So what happened to all of the other scripts?

Playwright working on ‘Indy 4’ script

Although there have been countless false-starts to the fourth Indiana Jones film, Variety reports that the project is getting back on track with an unlikely new screenwriter: Tom Stoppard.

Stoppard earned his reputation as a playwright (“Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead,” “The Real Thing”) before shifting into screenwriting with credits such as Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil,” the Oscar-winning “Shakespeare In Love”, and the forthcoming Mick Jagger-produced spy film “Enigma.”

So what’s the connection between high-brow Stoppard and the Indiana Jones franchise’s kings of popcorn movies, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas? Answer: the man who plays Indiana Jones himself.

Variety says Stoppard did some rewrite work on star Harrison Ford’s forthcoming submarine thriller “K-19: The Widowmaker.” And Stoppard reportedly did some uncredited script-doctoring to 1989’s “Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade.” He also has a history with Spielberg, writing the screenplay for the director’s adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s “Empire Of The Sun.”

While Stoppard will be responsible for writing the screenplay, Variety said Lucas is the one who came up with a story idea that energized both Spielberg and Ford, although no details have been released as to the plot.

Over the years, there have been dozens of rumoured scenarios for “Indian Jones 4.” Jeffrey Boam (“Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, “Lethal Weapon 3”) was said to be working on a treatment back in 1999. M. Night Shyamalan (“The Sixth Sense”) was also rumoured to be cooking up his own sequel script, while “Traffic” screenwriter Stephen Gaghan was also said to be in talks with Lucas and Spielberg.

Meanwhile, impatient fans have taken matters into their own hands, circulating unofficial sequel scripts with titles such as “Indiana Jones And The Sword Of Arthur” and “Indiana Jones And The Saucermen From Mars.”

Variety said Stoppard’s screenplay is to be in place so “Indiana Jones 4” can go into production in 2004. In January, Spielberg told Fox News that “Indy 4” would be his priority once he completes “Catch Me If You Can” with Leonardo DiCaprio.