2015 has been a year which will likely be looked back on as the one which began the “stuff-you-loved-as-a-kid reboot” craze. So far we’ve seen Mad Max: Fury Road become a pop culture icon, Jurassic World blow up the box office to the tune of $1.6B, Terminator: Genisys falter and then kinda pick itself back up, every 80’s video game character imaginable stuffed into Pixels, people starting to love Back to the Future again, Goosebumps become a sleeper hit, Jem and the Holograms bomb spectacularly, and the remainder of the year features the return of Charlie Brown in The Peanuts Movie, and of course, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. That’s a lot, isn’t it?
One major franchise missing from that list – as well as the upcoming release schedule – is Indiana Jones. Steven Spielberg’s trilogy was one of the driving forces of the 1980’s, for both audiences and Hollywood (it brought in the PG-13 rating, after all). As we know, it was brought back in 2008 with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, although I have a feeling that most of the fans would rather forget that one. To some, the franchise still deserves one final conclusion – because a movie titled The Last Crusade wasn’t enough.
Those people are all sat in a board room at Disney. Since they bought up Lucasfilm for a gazillion dollars in 2012, their plans have been dominated entirely by Star Wars, which is fair enough. However, talk about a fifth Indy outing has persisted. One of the earliest rumors was that Harrison Ford’s condition for returning to play Han Solo was a guarantee he would get to don the fedora once more, as he’s never made his character preference a secret, as well as the fact that he wants a fifth movie. Disney then actually got the rights, and Bradley Cooper was rumored to star. In the past few months that changed to Chris Pratt – because of course they wanted him – although he vehemently denied it. Then during the press junket for Bridge of Spies, Spielberg himself casually revealed he’ll be doing a fifth movie with Ford in the role.
“Now I’ll probably do an Indy Five with Harrison. It’ll be five for Harrison, four for Tom [Hanks]… I’ve got to make another one with Tom, so that will be five for Tom, five for Harrison. And I think I’m going to leapfrog that way for the rest of my career. With Daniel Day-Lewis in everything else!”
We’re taking that as confirmation.
The common link between all these stories is that another Indiana Jones will happen, it’s just that nobody seems to know how or when that will be. It was clear that, at some point, the idea of rebooting (or reinventing, prequel-izing, whatever) the series with a new lead had been thrown around, although that’s evidently dead now, thanks to producer Frank Marshall’s input. Chatting with Total Film (via Den of Geek), he said…
“There are a lot of rumours. We haven’t even sat down to talk about Indy yet… at some point we’ll sit down. But there’s a bunch of people who could probably take the baton. We’re not doing the Bond thing where we’re going to call somebody else Indiana Jones… we have to figure this out.”
So. What happens now?
Harrison Ford is an old man now (even older than above – that was seven years ago… Jesus), so unless Disney are investing in cybernetic limbs as well as Jedi then they can’t expect him to play the character for more than one movie. To be perfectly honest, I think one movie would even be pushing it. It’s a very physically-heavy role unlike Han Solo, which seems to just involve a lot of standing around and reminiscing about the good ol’ days.
However, Disney bought the movie rights back for a reason. They’re not gonna make one more movie, say “well, better respect Ford’s legacy” and be done with it. They’re one of the biggest and most recognisable conglomerates on the planet and they know that more Indiana Jones movies would make some serious bank. So if they’re not gonna recast the role, then what can happen?
If Shia Labeouf wasn’t an asshole and audiences had warmed to him in Kingdom, we’d probably have seen a bunch of movies already about Mutt Williams kicking some commie ass. Due to his strained public profile and the fact that a lot of people have probably already forgotten he was even in the movie, I don’t think Disney going to him to reinvigorate a major franchise would be a particularly smart idea. Cross that one off the list…
ANOTHER GUY WHO ISN’T INDIANA JONES
This is pretty much guaranteed to happen, as it’s the only logical way to continue the franchise without accidentally killing Harrison Ford.
The fifth movie could introduce a brand new dashing hero – perhaps a student of his – who would act as his sidekick and then take the mantle from old Indiana. It’s a classic movie trope and one that I’m sure could be pulled off easily. The biggest problem, of course, is that the series wouldn’t be about Indiana Jones any more. It would be some other guy. Disney would be producing a completely different set of movies to what came before and living off of the brand recognition, which is pretty cheap and lazy. They might as well reboot National Treasure. Sure, Ford could be kept around in a mentor role, but he still wouldn’t be the lead – unless they got really into it, and he passes the name of Indiana Jones onto the new kid or whatever. But that’d be kinda weird.
Hey, it’s not such a long shot with Disney involved, and with today’s animation it could look really good. Ford could provide the voice and we’d continue getting adventures with the badass whipcrackin’ adventurer!!
FORGET THE FRANCHISE ALTOGETHER AND JUST MAKE STAR WARS MOVIES INSTEAD
Out of all these, the most likely option is the ‘new lead’ one – and I don’t like it. It’s a terrible idea. Indiana Jones movies that aren’t about Indiana Jones? With a franchise like Star Wars you can get away with doing stuff such as Rogue One because the universe is so expansive and isn’t tied to one particular character, but that isn’t the case with this one, and might even damage it more than recasting Harrison Ford would.
How would you like to the Indiana Jones franchise continue? One more movies and then done? Recast and reboot? Or should Disney leave it alone completely? Sound off.