of its release.

Does anyone but me remember that TV show??

Re: #30 trekee

My sister-in-law didn’t like the theme to “Raiders”. She said it sounded like the cigarette commercial jingle (of the 70’s) – –

“..To a _______, it’s a ___________,
To a ________, it’s a __________,
To a ________, it’s a _________,
To a smoker, it’s a ‘Kent’.

Happiness is – the taste of Kent,
Happiness is – the taste of Kent…”.

Anyone remember that one? Once she told me, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Drat. Hope the theme music to the new Trek movie isn’t reminiscent of anything but Star Trek.

Re: #29 Captain Otter.

I agree. Have been getting weary of the criticism of “Transformers”. What on earth did people expect after seeing the trailer? They didn’t advertise one thing and deliver another. We know that “Transformers” was a kids’ thing so why go see it then complain because it wasn’t a serious SciFi flick or a masterpiece of film-making? It was a fun, escapist, made-for-the-kid-in-us flick. I mean, really…

These guys are talented and have a range of ability. They’ll bring their giftsto the Star Trek “talent pool” and we’ll have a wonderful final product. You’ll see.


I agree with 29 for the most part. I think with Michael Bay, I got exactly what I expected with that movie. I think Star Trek occupies a completly different existence worthy of much more than the paint-by-numbers approach. With that said, I believe J.J. Abrams is a different film-maker, capable of bringing to Trek the storytelling and depth it deserves.

I am a fan of any great franchise…Star Trek being my favorite of course. But, I am also a huge Indy fan. I too am excited to see this film.

One “spin-off” franchise I noticed wasn’t mentioned in any of the comments is TNT’s “The Librian” series. This franchise has a HUGE Indy influence. And something of interest…the last installment and the upcoming one are both directed by Jonathan Frakes. I personally find these movies to do a pretty good job of mixing adventure, mysticsm, and comedy. If you have yet to see any of these movies starring Noah Wyle, Bob Newhart, and Jane Curtain, I recommend them for your light-hearted viewing fare.

Still in shock I have to wait another year for my fresh Trek fix.

I absolutely love this site…good work one and all.

Oh, god, the “Kent” jingle is right! That is where the melody comes from.

To #33

I do remember that show. However, the title was “The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones”.

34 & 37

I don’t know the “Kent” jingle but Raiders theme is actually a combination of two seperate little ditties John Williams cooked up. It was Spielberg who suggested he combine them and make one the B section.

Can’t wait to see Indy punching out dirty Pinko Commies !!!!!

I love Indy and I’m very glad to see him back. And it must be said: if the public is willing to embrace a 65 year old running, high swinging, hard punching hero … they would also accept a 70-something year old Starship commander giving orders on the bridge.


Re: #37. Dennis and #39. Andy


Wasn’t trying to sling any accusations. (Yikes.) My sister-in-law was just saying that she didn’t like that jingle and that “Raiders” reminded her of it. I happened to agree but didn’t mean that it was a copy. Now George Harrison really goofed with “My Sweet Lord” but I actually do not think that we have another incident of that calibre here.


Re: #41. Shatner Fan

You are so BAD!


#33Mickey I think that you are referring to the young Indiana Jones chronicles which premiered in the early 90’s which had two young actors play Indiana Jones as a child and as a teenager. A third actor played 90 plus year old Indiana who would be telling the stories. of his younger days. Harrison Ford did reprise his role as Indiana Jones for one episode.

#28 Andy ever been to Peaster Texas ? Howard was one of the writers who got me into reading Fantasy. In scif it was Harlan Ellison.

#33 sorry Mickey I glaced at your comment a little to quickly, You wanted to know if remebered the show, I did and yes it left lots to be desired. Sorry about that..

#25: I’m doing my best to walk the same kind of tightrope, giving these guys the benefit of the doubt based on the fact that the 1.15 movies of theirs I’ve seen (The Island, and as much of Transformers as I could stand) are Michael Bay movies. I do believe that film is ultimately a director’s medium, and so I’m willing to give the writers the benefit of the doubt and assume that it was Michael Bay that made those movies what they were.

And for my own part I give them double-benefit-of-the-doubt on Transformers, since I’m not a Transformers fan to begin with, so I suspect that was the problem there … I had nothing to latch onto, no particular reason to care about what was going on.

Touche sir!

Count me as an Indy fan as well–The thrid film is one of my all-time favorites!

Mr. Bob and Kurtzman are still in jail? Poor guys – someone seriously needs to take them a cake with a file in it, or at least some tarimasu (sp?)laden with a lot of liquor…

The ruins at Petra are also an incredible feature of Indy.

#49 Hey Denise!

I’m still not quite sure when I did this, but I do know that I did toast a double Cuervo margarita (rocks, no salt) for good luck in honor of Bob & Alex at some point in Cancun. A fat lot of good it did them, apparently. Radio silence continues.

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|