George Lucas Wanted Sean Connery To Be In ‘Indiana Jones 4’—Here’s Why He Wasn’t
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull had a star-studded cast, but creator George Lucas wanted it to have one more famous face. The Star Wars creator originally wanted the late Sean Connery to reprise his role as Indiana Jones’ father, Dr. Henry Jones, Sr., in the fourth installation of the beloved franchise.
His hope was to have three generations of Jones men—Henry Sr., Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones, and Indy’s son, Mutt Williams (played by Shia LaBeouf)—appear in the 2008 action flick, but his wish didn’t come true because Connery had quit acting.
George Lucas wanted ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’ to have three generations of Jones men
Connery was awarded the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award in 2006. Lucas (who received the award the year prior) gave the speech honoring the Oscar-winning actor at the ceremony at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre (then named the Kodak Theatre).
In his speech, the famed director teased Connery for retiring from acting without telling him.
“I stood here last year as a recipient of this prestigious award, and I stand here tonight as an executive producer—and sometimes writer—struggling to bring Indiana Jones 4 to life,” Lucas said. “A writer who nearly had a heart attack when I read about your retirement in the newspapers, which leaves me with a rather touching story about a father and a son, but without a father for Indiana Jones.”
Sean Connery retired from acting after filming ‘The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’
It is true that Connery had retired from acting by the time he received the accolade from AFI. It was his experience on 2003’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (specifically, its director Stephen Norrington) that made him call it quits with Hollywood. The James Bond star told The New Zealand Herald in 2005 that he retired because he was so “fed up with the idiots,” and had had enough of “the ever-widening gap between people who know how to make movies and the people who greenlight the movies.” The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was the last film he ever made.
Despite the Scottish-born actor’s seemingly positive experience filming Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade with Lucas, Harrison Ford, and director Steven Spielberg, another installment in the franchise wasn’t enough to drag Connery out of retirement. That left Lucas in a tricky spot.
“So, what to do?” Lucas continued in his speech. “Well, the easiest thing would be option one: not to include Indiana’s father. But then, I begin to think about option two: I could kill your character.” He then joked about killing off Henry Sr. in a llama stampede or by slipping on a bar of soap, but he also floated the idea of recasting the character. Of course, that actor had to be “tough enough to spank Harrison Ford,” as Lucas noted in the video component of his remarks.
Sean Connery died Oct. 31, 2020
The only actors Lucas thought were tough enough to put Indy in his place were Clint Eastwood, Jack Nicholson, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (that one really tickled Connery and the audience).
Alas, Lucas ended up just briefly mentioning Indiana’s father in Crystal Skull, making clear that the character had died before the events of the film took place. Because, let’s be real, there is no replacing Sean Connery.
The Hollywood legend died on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, according to a statement released by his family. He was 90 years old.
“He was my father … not in life … but in Indy 3,” Ford said in a statement shared with The Hollywood Reporter. “You don’t know pleasure until someone pays you to take Sean Connery for a ride in the sidecar of a Russian motorcycle bouncing along a bumpy, twisty mountain trail and getting to watch him squirm. God we had fun—if he’s in heaven, I hope they have golf courses. Rest in peace dear friend.”
As Lucas told The Hollywood Reporter, “Sir Sean Connery, through his talent and drive, left an indelible mark in cinematic history. His audiences spanned generations, each with favorite roles he played. He will always hold a special place in my heart as Indy’s dad. With an air of intelligent authority and sly sense of comedic mischief, only someone like Sean Connery could render Indiana Jones immediately into boyish regret or relief through a stern fatherly chiding or rejoiceful hug. I’m thankful for having had the good fortune to have known and worked with him. My thoughts are with his family.”