Indiana Jones producer Frank Marshall made it clear several months ago that Disney and Lucasfilm didn’t want to recast the action-adventure franchise’s title character, but it was anyone’s guess whether star Harrison Ford planned to return for the upcoming fifth installment. At last, we have the answer: Disney announced today that not only will Ford reprise his role as the whip-cracking archaeologist, director Steven Spielberg is coming back as well.
Ford and Spielberg kicked off the film series in 1981 with Raiders of the Lost Ark, a movie that featured Indiana Jones up against Nazis. His adventures continued throughout the ’80s, with Temple of Doom coming out in 1984 and The Last Crusade in 1989. After nearly two decades without a new Indiana Jones adventure, a fourth installment was added, 2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
“Indiana Jones is one of the greatest heroes in cinematic history, and we can’t wait to bring him back to the screen in 2019,” said Disney chairman Alan Horn, according to THR. “It’s rare to have such a perfect combination of director, producers, actor and role, and we couldn’t be more excited to embark on this adventure with Harrison and Steven.”
Deadline reported that Spielberg had previously mentioned he would like Chris Pratt to be involved. However, now that Ford is signed on, it’s unclear if Pratt was being considered as a possible successor to the Indiana throne, or if he may also be involved in the new addition to the franchise in another role. Additional casting is still in the early stages, so it’s anybody’s guess at this point, but Pratt could make a pretty good side-kick for the aging Indy.
Along with their iconic place in film history, the franchise has proven to be a commercial powerhouse, with the four films cumulatively having brought in almost $2 billion at the global box office (per Disney). Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull alone garnered $786.64 million at the global box office, according to Box Office Mojo data. More recently, Ford and Disney teamed up to immense box office success with the kick starter to the new Star Wars sequels, The Force Awakens.
In addition to Ford and Spielberg, the movie will also include producers Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy. Marshall has been involved with the franchise since the first installment.
The fifth Indiana Jones film will open on July 19, 2019.