Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark is an all-time classic — number 60 on AFI’s 100 greatest movies — but the most recent film in the franchise, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, is not. However, despite its shortcomings, the last Indy film made $787 million worldwide — under Hollywood rules, a sequel is mandated.
Snide remarks aside, fan enthusiasm for another Indiana Jones movie has remained strong over the years. Spielberg is having a career rennaissance with The Post and Ready Player One. And star Harrison Ford has been keen to revisit past roles with Blade Runner 2049 and The Force Awakens.
And now all of that fan, director, and star allegiance to the fedora and the bullwhip is finally paying off.
During an acceptance speech, for a special career award, at the Rakuten TV Empire Awards, Spielberg had this to say:
It’s always worth the trip when I get to work with this deep bench of talent coming out of the UK. The actors, and the crew, the chippies, the sparks, the drivers — everybody who has helped me make my movies here, and will continue helping me make my movies here when I come back in April 2019 to make the fifth Indiana Jones movie right here.”
That’s great news, since no one involved is getting any younger (Spielberg is 71 and Ford will soon turn 76).
Screenwriter David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Spider-Man, Mission Impossible) is working on the script, but no story details are available at this time. Obviously, that won’t stop the Internet from speculating. So, what should fans expect?
The Indy films have always adhered to a consistent internal chronology. The first three Jones films were set during the Nazi era of the 1930s and the fourth occurred during the early Cold War era of the 1950s. Ten years have elapsed since Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which would place the timeline of this new iteration somewhere during the mid-1960s, amidst the backdrop of Vietnam, The Beatles, and Charles Manson.
Will Jones seem like an anachronism in this more modern period? He’ll probably be the only person wearing a hat (Americans stopped wearing hats in… sorry, I’m a fool for trivia).
Indiana Jones movies have always been heavy on action, but it’s hard to imagine a near-elderly Ford landing the kinds of physical stunts that have typified this franchise. However, last year’s Blade Runner 2049 showed that he can still deliver a solid haymaker when necessary.
But what happens when Ford and Spielberg retire? Silly question. Disney has every intention of continuing the franchise, as CEO Bob Iger told ComingSoon:
Right now, we’re focused on a reboot, or a continuum and then a reboot of some sort. Well, we’ll bring him back, then we have to figure out what comes next. That’s what I mean. It’s not really a reboot, it’s a boot — a reboot. I don’t know. … but I see making more. It won’t be just a one-off.”
Iger seemed to struggle with his words, but it’s clear that Indiana Jones will continue with or without Spielberg and Ford… fortunately, they’ve got one more in them first. (Remember that Hollywood mandate!) Assuming there were plenty of Nazis and Commies doing their hijinks during the Summer of Love, I can think of nothing better than old-man Indy cracking his whip to the backdrop of The Doors or Jimi Hendrix.
Indiana Jones 5 hits theaters on July 20, 2020.