Q&A Session with Jim Ward

The following is a Question and Answer session with Mr. Jim Ward, Lucasfilm's Vice President of Marketing, who attended the Indiana Jones DVD press junket in LA, on Saturday October 11th, 2003. The following transcript of the question & answer session has been provided by DVD File, special thanks to Peter Bracke.

When putting together your DVDs, do you do any sort of fan or Internet research?

JW: What is really great about both Star Wars and Indiana Jones, is that we are in touch with fans constantly. The fans create their own sites. And they call us. And write us. So, we don't have to do a lot of research. We are kind of told...first we are told, Hey, where are they? Get them out on DVD! And then two, This is what we want to see on them. Again, that is tough. Because they do want everything and we have to make some tough decisions. So, we don't really do research. We are already sort of in the know.

Will the trilogy ever be sold separately as individual DVD titles?

JW: There was some discussion about that. Do we release them separately or in a package? I think we came to the conclusion that when people think about Indiana Jones, they remember him across the entire saga. And some of the key elements and key moments blur together from one film to the next. So we though, You know what, let's give fans what they want, all three films. Ultimately, will be they be sold ultimately as three singles? Again, we have to sit down and talk with Steven, Megan and the whole team and sort that out. We'll see.

Repackaging and repurposing DVDs has become commonplace these days. What happens when Indiana Jones 4 is released? Will this set be redone as the Definitive Indiana Jones Adventures? (laughter)

JW: Megan Burrows, the President of Paramount Home Entertainment is sitting right down the aisle over there. (laughter) And she is sweating about what I'm going to answer. Big time! The truth is, I wish we were these strategy guys and fifteen years ago we knew what was going to happen. The truth is we don't. We don't know when exactly Indiana Jones 4 is going to happen, and obviously it is going to play into that. Will there ultimately be a Complete Indiana Jones set of all four? I would imagine, absolutely. Sure, someday that will happen. but it is barely on the radar right now.

At the end of the day, it is not our intent or is it ever our intent to soak these franchises to the degree that we are going to have people keep buying and buying and buying. We are very sensitive to those consumer needs. However, because we have this wealth of material - and you mentioned Indiana Jones 4 is on the horizon - there maybe potentially is an entire four-pack, if you will. Then, yeah, it will make sense to bring out some more stuff then.

Was any effort made to persuade either Steven Spielberg or George Lucas to record an audio commentary for the set, or to record other cast and crew?

Jim Ward: That was an interesting journey with the commentaries. It has been a creative decision, as you know, by Steven not to do commentaries. But to be very honest with you, once we saw the first cut of what Laurent (Bouzereau) had put together, we sort of said to ourselves, God, if we did have a commentary, it would have been sort of redundant So, at the end of the day, you don't really miss the commentary when yo have a two-hour documentary and the additional featurettes.

Frank Marshall: We when produced all of the making-of material (seen in the documentary), those were the times before commentaries and DVD. So, George was very specific on the first movie about having us doing a documentary. We had done that on the first Star Wars, and he wanted a historical commentary on how we made all three movies. So, in a way, we were doing a commentary as we were shooting, and that is what Laurent has put together so well. I think the real description of how the movies came together in real time rather than trying to think of it as you are sitting there watching it, as we do on DVDs.

Why was the decision made to not include any deleted scenes, gag reels or easter eggs?

JW: There are always deleted scenes. There are no gag reel things or any easter eggs, per se. Again, part of it is a creative choice. It is hard to describe because you need to sit and, as Frank said, really view this documentary in its full length. Because it captures a lot of that. It certainly captures the behind-the-scenes aspect of it. As far as easter eggs, we really wanted to focus on the iconic nature of the films and keep it at that.

Is the IndianaJones.com weblink going to be actively updated with new content, and tied in with the upcoming Indiana Jones 4?

JW: Absolutely. Certainly, it (IndianaJones.com) is a place to come for exclusive information. But obviously somewhere out there is going to be Indiana Jones 4. And that would be a wonderful place for people to come and check things out.

Is there anything specific that is going to be on the website when the set streets?

JW: Not that I'm going to tell you that. (laughs) I want you to go there and check it out.

What is the status of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles?

JW: We are working on that as we speak. There is no specific timetable. We are very excited about the possibilities. They are really beloved. We get calls all the time about them. It will happen, definitely.

Were there any digital tweaks or changes made during the restoration? For example, during the famous Well of the Souls scene in Raiders, a well-known reflection of a snake seems to have disappeared.

JW: (laughter) Well, I'll tell you, you are going to have to look at your check disc.

Aside from the fantastic work we've seen here, there were some terrific documentaries made on each film for television at the time of each film's release. Are there any plans to release those on DVD as well?

JW: Who knows? In the future, absolutely. Part of the problem, guys, when you have the abundance of material that we did it gets hard to decide what to pick and choose. For eventual future Indy releases, that would be possible.

I will tell you that there is a specific fifth disc that you can get at Best Buy that features one of the original documentaries. It is exclusive to Best Buy. It includes about a ten-minute original documentary that was done at the time of Raiders of the Lost Ark. We feel that for our Best Buy customers, who tend to be on the leading edge of DVD purchasing and are early adopters, that they are going to be hardcore fans and will find that valuable.

Is there every going to be a possibility of a theatrical re-release for any of the films in the trilogy?

JW: I don't know. Maybe you can ask Frank and Steven that. We really wanted to focus on the DVDs. We felt we wanted to get them to the marketplace and make them the best they could possibly be in that format. Theatrical events before the DVD are marketing events. To be quite honest with you, this is Indiana Jones, and we really felt what people really wanted were the DVDs. Does that preclude someday a re-release theatrically? Again, Megan is really sweating over there again. (laughs) We haven't really gotten that far.

So, just why did the set take so long? Why six years?

JW: Well, it is always an issue. And I know when I answer this one you are going to hit me with Star Wars so I'm going to kill two birds with one stone. It is an issue of aligning the planets. In particular with Indiana Jones, you have people like Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Frank Marshall...that all have to sort of get together and create a vision for this thing. And it just takes time to do that. With schedules and timing and all of that. So it basically wasn't until a year ago when we started this project that that really could happen. And it is the same issue with Star Wars with George's focus (now) on Episode III. Yes, the original Star Wars trilogy will come out on DVD. We just don't have a timeframe. But we did get Indy out, guys! (laughter)

Special thanks to Peter Bracke at DVD File for the Q&A reports, and Paramount Pictures, Lucasfilm and AFI for hosting the press junket.