Last week Disney/Lucasfilm officially announced that Indiana Jones 5 is in the works with a July 19, 2019 release date. It was also indicated that Harrison Ford would be returning to the iconic role. With Indiana Jones having strong brand recognition, Disney/Lucasfilm are no doubt trying to figure out a way to continue the franchise for many movies to come (similar to their return to the Star Wars money-maker). What will this look like moving forward?
Diving right in, here’s what I think they should do. A few months back there were rumors swirling about a sequel/prequel for Die Hard. In the film John McClane (once again to be played by Bruce Willis) would be tackling an issue that he faced before at some point earlier in his career. The film itself would jump back and forth between the present and the past, where his younger self would naturally be played by another actor. The hope for the studio is that fans would flock to the theater to see Willis’ McClane and then be willing to see future adventures with the younger version. It could act as a soft reboot.
I envision an Indiana Jones movie crafted the same way which would allow Harrison Ford to play the iconic hero one last time before transitioning to a younger actor who could portray the same character in a few of his adventures hinted at in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. This way we would not be watching Jones pass the torch to another character to continue his adventures and it would still be attached to the other films (unlike the James Bond movies that typically don’t acknowledge that the other films exist). Spielberg stated that he can’t picture any future movies without Ford attached, but he’s no spring chicken anymore at 73 and the movies will become less entertaining as the writing/directing team attempts to dance around an older man in an action/adventure movie.
Will Disney/Lucasfilm do this in Indiana Jones 5? Probably not. The more likely possibility is one of two scenarios. Firstly, they could have Mutt Williams or a new character introduced in IJ5 spend the next movie being mentored by the experienced Jones and then take over in the future films. That could leave Jones as a mentor to possibly cameo in future installments or ::SPOILERS ALERT:: they could kill off the character similar to Han Solo in The Force Awakens. ::END SPOILERS:: The issue I see with doing this is that I don’t think audiences will be on board to see a Mutt Williams movie. Star Wars is about the universe more than the characters and can survive without the original trilogy characters being the focus of future films. An Indiana Jones movie (or one existing within that franchise) won’t be successful without Indiana Jones.
The other option is they could recast the character entirely and either continue or reboot the franchise with a new actor as Indy (the James Bond method). Names like Chris Pratt and Bradley Cooper have been floating around the rumor mill as the new face of Indiana Jones since Disney first purchased the rights from Lucas. This can work moving forward but seems to fly in the face of statements made by Spielberg and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy when they each said the role would not be recast.
If Disney/Lucasfilm are interested in branching out beyond just movies, Indiana Jones already has a history with books and television. Rob MacGregor, who wrote the novelization for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, continued to write Indy novels including Indiana Jones and the Peril at Delphi, Indiana Jones and the Dance of the Giants,Indiana Jones and the Seven Veils, Indiana Jones and the Genesis Deluge, Indiana Jones and the Unicorn’s Legacy, and Indiana Jones and the Interior World under the supervision of George Lucas. It is certainly possible that certain aspects of these stories make it into the 5th film or future films. It would be fun to see Indy appear in additional novels or pulp comics. Also there was a short-lived television series called The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. Since Star Wars has ventured into these additional mediums, it’s certainly possible that Indiana Jones could be featured in more than simply movies in the future.
What do you think will happen with Indiana Jones? What direction will the films take moving forward? Do you think there’s a possibility for Indy to appear in more than just feature films in the future? Share your thoughts below.