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5 actors who should be the next Indiana Jones

This past weekend saw the return of Harrison Ford as Dr. Indiana Jones, the world-famous archaeologist and treasure hunter, in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. As the fifth film in the franchise, Dial of Destiny is expected to be Ford’s last appearance as the character. “This is the final film in the series, and this is the last time I’ll play the character,” Ford recently said to Total Film Magazine. Ford also believes Jones should not be re-cast, saying his character is done when he’s “gone” from the franchise.

Even without Ford’s involvement, the Indiana Jones franchise may continue at some point. Hollywood is driven by IP, so despite the disappointing box office results for Dial of Destiny, there is a high likelihood that the Indiana Jones franchise will be rebooted in the future, even without the titular character. Plus, there is an Indiana Jones television show in development at Disney+. Which actor will lead the Indiana Jones franchise after Ford? Listed below are suggestions on who it might be.

Chris Pratt

Chris Pratt in The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If Lucasfilm and Disney had it their way, Chris Pratt would be the next Indiana Jones in a new movie set for release in 2026. Don’t believe the Internet hate for the “worst Hollywood Chris.” Mainstream audiences like Pratt as he’s one of the most bankable franchise stars working today. The actor has headlined not one but two billion-dollar live-action franchises with Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World. With Jurassic World, Pratt’s Owen Grady could be viewed as his audition to Indiana Jones, from his brown leather vest and snarkiness to his motorcycle prowess and fearlessness.

Pratt has also seen success in animation, voicing the lead roles of Emmet in The Lego Movie and Mario in The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Unfortunately, Pratt shut down the Indiana Jones reboot rumors after Ford said the role ends with him. If the Indiana Jones franchise continues with a new character, Pratt deserves to receive one of the first calls from Disney.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Helena Shaw and Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones.

Lucasfilm does not have to look far for an actor who can continue the franchise in an Indiana Jones spinoff because that someone is already on their roster. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who stars as Helena Shaw in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, is a logical choice to star in a future Indiana Jones spinoff. Without diving too much into spoilers, Helena’s personality and actions mirror those of a young Dr. Jones.

Before he became a source of moral fortitude and champion of preserving the past, Indy was a selfish and materialistic treasure hunter with a bad temper and no sense of purpose. For the majority of Dial of Desitny, Helena is the same way. Shei is also an intelligent archaeologist who looks at the Dial and sees dollar signs. Helena is witty, adventurous, and bold, something you would expect from the goddaughter of Jones. Waller-Bridge recently expressed interest in a spinoff, so the ball is now in Lucasfilm’s court.

Glen Powell

Glen Powell stares and smirks in Top Gun: Maverick.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

In 2016, Richard Linklater wrote and directed Everybody Wants Some!!, the spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused in the world of 1980s college baseball. One of the stars is Glen Powell, who immediately jumps off the screen with his charisma. Ever since that film, Powell has been destined for stardom. Powell can play the good ol’ American boy (John Glenn in Hidden Figures) or the handsome romantic lead (Charlie Young in Set It Up). However, his true movie star potential was fully realized as Hangman in Top Gun: Maverick.

As a cocky fighter pilot and rival to Rooster (Miles Teller), Powell is supposed to be the arrogant heel, but Hangman is impossible to hate by the end due to the character’s charm. Maverick himself saw Powell’s potential as Tom Cruise brought him back for Maverick in a new part after losing out on the role of Rooster. Powell’s cockiness and magnetism would thrive in the Indiana Jones franchise. If Cruise believed in Powell, so too should Lucasfilm.

Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling aims a big gun in the Netflix action movie The Gray Man.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Ford has been very adamant about how his character should be handled in the future. However, there is a blueprint for how to continue a franchise without recasting the main character. Ford was in a similar situation with Rick Deckard in Blade Runner. The 1982 film starring Ford is considered a sacred work of sci-fi text, so remaking Blade Runner was off the table. Instead, Denis Villeneuve opted to create a sequel, Blade Runner 2049, introducing a new character, K, to serve as the main protagonist, with Ford’s Deckard in a supporting role.

I mention all this to say that Ryan Gosling, who played K in Blade Runner 2049, can repeat the Blade Runner 2049 formula for the Indiana Jones franchise. Compared to the independent movies he made in his younger years, Gosling now makes commercial, big-studio films, such as The Gray ManBarbie, and The Nice Guys. Yet, Gosling’s independent acting experience works to his advantage in studio films. Gosling is not just a big guy with muscles who looks good on camera. This is a two-time Academy Award nominee with acting success in dramas, comedies, rom-coms, independents, and action films. Because of this experience, the multifaceted Gosling would be a great choice to lead the Indiana Jones franchise after his former co-star.

Ke Huy Quan

Ke Huy Quan stands in an alley in Everything Everywhere All At Once.
Allyson Riggs / A24

There is a running joke that the only person who can make Ford smile is Key Huy Quan. The camera-shy Ford always lights up with joy when he sees his former co-star on the red carpet. Quan starred as Short Round alongside Ford in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Unfortunately, Quan could not find work as an actor and left the business for two decades. However, Quan triumphantly returned to the spotlight after winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance as Waymond Wang in Everything Everywhere All at Once.

Quan’s popularity is higher than ever, booking roles in American Born Chinese, Loki season 2, and The Electric State. Quan loves the character of Short Round and said he would return if Disney or Lucasfilm wanted him back. Do you know who else likes Quan? Ford. I would go as far as to say that the Dial of Destiny star would support a Short Round spinoff movie or series. Fan service can be dangerous, but it feels right for an actor as likable as Quan.

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Dan Girolamo
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