Where Does Indiana Jones Go From Here?

Photo: Paramount Pictures

Harrison Ford will be cracking his whip and wearing his trademark fedora hat for the fifth Indiana Jones movie. Steven Spielberg confirmed the news while receiving an award at the Rakuten TV Empire Awards. As for George Lucas, he is not returning since Disney now owns the franchise. Jonathan Kasdan (son of Lawrence Kasdan, the screenwriter of Raiders of the Lost Ark) will replace David Koepp as screenwriter.

“This will be Harrison Ford’s last Indiana Jones movie, I am pretty sure, but it [the franchise] will certainly continue after that,” Spielberg told The Sun.

This begs the question: Should Ford be replaced? The answer is a solid yes. The fifth Indiana Jones installment will be released in 2021, at which time Harrison Ford will be 79 years old. The franchise desperately needs a sequel as the fourth installment, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, was not well-received by fans or critics. The fifth movie will ideally end Harrison Ford’s role as Indiana Jones on a high note. But once he’s gone, who should take over the ironic Indiana Jones role?

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The top name celebrities that come to mind are Chris Pratt, Idris Elba, Chris Pine, Ryan Gosling, and Eric Bana. Those leading stars sound promising, but the celebrity route has been done before. Shia LaBeouf played Indiana Jones’ son Henry Jones III in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull at a time when he had A-list status. It was believed LaBeouf would take over the Indiana Jones role. His performance, however, was not well-received. Even the actor himself said to the L.A. Times: “I feel like I dropped the ball on the legacy that people loved and cherished.” He appeared more annoying than charming in the film and the father-son chemistry between Ford and LaBeouf was not on par to that of Ford and Sean Connery in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Any celebrity would bring baggage from past roles to an Indian Jones movie. Chris Pratt brings with him Jurassic World. Idris Elba comes from Marvel Universe and Chris Pine from Star Trek. As for Ryan Gosling, he already acted with Ford in the much-acclaimed Blade Runner 2049. Eric Bana isn’t tied to any one film, but he’s still a celebrity.

The next Indiana Jones should be an unknown actor, someone who could bring new energy to the franchise. This person could be the sidekick to Ford in the fifth movie or make a cameo to smooth the transition into the franchise. There are rumors that the fifth movie might take place in the ’60s, since the previous one took place in the ’50s. If this is the case, then the unknown actor could play an exceptional student of Dr. Henry Jones Jr., a student who could also be African-American or Asian-American, given that the Vietnam War and Civil Rights Movement dominated the headlines in that decade.

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In The Sun, Spielberg also mentioned that a woman might replace Ford in future installments. He stated, “We’d have to change the name from Jones to Jane. And there would be nothing wrong with that.” Celebrities such as Hayley Atwell, Rebecca Hall, and Katherine Waterston have been suggested for such a role.

Whoever the studio picks to be the next Indiana Jones, he or she would have some mighty big shoes to fill. A successful replacement wouldn’t be impossible; just look at the James Bond franchise and what a great job it has done with swapping out leading men. Surely fans of the franchise are hoping with fingers crossed that history will not repeat itself when the latest installment comes out in July 2021.


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