It looks like a fifth Indiana Jones film is on the way. It’s likely to be Steven Spielberg’s next project when Ready Player One is finished, hitting cinemas in 2020, followed by a remake of West Side Story.
If you’ve only seen the three original Indy films, that’s great news! If you’ve seen the fourth one, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a film nobody has watched twice, you might be less enthusiastic.
There were good bits in the last one - Cate Blanchett chewing scenery like she was appearing in regional panto, the ‘50s greaser fight, just seeing Indiana flippin’ Jones again - but they were overshadowed by what felt like endless scenes of Shia LeBoeuf’s Poochie cavorting with CGI monkeys.
The good news regarding that, though, is that his character, Mutt Williams, will not return. All screenwriter David Koepp has said about the film is “Harrison [Ford] plays Indiana Jones, that I can certainly say. And the Shia LaBeouf character is not in the film.” Good. Whether that was entirely a storytelling decision or one that came after LeBoeuf extensively slagged Crystal Skull off a few years ago, leading Harrison Ford to call him “a fucking idiot”, is both unclear and irrelevant.
What is happening in the fifth one then?
- Chris Pratt was at one point rumoured to be playing a young Indy, with an old Harrison Ford recounting an early adventure, but that doesn’t seem to be the plan anymore. If that appeals at all, though, seek out the early-’90s ‘edutainment’ series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, where an aged, eyepatched Indy gets into some sort of scrape and reminisces about an escapade from his formative years. It’s good!
- There were also rumours it would be set in the Bermuda Triangle, rumours George Lucas has since dismissed.
- Spielberg was asked whether, following Harrison Ford insisting that Han Solo bite the dust in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Indy would die in a fifth movie. He said no.
- This was never on the cards, but a suggestion we saw once was that Indy could be paired with a grown-up Short Round, played by John Cho, who would then be set up for his own spin-off - that won’t happen but would be really good.
Harrison Ford is 75 years old. The character Indiana Jones was born in 1899. Harrison Ford looks great - he looks like Harrison Ford - but realistically couldn’t play much younger than 65. That would place the film between 1964 and 1974. The films so far have reflected the entertainment of the times they were set (the three original ones were homages to 1930s serials, while Crystal Skull nodded heavily towards 1950s pulp sci-fi), so there’s a bunch of weird ways that could go. Do we want to see an OAP Indy fighting, like, LSD-enhanced supersoldiers? Bonding with Easy Rider-style hippies and battling The Man? Entering a world of interdimensional free love and Michael Moorcock-style avant-garde sexy Marxism? Maybe?
We’ll find out in 2020. Don’t balls it up, Steve - given that the original trilogy is, really, two and a half good movies, another stinker would mean half of all Indiana Jones was bad, and that would be unforgiveable.