New York Times – "Four Secrets About ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’"
"Eight months after introducing the world to Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Chewbacca, George Lucas invited Steven Spielberg and the screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan to his assistant’s home in Los Angeles to pitch a new name for adventure.
“Indiana Smith,” Lucas said. “Very Americana square.”
Sighed Spielberg, “I hate this, but go ahead.”
Over the next five days, according to a story conference transcript, the three concocted a swashbuckling archaeologist who fused Humphrey Bogart to James Bond. They gave Indy a bullwhip and a passport — and they tweaked his name.
“Jones,” Lucas conceded, “people can call him Jones.”
That brainstorming session, of course, led to “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” which celebrates its 40th anniversary this month (and is streaming on Paramount+). Four decades later, the iconic hit has become the pivot point between cinema’s past and present. Indiana Jones’s narrow escapes from Nazis, boulders, blow darts, poisoned dates, speeding trucks and, of course, snakes, tip a fedora to the cliffhanger serials of the 1930s — the kiddie adventures that shaped his creators — even as they calibrated their nostalgia into a cross-promotional blockbuster that would define Hollywood’s future."
Steven Soderbergh on Raiders of the Lost Ark (October 2014)