A new Indiana Jones film was officially announced in 2016 and a July 2019 release date was set. You’ve probably noticed that we didn’t get that film in July, and that Indiana Jones 5 is stuck in rewrite hell, but one thing has stayed consistent… Harrison Ford is set to reprise his role.
Before I go any further I want to make it clear that I am a huge — HUGE — fan of the Indiana Jones films, and also of Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Those guys have created something truly special and we should all thank them for that (certainly, they have all been rewarded handsomely).
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
However, the last film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), was insulting to the fans and to the franchise.
That film was written by George Lucas and had a science fiction plot that didn’t play well with fans, it suffered from trying too hard to top the previous films, but mostly it featured an aging Harrison Ford that just wasn’t as dynamic as we were used to (or should expect).
What do you think another 12 or more years are going to do to Harrison Ford’s performance? I love Ford, and he was great in Star Wars: The Force Awakens but that role didn’t have the physicality that Indiana Jones requires.
Harrison Ford is 77 years old right now.
Ford has made is clear that he feels like the character is his and his alone,
Nobody is going to be Indiana Jones, don’t you get it? I’m Indiana Jones. When I’m gone, he’s gone. It’s easy. Get it in [your head].
Passing the whip
Yes, they could put Ford in a supporting role and have him introduce a new younger cast, but is that what we really want?
They also tried that in the last film by setting up Shia LeBeouf to take over the role. How’s that working out for you?
No George Lucas
Did you notice that the 2016 official announcement said that George Lucas would not be involved?
You could make a case that Lucas was a major reason for the critical failure for The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. His plot idea did not play well.
It could be a snub though, to not include one of the creators of the franchise, and it could mean that Indiana Jones loses some of the heart we are used to.
Lucas understands this character and the genre better than anyone. Losing him means losing a major component of the original team.
The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull made a ton of money and a new film probably would too, but it seems short-sighted to me.
The long-term plan
I think the riskier, but better long-term plan, would be to stick Indiana Jones back in the 1930s or 40s (where he should be), hire a new guy to play the role, and start with an entirely new creative team.
James Bond, Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Batman, Superman and plenty of other heroes have been played by numerous actors over the years. Let’s not forget that it was George Lucas’s reverence for those old serials that created the seed for Indiana Jones in the first place. Those other heroes have survived and thrived with new actors, and new creators, and so would Indiana Jones.
In the interest of the franchise, and in the interest of not tarnishing the great work that George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford gave us previously, I think we deserve something fresh and new.
Hello, my name is Dirk Hooper. I have a deep passion for writing that has led me to win a few awards. I’ve had work published at Huffington Post, Slate Magazine, Business Insider, Quartz, The Sporting News, and much more.
In addition to writing, I’m a professional photographer and artist, a consultant for adult marketing and branding, and an audio talent.
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