‘Indiana Jones 5’ Gets Green Light, Harrison Ford Returning
It’s nigh impossible finding a big-name franchise gathering cobwebs. One of the last such sagas until recently has been Indiana Jones, having stalled to a grinding halt with 2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Despite holding the distinct honor of being the highest grossing film in the franchise, fan consensus was that it was more a death knell for the franchise than a harbinger of future success. You can see the discrepancy in Rotten Tomatoes: Critics rate it at a decidedly positive 78%, while the audience score is far less so at 54%. Come 2019 though, Indiana Jones could be in for some much-needed redemption.
A press release from on high at Disney officially announced the studio’s plans for a fifth Indiana Jones installment, set to release on July 19, 2019. It’ll arrive over a decade after the last film in the series, but still feature the returning team of Harrison Ford as the titular lead, Steven Spielberg directing, and Kathleen Kennedy as the producer (alongside fellow returner Frank Marshall). Incidentally, there’s been no mention of George Lucas’s involvement, a move that makes sense given that he’s shouldered most of the blame for Crystal Skull in hindsight.
The biggest shock that comes alongside this announcement is Harrison Ford’s return. Rumors have been swirling around for awhile now about Disney quietly searching for a younger replacement to take up the Indiana Jones mantle. It’s entirely possible that this could be Ford’s last hurrah, ending with a passing of the torch as a bridge to the next Indi. Worth noting: By the time Indiana Jones 5 hits theaters, Ford will be 77 years old. We’ve already seen him make his Star Wars exit in The Force Awakens. It seems likely that a similar tact will be taken with Indiana Jones come 2019.
Whatever the next film in the saga ends up being about, it’ll have a tall task ahead of it. Fans were monumentally displeased with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a project that wallowed in development hell for almost two decades thanks to Lucas’s insistence on including aliens. Both Spielberg and Ford voiced their objections, but in the end, Lucas had the final say in the matter. Lucasfilm now belongs to Disney though, leaving creative control out of the hands of the man many blame for the pitfalls of the last movie.
This recent revival leads us to the next big controversy, concerning whether or not Disney will eventually recast Indiana Jones himself. For as iconic as Ford has been in the role, the goal seems to be a complete franchise relaunch. At some point, Disney’s going to have to figure out a way to get around Ford’s advanced age, and recasting is the most logical next step. We could very well see a 2,500-actor battle royale akin to the search for a young Han Solo, as a role that could make or break the career of any number of young stars.
Whatever Disney’s plans for the future are, the prospect of Indiana Jones 5 is still exciting nonetheless. It’s a story that came to a seeming end sans a satisfying conclusion back in 2008, and a full-on revival brings back one of the best action/adventure franchises in all of cinema. With Spielberg and Ford reunited at last, there’s a whole lot of hope to be had for the first truly great Indiana Jones film in 30 years. Now we just need all involved parties to deliver on that potential.
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