Like a globe-crossing adventure that ends with the revelation that the treasure you’ve been hunting was just “knowledge” all along, fans are still hypothetically seeking another Indiana Jones movie, despite being all but assured the same anticlimax that was Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, which [SPOILER ALERT] wasn’t very good. And also, had something to do with aliens or something—a plot twist that has since become a shorthand joke for Steven Spielberg’s approach to storytelling, but which the director has now more or less blamed on his longtime collaborator George Lucas. Fortunately for him, Lucas has long since found a way to break down angry criticism from jilted fans into life-sustaining protein, so he should find this latest batch savory and delicious.
While discussing the possibility of Indy 5 with Empire, the director claimed it was entirely up to Lucas, saying, “George is in charge of breaking the stories. He's done it on all four movies. Whether I like the stories or not, George has broken all the stories." Elaborating on that implied dissent, Spielberg discussed the last time Lucas "broke a story," really shattering it into a million pieces: “I sympathize with people who didn't like the MacGuffin because I never liked the MacGuffin,” Spielberg says of Crystal Skull, explaining, “George and I had big arguments about the MacGuffin. I didn't want these things to be either aliens or inter-dimensional beings. But I am loyal to my best friend. When he writes a story he believes in—even if I don't believe in it—I'm going to shoot the movie the way George envisioned it." (However, he does add that you shouldn’t blame Lucas for the infamous “nuked the fridge” scene: “That was my silly idea,” Spielberg says, adding that he’s “proud of the way “nuked the fridge” has joined “jumped the shark” in the pop culture lexicon.)
So anyway, next time you’re bemoaning the metaphysical, science-fiction twist of Crystal Skull, or bristling at those scenes of Shia LaBeouf swinging through the jungle like a greaser Tarzan, don’t think of the film as an iconic, beloved character revived only to be forced groggily through a series of meaningless, garish CGI set-pieces for no greater purpose beyond franchising. Think of it as Steven Spielberg saying to George Lucas, “I love you, buddy.”